SOLIDWORKS, PDM

Easy Version Control Tools in SOLIDWORKS PDM

By Stephen Choi on April 3, 2020

Having a data management system is crucial for any serious engineering or design firm that needs an organized and smart vault of their work and workflows. SOLIDWORKS PDM is a great tool for this because of how straightforward and flexible it is at maintaining the history of files, including all versions and revisions inside the vault. Depending on your workflow, your Version Control process can be fitted to your exact needs, nothing more and nothing less. In this article, I discuss my recommended top three SOLIDWORKS PDM tools that work in conjunction with version control to make managing these precious files as easy as possible.

Undo Check Out tool

The first tool I want to point out is Ctrl + Z’s cousin, Undo Check Out. Sometimes after working on a CAD or office document that you have checked out, you may have just messed with the file too much, beyond quick repair, and you want to put the data back into the vault as it existed before you checked it out. If you click on the Actions drop-down in the PDM toolbar and hit Undo Check Out, the vault will allow you to wipe the file completely from your local drive. The vault will not automatically place the file back onto your local drive, but you can select the file at the previous version to be placed on your drive. Depending on how much work you put into the file, this can be much quicker than clicking Undo inside the file a bunch of times to restore to the original state.

Undo Check Out Version Control Tools SOLIDWORKS PDM

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Get Latest Version Control Tools SOLIDWORKS PDM

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Get Version tool

Sometimes you need to quickly grab an older version of a file and cache it in your drive, and being able to have a Get Version function just makes sense. However, it takes a couple of steps to enable this button in the SOLIDWORKS PDM Administration tool. Double-click on the Group/User you want this to be enabled for and go to Folder Permissions. Under Permissions per Folder, make sure you select Read file contents and Show working versions of files. Then go to State Permissions and enable Read file contents for any of these states that the user will want to see files in (may not be appropriate to enable it for Under Editing, for example).

Administration Tool Version Control Tools SOLIDWORKS PDM

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Then, select Settings on the bottom left-hand panel, click Reference Dialog, then select Always work with latest version of files and Enable the get version command in SOLIDWORKS Add-in.

Reference Dialog Version Control Tools SOLIDWORKS PDM

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Now, click on the Action drop-down in your toolbar and press Get Version to retrieve any of the older versions of the file!

SOLIDWORKS Software Upgrade Version Control Tools SOLIDWORKS PDM

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File Version Upgrade tool

Lastly, using CAD files, especially larger assemblies, in a version older than the software opening them, causes performance issues. In SOLIDWORKS, for example, speed is affected. Luckily with SOLIDWORKS PDM, we have the File Version Upgrade tool which automatically checks out SOLIDWORKS files, upgrades them to the appropriate year and checks them back into the vault while keeping file references, revision tags and workflow states untouched. You can set this process up with a master workstation that creates the upgrade plan and save workstations which concurrently upgrade the files. Note that you’ll need an archive server to store backups. To install the software, browse to SWPDMClient\Support\File Version Upgrade\ on the Installation media. Double-click File Version Upgrade.exe and go through the installation. Once installed, simply go through the wizard to filter the files you want and select the version to upgrade.

SOLIDWORKS_File Format Upgrade Version Control Tools SOLIDWORKS PDM

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This is a fantastic tool to automate a long process, however, make sure you use solid computers for this (documentation recommends at least 4GB RAM, but we suggest more if possible). While this process is automated on your end, it still has to happen manually on the machines running the process!

Are you looking to learn more about SOLIDWORKS PDM and its different capabilities? Browse our PDM On-Demand Webinars available now!

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