Beginner’s Guide to Using SOLIDWORKS PDM

SOLIDWORKS PDM is a comprehensive Product Data Management solution housed inside of Windows Explorer. In part one of this two-part blog series, we answered “what is PDM?” and explored the SOLIDWORKS PDM interface including the preview tab, data card tab, PDM Workflows, and more. This blog will focus on the core functions all users must know to get started in PDM.

Logging On/Off

The first step to using SOLIDWORKS PDM is logging in. Navigate to your vault location inside of Windows Explorer (usually on the C drive) and double-click the vault icon. Enter your username and password when prompted.

Note: You may not be prompted for a username and password due to automatic login.

Logging off is done with the PDM icon in your Windows Taskbar by the time (bottom right). If you can’t see it next to the time, you may need to click the up arrow. Select “Log Off” then choose the vault you’d like to log off of. Alternatively, you can just select “Exit” to shut down your machine.

Checking In

Every time you check in a file, the file is copied back to the server and, if the file is modified, a new version (copy) is created. This also makes them available with the appropriate rights. Until a file is checked in, changes are saved in your local computer only.

Right-click on the file and select “Check In”. In the dialog box, select one or more files to check in. Optionally, type in a comment which will be stored in the history of PDM. Finally, select the “Check In” button to complete the option.

Checking Out

Checking out a file gives you exclusive rights to edit it until you check it back in. Other users can open the file for viewing and copying but cannot change it. When you check out a file it is physically copied from the server to your computer.

Navigate to the file in Windows Explorer. Right-click on the file and select “Check Out”. If you select one file, check out will occur without prompt. If you selected multiple files you will be presented with a dialog box. In the dialog, select one or more files to check out and select “Check Out” to complete the action.

Transitioning in the Workflow

In order to transition a file to the next workflow state simply right-click on the file, hover over “Change State”, and select the appropriate workflow transition for your document.

Note: A file MUST be checked in before it can be moved to a new workflow state.

Once you’ve selected the appropriate workflow transition, you will be presented with a dialog to complete the transition.

Once you select the appropriate workflow transition you will be presented with a dialog to complete the transition. Optionally, type in a Comment which will be stored in the “History of the PDM” file. The “Notification comment” will be enabled if the transition is set to send a notification. That comment is only stored in the PDM Mail or email (depending on your vault’s setup) that is sent. Additionally, depending on the transition, users may be able to select a person to notify to the right of the Comment and Notification Comment boxes.

Ready to give it try? Get up and running quickly with PDM Quick Start, a pre-configured vault of SOLIDWORKS Standard or Professional that lets you deploy quickly and start maximizing your return on investment.

Related Articles

Getting Started as a PDM User: What is PDM?

Leveraging the Where Used Tab in SOLIDWORKS PDM for Standard Parts & Toolbox Components

Getting the Most out of PDM for Project Management

About the Author

Lindsay EarlyLindsay Early is an Application Engineer Consultant and has been with Fisher Unitech for six years. Lindsay is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert and Elite Application Engineer having earned over 14 SOLIDWORKS Certifications including Mechanical Design, Simulation, and Data Mangement.


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