How to Branch SOLIDWORKS PDM Files for design conceptualization

Article by Joe Medeiros, CSWE updated December 21, 2017


This is a continuation of our SOLIDWORKS PDM Branching and Merging series. In this article, we will look at the steps to Branch SOLIDWORKS files. Branching creates copies of a source file, which can be modified in order to test new concepts.

Branching is available from the Tools pull-down, of the Local Vault View.

Selecting Branch from the Tools Pull-down of the Local Vault View

Selecting Branch from the Tools Pull-down of the Local Vault View

The Branch dialog box is similar to the Copy Tree dialog and has many of the same options. Like Copy Tree, files must first be Checked-in.

Branch SOLIDWORKS files

Branch Dialog Box

There is no option to create a Compressed Archive though, and a Branch Name is required. A Branch Name can only be used once, so development of a Branch naming scheme, early on, can prevent problems coming up with Branch Names, on a per use basis.

Once the Branching operation is complete, the History of the file, will so the Branch operation.

Branch Operation in History of a File

Branch Operation in History of a File

A list of Associated Branches, is available by right clicking on a Branch or the Source file.

Selecting Associated Branches

Selecting Associated Branches

Selecting a Branch, from the Associated Branches fly-out, will display a report, that lists the Source file and any Branches.

Associated Branches

Associated Branches

There are options, to open to open the report as a .csv file (in a spreadsheet solution such as Excel), or to save the report as an external file.

Additional notes:

  • While the Branch operation, can be seen in the History of a file, the file cannot be Rolled Back, to a point before the Branch
  • A Source file can be Branched multiple times and Branched files can themselves be Branched
  • The Source file and Branched files, can modified without affecting other Branches. Modifying a Branch will not affect the Source file
  • While the images in this article, so SOLIDWORKS files, other file types can be Branched.
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Joe Medeiros, CSWE

Joe Medeiros is a SOLIDWORKS and PDM Certified Expert. He has been helping SOLIDWORKS users with training, mentoring and implementations since 1998. He combines industry experience with a thorough understanding of SOLIDWORKS products to assist customers in being successful. He shares his experience and expertise through blogs; one of which has been incorporated into the SOLIDWORKS Essentials training manual.