Whether you are getting started with Onshape, or you are a seasoned user, understanding best practices for Document structure management provides you and your team value when engineering your designs.

This Tech Tip covers some key high-level points to consider when building out your Document structure in Onshape. 

What Are My Options?

With Onshape’s Document structure, you can either create your components in one Document or split them into multiple Documents that are linked together. There are many factors that can drive your decision for this: 

Number of Tabs: One of the first factors to consider is how many tabs your Document will contain. As shown in the 10 Essential Onshape tips, your Document should contain less than 40 tabs to ensure the ideal performance of your design. If you know that your Document will go over this limit, consider splitting it into multiple Documents.

Live Updates: All content that lives in the same Document updates in real-time (unless you have specifically chosen to reference a version or release in the workspace). If you are actively making development efforts that you want to reflect in an Assembly or different Part Studio, keep all components in the same Document. 

If your design is in a mature state where changes are not happening often, it could make more sense to break components out into separate Documents for design subsystems. This is done either at the beginning of your design process when you are certain of how your data will be organized or after the design process using the Move to Document option. When components are in different linked Documents, any updates that happen to them require versioning your Document and then updating the reference anywhere else that these components are used. 

Component Reuse: Keep commonly reused components in their own Document. This allows components to be versioned separately from a larger Document since they will be used across a variety of designs. Often, companies create standard component libraries that are versioned and used across the organization. 

These are just a few considerations when organizing data either in a single Document or multiple Documents. Check out the Best Practices for Managing Data in an Onshape Document Technical Briefing for more information.

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