SOLIDWORKS, 3D CAD, Tech Tips, PDM

Working Concurrently on SOLIDWORKS Files

By Michelle Elam on April 24, 2017

In a fast-paced engineering environment, it is common for multiple users to need to edit parts, assemblies and drawings at the same time. With these tech support tips, you can stop battling coworkers for write access and start working concurrently on SOLIDWORKS files.

Challenge with Multi-Users

When a SOLIDWORKS drawing or assembly is in use, the person who first opened it is granted write access to all components being referenced by that file. Since only one person is allowed to save changes at a time, projects can easily become bottle necked and miscommunicated between users.

Solutions With and Without PDM

Generally, we recommend SOLIDWORKS Product Data Management (PDM) software as an engineering solution to help teams collaborate on product development and share design data files. But we know that not all companies are ready to invest in multiple products.

While this is not a replacement for a PDM system, SOLIDWORKS does offer some other options to help get control over how write access works. Here are some ways to improve your workflow and improve concurrent production while you wait for PDM to be implemented.

External References Options:

SOLIDWORKS External References Options allows users to specify how part, assembly and drawing files are opened and managed. To access these options go to Tools > Options > External References. Be sure to check the boxes for the first two items shown here:

External Reference Settings to assemble SOLIDWORKS Drawing Files

“Open referenced documents with read-only access” means that when you open an assembly or drawing, you do not get write access to the referenced files, leaving them available for others to edit. And checking “Don’t prompt to same read-only referenced documents (discard changes)” will avoid all of those obnoxious save-as pop ups prompted by SOLIDWORKS trying to save all the read-only files separately.

You can always right click on any file in the Feature Tree and choose Reload to change the read-only status if you need to edit one of the components, but there are some other options to make this easier.

Collaboration Mode:

SOLIDWORKS also has several collaboration options for a multi-user environment. By going to Tools > Options > Collaboration, you can access tools such as Get Write Access or Make Read-Only, which are available by right-clicking assembly components in the FeatureManager. It can also show a pop-up message every so often to let you know if a referenced file has been updated.

working concurrently in collaboration in SOLIDWORKS

These are the shortcut menu items:

Get Write Access Shortcut in SOLIDWORKS   Read-only Mode in SOLIDWORKS Files

This is what you see if the “Check if files that have been opened read-only have been modified by other users” option is checked:

Opened Files In SOLIDWORKS

Click the working concurrently on solidworks files img 6.png icon the message is pointing at to see the files that have been modified, with an option to Reload to see the new changes:

solidworks multi user environment

While modifying SOLIDWORKS System Options like External Reference Options or Collaboration Options can add mobility and a quick workaround for multi-users, we recommend contacting TriMech Technical Support at 1.888.874.6324 for a more long-term concurrent productivity solution. 

Want to learn about other frequently asked SOLIDWORKS questions? Watch our On-Demand Webinar, Find that File! A Guide to Tracking Your Fileset

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