Things to Know
To use Onshape efficiently (either on a browser, or in the app), here are some helpful things to know about its design, functionality, and user interface.
Onshape runs in a browser, and mobile device apps exist for both iOS and Android. There is no software to download or maintain, ever. On a browser, Onshape updates automatically.
What browsers does Onshape work on? See our Recommendations.
When using Onshape on your mobile device, you also have access to a mobile-specific help system. Onshape Mobile Help offers the same information as the Onshape Help, but for our supported, touch-based mobile operating systems (iOS and Android). Access Onshape Mobile Help through the Onshape mobile app (links to the apps below).
- You get all of the power, precision, functionality, and flexibility of Onshape no matter what platform you’re using
- You can sign in and work from anywhere—without ever having to worry about updates, new versions, installations, memory or storage
- You have access to all of your documents and project files at any time
Using gestures on mobile platforms
Obviously there is no mouse when using a mobile platform, so Onshape presents these gestures to help you navigate the user interface:
To see gestures demonstrated on an Android device, tap the option presented after you sign in to your account:
Supported Android versions
- Lollipop (5.0, 5.1)
- Marshmallow (6.0)
- Nougat (7.0)
- Oreo (8.0)
- Pie (9.0)
- Android 10
Onshape minimally requires Lollipop (5.0).
To check what version of Android your device has installed, go to your settings and check the About or General section.
Devices with older GPUs and older implementations of OpenGL ES 2.0 sometimes lack the necessary capabilities to run Onshape's 3D graphics. This most often happens on devices with a Mali 400 GPU.
When using devices with older GPUs or implementations of OpenGL ES 2.0 an error message will alert you when you open a Part Studio or an Assembly. The error message offers a link to more information as well as a link to continue.
If you elect to proceed after receiving the error message, you will likely notice graphics glitches or a blank, white screen. Eventually, the app may crash.
Why doesn't it work?
The Onshape graphics library uses Vertex Array Objects (VAOs). VAOs are supported natively in OpenGL ES 3.0 and above, but are not supported in the OpenGL ES 2.0 library. Often, implementations of OpenGL ES 2.0 contain extensions that support VAOs, but the support of these extensions is not guaranteed by Android and depend on the service of the manufacturer.
By default, Onshape allows a device with OpenGL ES 2.0 or higher to install the application but it is not until the app is running on a device that it can detect if the device has the necessary capabilities or extensions.
How can I fix this?
Use a device that supports, at the very least, OpenGL ES 2.0 with Vertex Array Object extensions.
A device running the latest version of Android does not necessarily support OpenGL ES 3.0. We recommend that you avoid running Onshape on devices with a Mali 400 or Mali 450 GPU, as these are unable to render 3D graphics properly.
It is recommended that you use a device that runs OpenGL ES 3.
How do I find out what GPU I have?
The most direct way to find out what GPU your device uses is to search for your device and/or serial number on the Internet. For example; you might try browsing or searching for your device on a website such as gsmarena.com or phonearena.com.
The earliest iOS devices supported
- iPad Mini 4
- iPad Air
- iPad Pro
Onshape minimally requires the latest version of iOS 14.
Optimal iOS devices supported
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 7/8/X
- iPad Mini 4
- iPad Air 2
- iPad Pro
To check what version of iOS your device has installed, go to Settings > General > About > Version.
If you'd like to bookmark Help pages on the iOS platform, you can use your app settings on your iOS device and set Open Help in browser to on. When you access the help via Onshape, it will then open in a browser, where you can create bookmarks of specific topics or pages.
Onshape supports keyboard shortcuts and mouse support when using peripherals.
Onshape does not use files. Instead, it uses Documents and Tabs. A document is a project-level container that consists of as many tabs as you need. Fill your document with different types of tabs such as Part Studio, Assembly, and Drawings tabs. You are even able to use a tab to hold a PDF, a video, or a picture. Tabs are able to hold anything, and documents are able to hold infinite tab. Pay attention to the organization of your documents, however. Complicated models are better organized across many documents, not only for performance sake, but also for the ability to keep track of and reuse parts more easily. See Document tabs for more details.
For more recommendations on organizing documents, see Product Structure Organization Tips in the Onshape Learning Center (sign in required).
You have the ability to import CAD files from other CAD tools either as a document, or as a tab within a document.
Check out our list of supported file formats.
Because Onshape is full-cloud CAD, every action is automatically saved. Actions are recorded, points in history can be compared and restored at any time. You never need to manually save, and you are always working on the most recent version of your document. See Version Manager to learn more about Onshape's unique, built-in data management.
Onshape has a built-in data management system. You are now able to completely manage versions without leaving Onshape or even your document. This allows for seamless collaboration with real-time updates on changes made to tabs and documents. You also have the ability to create, compare, and merge versions all within Onshape. Read more about Document Management and Collaboration to work efficiently with large or small teams and utilize our built-in data management.
Multiple users are able to work in the same document, and even on the very same part, simultaneously. We call this Simultaneous Editing. When two or more people work together in a document, we refer to them as collaborators. Any feature made or edited by a collaborator is displayed, in real time, to all collaborators. Share, follow, and comment to make simultaneous editing more efficient. Manage versions and history to make the most of any collaboration in Onshape.
See our topic on Sharing and Collaboration to learn more about collaboration.
FeatureScript is the programming language that all Onshape features are built with. With FeatureScript, you are able to define and create your own custom features in Onshape.
On a desktop, you are also able to access our FeatureScript Library (opens in new tab) and begin using custom features created by others, in your own document right away.