Onshape has created a new document concept within the CAD industry. Instead of creating and working files, Onshape provides documents in which you can create, import and organize not just your CAD data, but also all supporting data and information that is pertinent to your CAD projects.

To be more specific, Onshape documents can contain parts, assemblies, drawings, imported data, images, and more. These types of data are stored in their own tabs within a document. For example, Part Studio tabs are where you do modeling like creating parts. Assembly tabs hold subassemblies and assemblies, Drawing tabs contain drawings, and so on. Onshape doesn't dictate what can and cannot be in a document. You can put many parts and assemblies in a document or just one part or just one modular subassembly if you wish. You can also use parts or assemblies from one document in another document. This latter strategy is referring to as linking documents. For more information, see Linking Documents.

Some unique aspects of using Onshape documents are:

  • You can sketch, build, and assemble parts (solid bodies) in the same document - All of your work is able to be done in a single document with complete parametric history.
  • You can keep all project-related information in one document - Onshape documents can contain any kind of data: sketches and multiple parts (solid bodies) organized in one or many Part Studios, subassemblies and assemblies organized into one or many Assemblies, drawings, and any other type of information or file you want to import (including CAD data from another system). All of these elements are shown in separate tabs in an Onshape document.
  • You can collaborate with many users in one document - There's no need to copy documents and send them to coworkers or suppliers: share your document with as many other users as needed and collaborate in the same document at the same time.

When a user shares a document with multiple users, all users have the ability to view (and edit, depending on permissions) the same document (even the same parts) simultaneously.

The document owner has the ability to assign permissions to each user for a specific document, and also revoke those permissions at any time. Ownership is determined at the time of document creation and varies by the type of account:

  • In Enterprise accounts, documents are automatically and always owned by the enterprise.
  • In Professional company accounts, documents are automatically and always owned by the company.
  • All other accounts are single user and each user owns the documents they create.
  • Users belonging to more than one professional-level account select the owner company at the time they create the document.

Why is ownership important? Owners of documents have every permission on the document by default, including the ability to transfer ownership of that document to another user. Creators of a document in a Professional company or enterprise account have every permission on the document, except to transfer ownership.