There are so many choices when looking for a 3D CAD solution that the search can become as complicated as the products you’ll design with it. Many companies get bogged down in extreme feature analysis, comparing and weighing the value of the tiniest differences, when the truth is, if you’re looking at an industry leader, they’re all good. The differences lie in the intangibles, and that’s what we’re looking at in our latest CAD software comparison featuring Onshape vs Creo.

Onshape vs Creo Comparison

3D CAD Modeling and Ease of Use

Both Onshape and Creo strive to help your team create products efficiently and cost-effectively. Creo has been the industry leader for many years, while Onshape was founded more recently in 2012. But the founders are not newbies to 3D CAD—they all have solid backgrounds in the industry and have managed to acquire a strong stable of customers in a short time. Both solutions have a modern UI and get high marks from users and reviewers for functionality and ease of use.

Onshape and Creo are both easy to use with modern UIs.

Product Vision

Onshape includes data management and audit trails, and the company clearly understands their importance in today’s collaborative design world. In addition, Creo also understands the way manufacturing is changing, and includes support for new technologies such as industrial IoT (IIoT), augmented reality, and other mainstays of Industry 4.0 and digital transformation. Compared to Creo’s vision, Onshape’s begins to look a little dated.

Creo supports the transformation of manufacturing with features to support digital transformation.

Deployment Flexibility

Onshape was born for the cloud. There is no onsite deployment capability. Creo is available either on-premise or in the cloud, and customers are free to move their deployments in either direction. You may never need this option, but it’s good to know it’s available.

Creo offers both cloud and on-premise deployments.

Integration and Compatibility

Onshape includes a REST API and has a robust store where customers can buy prebuilt integrations to some common enterprise applications. Creo includes built-in integrations to most other mainstream applications, including file formats such as X-T®, X_B®, DXF®, STL and BMP, STEP, SAT, IGES 3D, DWG, IGES 2D, and more. Creo uses proprietary Unite technology so people who need to see designs but not make changes can open and view files without a Creo license and any type of CAD file can be opened.

Creo includes proprietary technology that allows you to work with any type of CAD file format.


Creo projects have a secure workspace for collaboration. Each workspace includes specific security constraints that can be set per user to limit file access and edit capabilities. Teams can assign responsibility for project steps to specific users and track completions against due dates.

Onshape tracks all changes by user and allows users to view and compare changes in real-time. It has a simplified UI so non-technical users who just need to view files don’t get bogged down with other tools. It also lets users “follow” a particular project or step to stay up to date on changes.

Creo and Onshape have equally compelling collaboration tools.

Supported Industries

PTC has long been a powerhouse player in the manufacturing industry. In addition to general manufacturing, Creo has specialized tools for aerospace & defense, automotive, electronics & high-tech, life science, oil & gas, and retail & consumer products segments of manufacturing. Onshape does not specialize in any verticals. If you aren’t in manufacturing, Onshape vs Creo may be a wash, but if you’re in manufacturing, Creo’s expertise in your industry could be invaluable.

If you work in any type of manufacturing industry, Creo is the better CAD solution.

Integrated Learning and Support

Onshape has an online learning center that includes videos, webinars, and a user community. They offer instructor-led and self-paced courses. Creo offers all this, but at a much deeper level and has a larger, more robust online user community and an educational outreach program to ensure that students come into the workforce prepared to use modern tools.

Creo offers a plethora of resources and the online user community ensures that you can always get the help you need.

Onshape vs Creo: Which is the Right Choice?

That’s a bit of a trick question because PTC completed the acquisition of Onshape in November 2019. So now, whichever solution you choose, you’ll get the full power and breadth of PTC, one of the most respected organizations in the industry. And yes, as a reseller, we admit to a slight bias toward PTC. But they are also a great company that puts industry-leading products into the market. Recognized across the board as thought-leaders when it comes to manufacturing and engineering disciplines, you really can’t go wrong when you buy a PTC product for your team.

If you’d like to learn more about Creo or any of PTC’s other products, contact us today.

Or if you want to see how Creo shapes up in our other CAD software comparisons check out some of our other posts: