Why you Need SOLIDWORKS PDM to manage all diverse file types!

Article by Rob Hauser, CSPP updated August 9, 2017


Most business environments have many differing document requirements. There are CAD (assemblies, parts, drawings, simulations, etc., Microsoft® OFFICE (WORD, EXCEL, PowerPoint, etc.) and PDF documents. There are also images and movies of various file formats to be considered and managed.

MS Office documents generally do not reference other files and documents like a CAD file does.

A single MS Word or Excel file is often a single entity.  On the occasion that the content of an MS Excel file is used within the body of a MS Word or MS PowerPoint document, moving that MS Excel file to another folder usually breaks the link.

Maintain file references

In CAD systems, a part is just a part. But it may have an assortment of referenced files! Such as a mirrored part, Insert part, simulation, BOM and a drawing.  But two or more Parts may be MATED to create an assembly. Multiple sub-assemblies may make up a main assembly. There may be one or more associated simulations, BOMs and drawings that reference that assembly. And larger assemblies can be made-up of other sub-assemblies and single parts.



The deliberate or mistaken movement of any of these associated files may break the assembly. This causes the dreaded corrections and rebuilds by the CAD user. Taking up valuable time and potentially injecting mistakes into what was a completed Assembly. MS File Explorer is just out of its league when it comes to true file management.

SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional eliminates not only these issues with CAD assemblies, parts, BOMs and all related files such as simulations and drawings, but also Non-CAD files, can be managed with ease.

Once a CAD assembly, it’s parts and drawings etc., are checked into the SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional vault, you can move a file, rename a file, and even move and rename it again and again. The PDM Software will always track and find the files you need. More importantly, the assemblies will always open. No need to mate parts and rebuild assemblies. Saving you time and mistakes which can generate needles rework costs and schedule slippage.

Record File History

SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional includes a history file for each file and document. It’s easy to locate an item within the vault using the built-in search feature and the history of each file. Find out if a file was mistakenly dragged and dropped into another folder. Put it back easily where it belongs. Microsoft file explorer cannot offer this level of file management.

MS Office file explorer does not offer true version control of documents. (And no, adding a -Rev 3 to the file name does not count) SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional can version control any document type depending on your needs. Do you want to control the versions of templates and forms?  Would your office environment be easier to manage if everyone always used the latest release of those templates and forms? How would that assist in your quality management system (QMS) compliance score?

Do these completed templates and forms require version control of the content? Again, how would that assist in your quality management system (QMS) compliance score?

Apply Version Control

SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional can be easily configured to version control all internal CAD documents, and project related office documents. Control non-engineering Human Resources Documents with true secure access. Keep track of sales documents by versioning quotes and requests for quotes. How beneficial would it be to link a customers in-coming RFQ to the version of outgoing-quote? Ensuring that the accepted purchase order is linked to the proper version of the quote that correlates to the latest request from the customer. It’s easy to manage your customer expectations when you can manage all the documents in between the RFQ and delivery with SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional.

When one thinks of file management, it’s easy to forget that other departments have their own file management challenges. How organized could your company be if all files that were relevant to a project or product were easily managed and available to all users based on valid security credentials?   SOLIDWORKS PDM can add file management capability across your organization.

Secure your files and add workflow

And speaking of security credentials, MS file explorer cannot grant or deny access to files based on their current state! If a file is currently being developed in the design area, wouldn’t it be great to lock-out manufacturing and purchasing and then not worry about the early release of data before it is approved for manufacture. And once it is approved for manufacture, would it not be even better to lock out the designers from making any further changes to the file(s) and grant access to manufacturing and purchasing? These file access changes can be easily configure using SOLIDWORKS PDM workflow to accurately manage the state of your files. Access control is granted or denied without additional user input. Now that is file management!

These workflow state changes are logged in the history file along with file moves, version changes and other information as you require. Notifications can be sent automatically to keep users and groups aware of changes or their required input. Gone are the days of emailing files to various co-workers! Notifications send a hyperlink to the required user or groups of users. No longer will your email system be clogged up with multiple copies of the same document. No longer will users have different versions of a file squirreled away to be brought out after they are no longer relevant.

Get more information

Don’t carry on thinking that your file management needs are being met by Windows Explorer.  You need SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional to manage your CAD and non-CAD files effectively and efficiently.  Contact us to learn more.

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Rob Hauser, CSPP

Rob is a System Architect at Javelin, and has over 35 years of Engineering and IT leadership experience with a consistent track record of driving increased levels of productivity, profits and internal/external customer satisfaction. Rob is a Technology Evangelist and Change Agent designing and implementing technical solutions that reduce TCO and deliver a strong ROI.