23 Replies Latest reply on Aug 9, 2018 10:43 AM by Michael Dekoning

    How does PDM do searches?

    Kevin Hansen

      We're supposed to be getting PDM Pro at some point in the future? This year, maybe? The implementation project hasn't begun yet, so I don't have any information about it. The thing that concerns me the most right now is getting our legacy data ready for migration. What I want to know is...


      How do you perform searches for drawings and parts? What data and parameters do you have, or might we have? What search logic does one use? What do these pages even look like?


      Our current system holds pdf's, and it has part records and drawing records. Drawing records include fields for drawing number, description, extra description and revision comments. Part records include fields for part number, description, extra description and a couple other odd fields we don't use.


      Also, are the fields customizable?


      Could someone direct me to a resource? Or upload some screenshots? Or... ?

        • Re: How does PDM do searches?
          Chris Saller

          That's a lot of info to cover. I suggest having your VAR come in and show you.

          They will also help you with your migration.

          Also, check out YouTube for PDM videos.

          • Re: How does PDM do searches?
            Joy Garon

            Hi Kevin,

            I'll echo what Chris said.

            There are a lot of resources on YouTube, but, your issue my be figuring out which ones are relevant so I'll point you to a couple.

            These are a few years old but covers basics and some tips regarding data cards.

            Lunch & Learn - EPDM Datacards Tips & Tricks - YouTube  (ignore the section on Items)

            pdm data card - YouTube


            The only bits of advice I would give is to:

            • use the KISS method.

            Keep it simple.... ONLY put on the datacard what will actually be filled out and used.

            • use your VAR

            Your VAR has a wealth of experience and knowledge that can save you the pain 'on figuring it out'.

            A common objection I hear is related to cost, but, if it saves you from making mistakes and helps you achieve your goals quickly, it is money well spent.

            • Don't try to replicate your ERP system.

            This will only complicate the system unnecessarily.


            Good luck,


              • Re: How does PDM do searches?
                Kevin Hansen

                Thanks, that's what I was looking for. I didn't even know the terminology to search. All of the general PDM videos I saw dealt with model operation.


                Keep it simple.... ONLY put on the datacard what will actually be filled out and used.


                Oh, I'm with you there. Notice in my original post, I mentioned "a couple of other fields we don't use." I've been staring at this crappy data for over a decade, and am very eager to fix it.

                • Re: How does PDM do searches?
                  Kevin Hansen

                  Thanks, Joy, that was a good video.


                  This one (found in the YouTube search you posted)  is actually closer to what I was looking for:

                  TPM Webinar: How to make the most of your Searches in SOLIDWORKS PDM - YouTube

                  since it shows what the searches and results look like. It also describes the search logic, which is what I was most hoping to learn. Now I have a better idea of what our data must look like.

                  • Re: How does PDM do searches?
                    Steve Calvert

                    Joy Garon when you say don't try to replicate your ERP system, what exactly do you mean?  We are switching from Smarteam to SW PDM Pro here pretty soon and I wanted to make sure the powers to be made the datacard look and feel as close to what we see in our Oracle ERP system.  Mainly, this is the titles match and we have about the same number of fields shown.  Can you elaborate, please?


                    Steve C

                      • Re: How does PDM do searches?
                        Joy Garon

                        Hi Steve -

                        From my own experience, I managed an installation where the implementer had created datacards containing lots of controls tied to variables that were never used. It slowed down training and confused engineers. (I ended up removing the unused/underused controls from the datacards to keep them simple and relevant.)


                        I have also seen companies try to exactly replicate old ERP systems by creating datacards with hundreds on controls across tens of tabs.

                        Then they add a hundred or more workflows to manage every process in their company.  In this case, performance became an issue as the database size grew. (This may be resolved using database replication.)

                        First, it looks overwhelming to the user, second it's difficult for an administrator to keep track of and finally, it most likely will lead to performance issues down the road.


                        PDM does it's best work managing documents used in the engineering process.


