*Facepalm* Well, that certainly solves my issues with the variables in group (a). Probably should've tried that one. It is right there in the card editor...
As for group (b): I can (and do) use design tables to control all of my configuration specific properties, but those items still show as blanks in the Custom tab when I'm looking at the data card. I could just bite the bullet and either leave it blank or have people enter the data twice*, but I'd rather do something simple to link it all together. Maybe if I could include a row for the Custom tab in my design tables, all my problems would be solved.
* I'm trying to implement SolidWorks in addition to PDM and DriveWorks all at the same time. Most people at my company are a little old-school and tend to be content to fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to documentation. I'm paranoid that they'll be more than happy to find excuses to blow off the new system if there are glaring weaknesses, despite the fact that our current "system" has more holes than swiss cheese.
I am using solidworks 2012 sp 2.0 and having a similar problem with configuration specific properties mapping to custom properties for check in to the vault. Where is the menu box located shown in the attached pictures above? I do not know where to find it.
The option is displayed when you select the control for the variable on the data card. You need to open the card in the card editor.