How Does Onshape Compare to SolidWorks?

When it comes to computer-aided design (CAD) software, two names often come up in the conversation: Onshape and SolidWorks. Both are widely used in the industry and offer powerful tools for creating 3D models and designs. In this article, we will compare these two CAD giants and explore their similarities, differences, and unique features.

Installation and Accessibility

One of the key differences between Onshape and SolidWorks is their installation process. SolidWorks is a desktop-based software that requires installation on each user’s computer.

On the other hand, Onshape is a cloud-based application that can be accessed through a web browser from any device with an internet connection. This means that users can work on their designs from anywhere without the need for local installations or expensive hardware.

User Interface

When it comes to user interface (UI), both Onshape and SolidWorks offer intuitive and user-friendly experiences. However, there are some notable differences.

SolidWorks has a traditional UI with various toolbars, menus, and commands. It provides a familiar environment for users transitioning from other CAD software.

On the other hand, Onshape takes a modern approach with its UI. It offers a clean and minimalist design that focuses on simplicity and ease of use. The UI is entirely browser-based, eliminating the need for complex installations or updates.

Collaboration and Version Control

If collaboration is a crucial aspect of your design workflow, then Onshape has an edge over SolidWorks. Onshape allows multiple users to work simultaneously on the same design without any conflicts or version control issues.

Onshape’s real-time collaboration feature enables designers to make changes in real-time while others can see those changes instantly. This fosters seamless teamwork and eliminates the need for back-and-forth communication or sending files back and forth.

On the other hand, SolidWorks lacks real-time collaboration features. Users need to work on separate files and manually merge changes made by different team members. This can sometimes lead to version control issues and delays in the design process.

Features and Functionality

In terms of features and functionality, both Onshape and SolidWorks offer a comprehensive set of tools for creating 3D models, assemblies, and drawings. They both support parametric modeling, which allows designers to create intelligent designs that can be easily modified later.

However, SolidWorks has been around for a longer time and has a more extensive library of pre-built components and third-party plugins. It offers advanced simulation capabilities for stress analysis, fluid dynamics, and motion analysis. SolidWorks also provides powerful rendering tools to create realistic visuals of your designs.

On the other hand, Onshape focuses on core CAD functionalities while providing seamless integration with other cloud-based services like Google Drive and Dropbox. It offers built-in data management tools that make it easy to track changes, share designs, and collaborate with team members.


When it comes to pricing models, Onshape follows a subscription-based model with various plans based on the number of users and storage requirements. This makes it suitable for both individual designers and large organizations.

On the other hand, SolidWorks follows a traditional perpetual license model where users purchase licenses upfront. This can be expensive for individual designers or small teams but may be more cost-effective in the long run for larger organizations.


In conclusion, both Onshape and SolidWorks are powerful CAD software with their own strengths and weaknesses. If you value accessibility, collaboration, and a modern UI design, then Onshape might be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you need a more extensive library of pre-built components, advanced simulation capabilities, and powerful rendering tools, then SolidWorks may be the better option.

Ultimately, the choice between Onshape and SolidWorks depends on your specific needs, budget, and design workflow. It’s recommended to try out both software with their respective trial versions or demos to see which one aligns better with your requirements.