Onshape Features

What is Onshape?

Onshape is the first and only full-cloud professional 3D CAD system that lets design teams work together on any device, anywhere – with no hassles. Onshape is the perfect 3D CAD system for Agile Product Design, as it provides teams instant access to the same CAD system and the same CAD Data.

Some key features:

  1. Enterprise-grade CAD. Create complete manufacturing-ready parts, assemblies, and drawings.
  2. First-of-its-kind, full 3D CAD functionality on mobile (iPhone, iPad, and Android devices).
  3. Powerful 3D CAD including parametrics and direct editing, assemblies, and drawings.
  4. Version control and collaboration, enabling users to work together with no copying or locking.
  5. Full cloud/web/mobile architecture.
  6. No installs, license fees, service packs, registration codes, etc.
  7. All users are always on the latest version.
  8. Runs in a web browser on all computers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari; Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromebook).

What platforms does Onshape run on?

All modern platforms, including Mac, Linux, iOS Devices (iPad & iPhone), Android (phones and tablets), Chromebook, Window 7, Windows 8, Windows 10.

How is Onshape different from other "cloud" CAD products?

There are other mechanical CAD systems that are “semi-cloud.” They are traditional desktop-installed software programs that are downloaded from the cloud and store files in the cloud, etc. They require locking and copying disk files for collaboration. (In other words, they are still fundamentally file-based desktop applications.)

While these cloud extensions to traditional file-based CAD are useful, they do not provide the benefits (see “What is Onshape” above) of a cloud-native application such as Onshape. In fact, because Onshape is architected specifically for the cloud and is not file-based, many of the “features” of traditional PDM “add-ons” are either built into Onshape, or not required at all when using Onshape.

Does Onshape have a PDM application available?

With Onshape, there is no need for a separate PDM application. Onshape has powerful version control and access control built-in at its core.

Does Onshape have a collaboration product?

Onshape is the only CAD system that has modern collaboration features built-in at its core. Multiple people on a design team can work on the same CAD model at the same time, regardless if they are in the same room or across the world.

What are the ways teams can collaborate in Onshape?

Since Onshape data is full-cloud CAD, there is no need to create copies of files or check files in and out of a vault when collaborating with others. In Onshape, teams can access Documents simultaneously. Colleagues can work on the same parts, assemblies, and drawings at the same time. Access is controlled by the owner of the Document, and each user sees visual indicators when others are working within the same Document.

If desired, team members can choose to create separate “branches” of a design and work on new design improvements individually. Since Onshape stores these variations within one Document, colleagues can graphically compare and merge the branches, saving rework by combining the best ideas.

Finally, Onshape allows users to view each other's screens while working together in a Document. This real-time “Follow Mode” improves communication during design reviews and helps add clarity when making design changes.

How does version control work in Onshape?

With Onshape, you can version, branch and merge your Documents at any time. You can grant and revoke access and set permission levels on your Documents to collaborators instantly. Because you do not have to send them a copy of a file to access your data, you do not have to worry about where that file ends up, who has access to it, who may have made copies of it, who has the latest copy, or how to merge copies.

What functionality is available on a phone or tablet?

Onshape is the only CAD system that allows you to do ALL of your CAD work (not just view and markup) from your mobile devices using mobile apps optimized for those devices. This gives you the flexibility to access, collaborate, and edit your CAD data anytime, anywhere on any device. To reiterate, all of your CAD functionality is available on your mobile devices.

What modeling kernel does Onshape use?

Parasolid – the same kernel used by DS SolidWorks and Siemens NX.

Does Onshape work with CAM, FEA, rendering, etc?

Yes, dozens of software partners offer products that integrates into Onshape. Many partners offer integrated cloud applications that run right within the Onshape browser interface. Visit the Onshape App Store for details.

Which CAD formats does Onshape support?

Onshape can read native CAD (SolidWorks, Pro/ENGINEER, Creo, CATIA, Inventor, DWG, Rhino etc.) and neutral CAD formats (IGES, SAT, STEP, ACIS, JT, Parasolid, DXF, etc). Furthermore, Onshape’s unique multi-CAD capabilities store the original native CAD data as well as the Onshape translation. It all gets versioned, shared, and is available for download.

Does Onshape support file formats for 3D printing?

Yes, Onshape reads and writes STL file formats.

Can I use Onshape to store and share any file type?

