It’s ok, you can uncover your child’s eyes. That’s only a 2D drawing they’re seeing on the computer screen. I know, it looks all sultry with its sassy projected views and consistent dimensioning, but it’s really quite innocent. Finally, Onshape has introduced drawings to their browser-based 3D CAD platform.

What’s this Onshape business?

Onshape swooped onto the CAD scene, launching their 3D design software a mere six months ago. With 3D parametric modeling, collaboration, data management and import for all the major cad formats, they’ve set out to shake things up, including the price you pay to start using it–Free, with a Pro level tier at $100/mth that adds unlimited private document and storage. Additional feedback from users and aggressive development has them pushing out improvements every 1-2 weeks. One of the most demanded features was, of course, drawings.

“Why even have drawings, I thought we were going away from them?” says Steve Calvert. For Onshape however, adding drawings makes complete sense, nay, adding drawings is an absolute necessity, if they are targeting users of software with complete 2D drawing packages who have years of legacy models, drawings and high expectations.

How do drawings work in a web browser? Not unlike what you would think.

Onshape Drawings are a tab in your Onshape Document. To create a Drawing, select the “+” icon in the bottom left corner and select “Create Drawing.” Here you can choose a template and Onshape creates a new drawing. You have several different view creation tools available in Onshape. Standard Views, as well as Projected, Auxiliary, and Section Views are all available. If you run out of room on a sheet, you can add more with the Sheets button in the toolbar. Once you’ve added views to your drawing, you will then need dimensions and other annotations.

The functionality is very basic with this first release, limited to creating standard views (projected, auxiliary, sections) and dimensions, adding notes, annotation, centerlines and marks. I’ve not tested yet to see what limits there are to the number of drawing sheets or drawing views, but the complexity on each sheet will certainly be limited by the current tools.


With this announcement, I realized something though. Onshape has made the idea of using CAD software in the browser completely normal. They’ve done it quickly (relatively speaking) and made it look good at the same time. Six months ago, many wouldn’t have thought creating drawings in a browser was possible, much less complex 3D assemblies. Now, it’s just like, “Drawings? Yeah, why wasn’t it there in the first place?” like it’s the most unphenomenal thing. Actually, it’s pretty incredible and somehow I think they’re not quite done

Note: If you’re an Onshape user who was blasting them about lack of drawing support, you can now shift to complaining about surfacing and sheet metal features.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.