One of the questions we’re often asked is: “Will Onshape work if I do not have an Internet connection?” The answer is no.

While Internet accessibility can occasionally be disrupted, Onshape nevertheless has the highest availability of any CAD system in the industry.


Let’s pause for a moment and think about when and how you access your current CAD system. Consider the following points:

  • For most people, Internet outages happen far less often than your PC, hard drive or shared drive can crash; less often than your operating system may require a service pack; and less often than your CAD application suffers a memory leak, lost data or a crash.
  • Your desktop system is never available if you are not in front of it – and if you are like most people, your mobility far exceeds your CAD data’s mobility.

With Onshape, your CAD system and CAD data always travel everywhere you do. You don’t need to be near that one computer – desktop or laptop – that is tied to your CAD license. You can login from anywhere, anytime from any computer or mobile device. So your CAD accessibility, in terms of minutes per day, just leaped from the time you are hovering over your work computer to every single moment of your life (minus sleep and bathroom breaks).

Yes, there are a few remote areas with poor Internet service. If you are experiencing horrible Internet connections where you consistently cannot type an email or watch a video without multiple interruptions, then full-cloud CAD is not the right tool for you. However, based on our customer feedback, we’ve learned that there are remarkably few places where this is the case.

A great example of this is Scotrenewables Tidal Power, an Onshape Professional customer based in Scotland’s remote Orkney Islands in the North Sea. Although Scotrenewables has spotty Internet service, its engineers have had no issues accessing Onshape in their web browsers. Because the heavy computations of CAD geometry happen on remote servers instead of local machines, data can be quickly shared between team members even when the Internet is sometimes weak.

“When syncing a model in traditional CAD, trying to transfer several hundred megabytes of data could take quite a few hours, but in comparison, the amount of data streamed in Onshape is considerably less,” says Scotrenewables CTO Jonathan Meason. “I haven’t had anyone on the team tell me so far that they can’t use Onshape because the Internet is too slow today.”

No matter if you’re in the middle of the ocean or at your downtown office, Onshape ensures that you’ll never lose your work again. If the power goes out, or your individual computer crashes, you can just continue where you left off on another computer or mobile device. Onshape automatically saves every bit of your work in the cloud without the need to keep clicking “Save.” Just like Google Docs, Onshape has no Save button.

By the way, on those infrequent occasions when your Internet is acting up, just pull out your phone. Onshape works great on 4G LTE mobile connections, too.

Simply put, the more access you have to your CAD system, the more likely you are to use it – whenever and wherever inspiration strikes.