Yes, a Document can contain CAD models, CAD drawings, and data of any other type. The files are stored as Document tabs within the Onshape Document.

Can I download my data and keep it locally?

Yes, you can download your data in a number of supported neutral CAD formats.

Can I use Onshape side-by-side with my current desktop CAD product(s)?

Yes. Onshape works smoothly alongside your other CAD systems. Here are some popular ways our customers are doing just that:

  1. Use Onshape for some projects, and the other CAD system for others.
  2. Use Onshape for parts or subassemblies of a larger project designed in the other CAD system.
  3. Use Onshape to collaborate with customers and suppliers on a project designed in the other CAD system.
  4. Use Onshape to manage projects that include native CAD data from the other CAD system.
  5. Use Onshape Assemblies to assemble parts created in other CAD systems.

Will Onshape work with my 3D Mouse?

Yes. Onshape supports 3Dconnexion devices. Currently, Windows drivers are available for use with Chrome or Firefox browsers. For more information, visit

What languages are supported in Onshape?

Onshape is available in English, German, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. You can run Onshape in these supported languages on any computer or mobile device (Android or iOS).

For current users, how do I access Onshape in another language?

If you are using Onshape from your computer, follow these steps:

  1. Click on your name in the upper right-hand side of Onshape, select Manage account
  2. Under Account settings, click Preferences (Click here to go there now)
  3. Under Language, choose your language
  4. Click Save language

Once complete, you will be prompted to sign back into Onshape. You should notice the sign-in screen is now in your local language.

If you are using Onshape from your mobile device, Onshape will “automatically” be available in your local language based on the language setting of your device. If you need any assistance, please contact us.

Availability & Security

Can Onshape be used when disconnected from the Internet?


How does Onshape’s availability compare to desktop CAD?

Onshape has the highest availability of any CAD system in the world. While Internet access occasionally can be disrupted, we believe that is merely one aspect of the broader question of availability. Consider the following:

  1. The Internet is unavailable much less often than your PC, hard drive or shared drive can crash; much less often than your operating system may require a service pack; and much less often than your CAD application suffers a memory leak, lost data or crash.
  2. 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.

How fast of an Internet connection does Onshape require?

A standard cable, DSL , fiber, or mobile 4G Internet connection will work well. Onshape’s full product runs on mobile devices, and runs great on standard 4G mobile Internet service.

How secure is Onshape?

Onshape is much more secure than most traditional file-based CAD installations. Traditional CAD suffers from the combination of copying files and the well-known vulnerabilities of PCs via network attacks, viruses, installed software, and unsecured user behavior. Onshape has none of those fundamental security problems. And we have a strong team of cloud and security experts who work nonstop on securing our system and data.

The only more secure way companies or users deploy CAD is when they implement extraordinary security measures (e.g. no USB ports, no thumb drives, no connections to public networks, no user-installed software, and no unrestricted web access). We believe that 99% of CAD users do not take these extra security precautions.

It is much more likely that data loss will occur as a result of distributing copies of CAD files or by an employer or contractor forgetting to delete files when they are done with them.

No computer system is totally secure or unsecure. You have to decide what the best option is for you. For most CAD users, the most secure choice is Onshape. To learn more about our security measures, check out this page.

Who owns the data that I create?

Our official Terms of Service can be found here with a detailed legal description of your rights and responsibilities, which supersedes anything written here. To summarize, anything you create in Onshape is owned by you or your company. We will never share your data or make it public. Because it is your data, you may download it at any time in any number of formats. If you are a Professional Plan user and decide to downgrade to the Free Plan, your data will remain in your account for you to download at any time. As a free user, your data is always available to be downloaded.

Onshape Documents

What are Onshape Documents?

Onshape is the only cloud-architected, production-level mechanical CAD service. This means your CAD data is stored in the cloud as a collection of smart objects, not as files on a disk. These collections are called Onshape Documents. A Document is a project-level container that can include CAD models, CAD drawings, and data of any other type.

You and your collaborators can do CAD design work at any time from a browser on any computer or operating system – and even work simultaneously. Your Documents are always stored as you work and are always backed up to the cloud. You can choose to upload, download and store traditional CAD files in most common proprietary and standard CAD formats. In fact, you can upload, download and store any data of any type in a Document.

How do I control who can access my Onshape Documents?

Using sharing and permissions, you can make your Documents accessible to as many or as few people as you want, and you can change their permissions/privileges (edit or view-only) whenever you want.