                        For folks who want to do more, SOLIDWORKS Manage or the 3DEXPERIENCE PLM backbone are better options.


                        If you are concerned, feel free to have a conversation with your VAR.




                    • Re: How does PDM do searches?
                      Joy Garon

                      Hi Kevin,


                      Take a look at some of the resources available in MySolidWorks.com.


                      Training | MySolidWorks


                      Essentially, you use a search datacard which takes the information provided and queries the database to return results.

                      When you use an existing template to create a vault, a simple, and complex search cards are provided.

                      These can be used or you can create your own as required. Permissions can be used to control who has access to a card.

                      Good luck,


                      • Re: How does PDM do searches?
                        Tim Rosendal Halvorsen

                        Hi Kevin,


                        This might be a long shot, but you have a very Scandinavian name....

                        Feel free in contacting me directly trh@cadworks.dk (I'm from Denmark) - even if you are not Scandinavian

                        I can have a completely free of charge conversation with you and try guiding you into finding answers to your questions - no strings attached at all.


                        I can then come back to forum and post a summary for others to benefit from (maybe) ...




                          • Re: How does PDM do searches?
                            Kevin Hansen

                            Thanks for the offer Tim, but I think I'll be able to get most of my answers from the videos that Joy posted. I may be back if I have further questions.


                            And yes, my ancestors were from Denmark. :-)

                              • Re: How does PDM do searches?
                                Tim Rosendal Halvorsen

                                Alright, I'll throw a few tips in here then


                                Make sure that you actually need the legacy data migrated into the PDM system.

                                If you are sure about your decision, then make sure you know EVERY single bit of missing reference there may be in those files.

                                Deleted files, duplicate files, files that was moved from some mapped X drive to a new W drive, files that are not rebuilt and so on.


                                Understand your files before dumping them into PDM.

                                Understand your file properties - are they uniform? are they even present in all files?


                                Shortly, fix all your problematic files before sending them into the brand new PDM system.


                                Once ready, you know pretty much exactly what properties needs to be brought in and thus, making data cards becomes much more easy.

                                If you are unsure, then bring in a few more properties than you may need - it is more easy to remove a mapping than re-read properties of an entire archive server.


                                Sit down and make sure you nail the file naming, the workflow of files, revisions of files and categories you might need.

                                Consider how to utilize PDM Templates to create new projects with commonly used files loaded automatically.


                                Ask your VAR or another external resource. You may think you know this better than anyone, but quite frankly, companies have a tendency to bring over all of their bad habits to the new system, making the investment fall a bit short of what you could actually get.

                                Example: we want to use this cryptic file naming convention and it is very hard to set up in PDM and an Add-In would have cost $$ - so we decided to manually name our files upon save..... (this is for sure going to make that file naming anything but uniform, quranteed).


                                External peers will make you unhappy, maybe even a bit angry every now and then, but common for all is, they want you to get the best PDM start and force you to think a bit unconventional compared to what your current workflow is.


                                There is a tool called archive commander which is free to use. It can scan your data and show you a lot about problems in your files, prior to bringing them into PDM. And I promise you, fixing issues up front is a lot more cost effective than fixing stuff in your PDM.


                                And regarding your initial question "How does PDM do searches" - well, we search the database for whatever you bring in and ask us to search for.

                                The search can be customized, meaning, you can create your own search page to use.

                                If your legacy files does not have the properties (connected with the correct variable) you wont find your files.

                                Only variables you have on your data card will be indexed for search.

                                Maybe in 2005 you used to have variable 'Desc' for description properties. in 2009 someone changed that to 'Description' - make sure to map both or even better, make adjustment in legacy files to have common variable - there are tools available for this, and archive commander will find the problematic files for you.


                                All in all - PDM is mandatory for everyone to use, but using it incorrect or without any preparation or care will cost you more problems and make you unhappy with migrating to PDM. That is not fair, because PDM is not the problem - it is the files you put in that are.


                                As we say: crap in crap out


                                Hope this will help you make the correct decisions