“What If?” Workflow Workaround

EmailFacebookGoogle+LinkedInTwitterShare

Today’s blog entry is for experienced SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM users only. If you are not an experienced EPDM user, please go back and continue reading your Fox Trot cartoons.

Everyone loves SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM’s workflows. However some feel there is one weakness:

If you have a file in a released/approved state, it is typically read-only. Doing “what if” type scenarios is very difficult because you can’t save your work! Until today all the workarounds I have seen were rather cumbersome.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, keep your ears -I have a solution….or at least a less cumbersome workaround.

In Windows Explorer, go to the properties of the file you wish to experiment with and remove the read-only flag.

ReadonlyFlag

Now you can edit and save this file as you like! (Depending on your settings, you may get a warning from SOLIDWORKS reminding you that you are editing a checked in document, but you can ignore this. The SolidWorks title-bar will correctly tell you if the file is read-only or not.)

If you decide your “What If…” turns into “I’m glad we’re not…”, clear the file from your local cache, and you are back as if nothing ever happened.

If you like the changes:

  • Copy the file to a location outside of the vault
  • Check out the file
  • Copy the file back into the vault, overwriting the file in the vault.

I must admit this is a few steps, but you certainly could do this in less than a minute, and it is a great solution compared to the others I have heard. If you do this often, you may want to consider writing a custom addin, or contact 3DVision they can sell you one to automate this procedure.

When working this way, don’t forget your changed files are only on your local drive. There will be no backups [don’t accidently clear your local cache, or pour coffee into your hard-drive] and others cannot see your changes, so you’ll probably have to rely on eDrawings for peer and customer reviews.