What is a Private Document in Onshape?

A Private Document is a document that only you or specific people you designate can view or edit.

What is a Public Document in Onshape?

Public Documents are available for all Onshape users to view or to copy – but not edit. Only you or specific users you designate may edit your Public Documents. You always retain ownership of your Public Documents. By default, public Documents can only be edited by you (the owner). Using sharing and permissions, you can grant editing privileges to as many or as few people as you want. Only you (or an administrator) can make one of your Documents public.

Is there an easy way for me to share my Documents with a group of people?

Yes. You can create a Team within Onshape. An Onshape Team is a group of named Onshape users. Once created, users within the team can quickly share Documents to the entire group. Designated Team Administrators can add or remove members, and also remove the Team from shared Documents.

Can anyone edit my Public Onshape Documents?

No. All Onshape users can view or copy your Public Documents, but only people you specifically Share with and assign edit rights can edit your Public Documents.

Why does my Document grow in size when I delete items or edit geometry?

Onshape stores data differently than traditional CAD systems. It records every change to your Document, and provides the ability to restore to any point in the Document’s history. As a result, Onshape Documents grow slightly in size with each change.

Plans & Payments

What are the primary differences between the Professional Plan and the Free Plan?

The Professional Plan allows professional CAD users to create and edit private data. The Free Plan allows free users to create and edit public data for personal and open source projects. Free Plan users can also view private data that is shared with them.

Are there any differences in CAD or version control functionality between the Free and Professional plans?

No. All plans provide the same CAD and version control functionality.

How much does the Onshape Professional Plan cost?

Onshape’s Professional Plan is $125/month per user, billed annually.

What happens if I cancel my Professional subscription?

You will be downgraded to Onshape’s Free Plan and will maintain access to your pre-existing data. Your Private Documents will stay private, but you will not be able to edit them. You will be able to view, export and download your Private Documents. You can go back to the Professional Plan at any time and once again edit your Onshape Documents.

Can a Professional Plan subscriber share a Private Document with a Free Plan user?

Yes. An Onshape Free Plan user will not be able to edit the Private Document, but can view, export, and download the data if granted permission.

Using Onshape’s Free Plan, can I grant individuals editing rights to my Public Documents?

Yes. An owner of a Public Document may share it with others and grant them different combinations of permissions to edit, comment, download and even share the Document with others.

Does Onshape provide centralized billing for multiple users?

Yes. When you subscribe to Onshape Professional, you have the option to create an Onshape Company which provides centralized billing for multiple Professional Plan users. The credit card holder becomes the Company Owner, and he/she can add and remove Company Members to and from the paid Onshape Company.

The Company Members then can create Documents owned by the company, and easily share their Documents with the Company.

If I add new Company Members to my Onshape Company’s Professional Plan in the middle of the year, how will billing work?

Your existing billing cycle becomes the default billing cycle for the new Members. This may cause each new Professional subscription to be prorated initially. For example, if you add a new user to your Onshape Company when there are 45 days left in the annual subscription periord, then the new subscription is prorated so that it is initially charged for the remaining 45 days – and then subsequently is charged the full annual amount with your pre-existing account cycles.

Do I get a partial refund for the remainder of my billing period when I downgrade my Plan?

No. Your Plan becomes downgraded to Free at the end of the billing period.

Professional Trial

Can I try the Onshape Professional Plan before committing to a paid subscription?

Yes, a trial of Onshape Professional is available. Click here to get started.

What is an Onshape Professional Trial?

Onshape’s Professional Trial is a free time-based trial that provides users an opportunity to evaluate Onshape for their business. During this trial, the user can access Onshape Professional’s full capabilities and create and edit unlimited Private Documents. Users can also receive professional training and advice on how to get the most out of Onshape on their own project. It’s the perfect way for professionals to evaluate Onshape for their business projects.

What happens to my Private Documents once the Professional Trial ends?

A trial user can subscribe to Onshape Professional at any time and continue to create and edit both Private and Public Documents. If the user chooses not to subscribe to Onshape Professional, the account will be downgraded to Onshape’s Free Plan. The Private Documents will remain private, but users will only be able to view, export and download the data as well as make them public. Onshape never makes any user’s Private Documents public.

When does the trial start?

The trial starts the moment your request is approved. Because Onshape eliminates the hassles of CAD installation on a computer, a user can sign up for a trial and begin using Onshape immediately. You will only need to set up a password.