SOLIDWORKS PDM 2018 What’s New – Automated PDF Creation from Drawings in PDM Standard – #SW2018


SOLIDWORKS PDM 2018 What’s New – Automated PDF Creation from Drawings in PDM Standard – #SW2018

Are you and your team struggling to accurately and consistently create PDFs from your released SOLIDWORKS Drawings? 

New in SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard 2018 is the option to convert a SOLIDWORKS Drawing file to PDF during a workflow transition. Many users can take advantage of this functionality to convert a drawing to PDF during a transition to a Released or Approved state. The functionality uses the same task technology found in SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional. This addition also gives former users of Workgroup PDM who took advantage of the setting to create PDF files in the vault on check in of SOLIDWORKS Drawings similar, although not quite equivalent, functionality to explore. To access the new Convert task either:

  • Select the task when creating a new vault
  • Import the task into an existing vault

Once the new task is accessible the SOLIDWORKS PDM admin can configure the task to map data card variables from the source drawing to the converted PDF and set the naming convention and vault folder destination for the converted PDF files. To configure the new Convert task:

(1) In the PDM Standard Admin tool, expand Tasks, and double-click Convert.

(2) After double-clicking a dialog box will open with several nodes on the left side. The first, Execution Method, will show a list of computers that can be used to execute the task.

Note for a computer to appear in the list it must be configured as a task host first. To configure as a task host right-click the blue PDM icon on the taskbar ON the computer in question and click Task Host Configuration (the blue PDM icon is used to log in or out of the vault).  Then in the dialog box click the box under Permit:

In addition to being configured as a task host, each computer must have a licensed version of SOLIDWORKS to initiate the task.

(3) The next node will be Conversion Settings. In PDM Standard the only available output file format is Adobe PDF. Under Source file references the version of referenced files to convert can be specified. This is important to consider as the drawing to be converted may have references to file versions that are not the latest.

(4) The File Card node is used to map variables from the source file data card to the output PDF file data card. Below that node the Output File Details node is used to specify the output file name and its destination inside the vault. Click OK to finish.

Once configured, edit the appropriate workflow transition(s) to add an action to execute the task. Then when you change the state of a SOLIDWORKS Drawing file using that transition the task launches a SOLIDWORKS session on the client computer, opens the Drawing file, and saves the file as PDF.

Please note the differences between the Convert task in PDM Standard compared to the one in PDM Professional. The differences are:

  • Can only be triggered using a transition
  • Can only be executed on the machine it was initiated on
  • 2D PDF only
  • Single PDF created from multi-sheet drawings
  • A reference is always created between drawing and PDF

If you have specific questions about this new functionality or about product data management, please don’t hesitate to contact support and the InFlow Tech Team would be happy to assist. Happy converting!

I hope this part of the What’s New series gives you a better understanding of the new features and functions of SOLIDWORKS 2018. Please check back to the CATI Blog as the CATI Application Engineers will continue to break down many of the new items in SOLIDWORKS 2018. All of these articles will be stored in the category of “SOLIDWORKS What’s New.” You can also learn more about SOLIDWORKS 2018 by clicking on the image below to register for one of CATI’s Design Innovation Summits.

Andrew Bornstein

PLM Solutions Consultant