Top 5 Favorite Tools in SOLIDWORKS PDM

By Patricia Bar on August 3, 2021

SOLIDWORKS PDM is a phenomenal tool that can help you stay on top of your data. While using SOLIDWORKS PDM for storage of my files, or to show someone how to use PDM, I find myself using a few tools over and over. It is surprising to me how often our clients do not use these options, so I thought I’d share five of my favorites, and hopefully make your work a little easier.

Search Tool

Search is a function I use constantly. I like to use the Quick Access search bar when in Windows Explorer, the Embedded Search while in the file open dialog box, and the Stand-Alone search when I want to save the results. I very rarely navigate folders in PDM, I’d rather run a quick search to find it. You can also run a search and then add on to the existing search to narrow it down further.

Quick Access:

SOLIDWORKS PDM Quick Access-1Open Dialog Box:

SOLIDWORKS PDM SearchStand Alone:


>> A Day in the Life of An Engineer With and Without PDM

Contains Tab

I often forget a part name, but know which assembly it's in, so I can still find it! Go to the assembly (by searching, of course), switch to the Contains tab, find the part, select the part, right mouse click, choose Browse To, and voila! I now can use the Preview tab, see important information on the data card, etc. I’ve also had real-life experiences of trying to standardize parts across platforms. What I wouldn’t have given for a simple way to select a part, then click the Where Used tab to easily see which assemblies I need to swap.


Menu Customization

Just like SOLIDWORKS, I can customize my menus in PDM. The first thing I do when I sit down with a new vault is add the Get Version to the right mouse button on a file. In fact, when I’m in someone else’s vault, I’m a bit lost because I don’t find it.

SOLIDWORKS PDM Menu Customization

Preview Tab

I never leave my system on the preview tab… Why? Well, if you have the system on the preview tab, you are automatically doing a Get Latest command on a file that you do not have on your system. This means if you are in a folder you are not normally in and navigate up and down with your arrows on the files, you are getting the latest every time you click a new file, which causes a lag. (As a side tip, don’t forget to clear your local cache when you finish with a project. All those files on your system can slow you down.)

>> Automate Folder and File Creation in SOLIDWORKS PDM


It helps to know what the symbols inside of the SOLIDWORKS Add-in mean. What does that little pencil mean? Why is the file highlighted in yellow? Don’t know? Go to Tools>  SOLIDWORKS PDM > Options > View Settings tab. You can see what the symbols mean, as well as change the background colors to suit your preferences.

That’s it! Those are my five quick, can’t do without tricks for working in PDM. Hopefully, you’ll find them as useful as I do.

 CAD files are made up of metadata which includes properties such as description, material and creation date. SOLIDWORKS PDM give us the ability to manage and track all this additional file information, ensuring we can quickly find the right file every time. Learn more with our on-demand webinar on Advanced Search Functionality!