SimaPro desktop vs the SimaPro online platform: When to choose which?

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Below, you will find a comprehensive, yet not exhaustive, list of the different features in SimaPro desktop versus the SimaPro online platform.

The main differences

The SimaPro desktop was designed for comprehensive life cycle analyses by LCA experts, while the SimaPro platform mainly supports collaboration with non-LCA experts (such as communicating LCA results, collecting data from suppliers and much more). The platform consists of cloud-based modules (e.g. SimaPro Share, Collect, etc.) which can be selected based on your needs. To generalize, there are three main differences between the SimaPro desktop and SimaPro online platform:

  1. Firstly, the main focus of the desktop tool is expert modeling and all that comes with it. The platform keeps a focus on the application of LCA and the shareability of results. 
  2. Secondly, the desktop is a mature software which has been tested and improved many times over. Meanwhile, the platform is relatively new and more adaptable to the need of the users at the moment. 
  3. The last main difference is the user interface. The display improvements in the desktop requires a long time to develop, resulting in a rather outdated look and feel. On the other hand, the interface in the platform is more modern and adapted to the latest era.

Differences on feature level

When it comes to features and functionalities, some things are only possible to do in the desktop or the platform, while other things are best done in one or the other. The table below covers the features that are only available in the platform or desktop. 

Features available in the SimaPro desktop only:Features available in the SimaPro online platform only:
  • Model end-of-life with waste scenarios. More information on this can be found in the SimaPro Tutorial.
  • Perform a Monte Carlo analysis. 
  • Distinguish between process, project, and database parameters.
  • Copy and adapt library processes.
  • Access a full range of libraries, except for Exiobase 3.
  • The possibility to connect to COM interface.
  • Possibility to use add-ons, such as Report maker and CSV maker. 
  • Automate data entry from Excel with the insert external links feature.
  • Quick access through your browser, without needing help from your IT department or dedicated servers for multi-user projects.
  • Possibility to share the model or results with non-experts, without installing the software on their computer.
  • Create an interactive model where non-experts can model their specific product easily.
  • Create different scenarios with the same model, compare up to a recommended 20 scenarios.
  • Integrate the calculation to your website or tool through an API.
  • Create ‘reusable’ models for recurrent products/life cycles by linking them to Collect or Share
  • Collect industry data and feed it directly into the model
  • Have one central place to see where parameters are used. Where you can check where the parameter is being used with the Used by-button, and where you can quickly debug parameters, using the feature Parameter Tree.
  • Standardize the LCA of a product by using the same version of the model since it does not require new downloads or updates.
  • Allowing company libraries, e.g. a company can have all their custom materials in a company library that can be used by all projects. 
  • Create a library that uses another library, e.g. Agri-footprint library no longer needs to include ecoinvent processes, it can link to them instead which saves space on the database.
  • Exiobase 3 is available for models.

Below, is a table with features which are easier to use in the respective tools.

Easier to do in the desktop:Easier to do in the platform:
  • Make a comparative LCA.
  • Create your own method
  • Manage metadata
  • Repeatedly check (background processes and inputs and outputs of) library processes
  • Show large, detailed models in a network structure (larger than 400 processes). 
  • Share the model or results with non-experts
  • Easily filter processes, products, parameters, substance, and more by names, tags, geographies and more.

Find the right license

  • SimaPro desktop is included in the Power user, Expert user, PhD, Classroom and Faculty packages.
  • SimaPro platform is included in the Business user package. Some of its modules are included in the Power user, Expert user and PhD packages.

Explore licenses for business and education: simapro.com/licences/