9 Replies Latest reply on Nov 13, 2012 3:05 PM by Tanner Moore

    Search for multiple files from different folders

    Tanner Moore



      I'll start by apologizing if there is already a thread on this. If there is, I was unable to find it.


      I am a CNC programmer who is responsible for taking part drawing files and nesting and coding them for our CNC router. Recently some of our designs have become much more complex and sub assemblies, as well as their parts and part drawings are now being saved in multiple folders under the main job number. In order to program the parts I am responsible for, I now must gather my drawing files from different folders, sometimes requiring me to open 10 or more folders just to gain access to 20-30 files. The process has become quite cumbersome and I would like to simplify it. I've discussed having the designer copy the files I need to a separate folder but that notion was not well received.


      Can I use EPDM to search for multiple files from multiple folders all at once? If I could somehow have the computer automatically populate a list of parts by serial number that would be really helpful and would save me a lot of time. Even if EPDM will not work this way, does anyone have a suggestion about how I may take a different approach?



        • Re: Search for multiple files from different folders
          Jeremiah Davis

          This is actually quite simple for EPDM to perform this search.  If you are using the Complete Search form, you can set your directory to the root of the vault, set your "Name" to ".sldprt .sldasm .slddrw" or if you are only interested in drawings, ".slddrw". Then, depending on how the serial number is placed in the documents, on the Variables tab, search for the Serial Number you specify, or in the Number field on the Name and Location tab, or however it is you placed it in the document.


          This should give you an entire list of all of the files that contain that serial number regardless of directory.

            • Re: Search for multiple files from different folders
              Brian Dalton

              Jeremiah is correct, but his suggestion only works to collect a group of files that all have the same serial number.  If you need to collect a group of files that are not related in this way, one idea is to create a variable that will serve in the same way, as a common value that all the files share.


              For instance, if you're looking for a group of files that are all part of Work Order 255, there could be a card variable for these files called "In_WO" or something similar.  If each of the files had the value 255 in its In_WO variable, you could easily search using the variable search (or create a custom search) and get a listing of all these files in one shot.  It could be a bit cumbersome to enter these values initially, but it would be a natural task for automation.  I'm working on the very same technique for my Co. at this moment.


              Another, different tack could be to utilize the Share functionality.  In this way, you would create a folder for the files you want, and they could be copied and "Paste Shared" to this folder.  You would not be creating new copies of the files, just a special folder wherein you could access all of these related files at once.  Again, it takes time to set it up, but once it is you would be able to get the group together for whatever purpose any time by simply navigating to that special folder.   Also a very automatable process.

                • Re: Search for multiple files from different folders
                  Jeremiah Davis

                  Along that same line, you could create a word document in the vault that contained the information of the work order, then do a "Paste As Reference" for all of the applicable files onto the work order.  Then you only have 1 document to find in the vault.  Just another suggestion.

                  • Re: Search for multiple files from different folders
                    Tanner Moore



                    I think your suggestion of using Share functionality sounds like the path of least resistance at this point. Obviously it's a tough sell to convince an already busy department to do more work in order to make my job easier, and this approach could be used without having to serially number the parts in a particular manner.


                    I should know before making a case for this approach: Do the files in the shared folder update automatically with any changes made in case of a revision?


                    This is my first time using the SolidWorks forum and it has been a positive experience so far. Thanks for the help and keep suggestions coming if anyone has anything to add. I'll report back once I've talked it over with the design department.

                • Re: Search for multiple files from different folders
                  Jeremy Feist

                  in the complete search name field (and possibly any search card you set up) spaces are treated as "or" so the search string "1235 5267 456" would find files whose name contained any of the three numbers.

                    • Re: Search for multiple files from different folders
                      Jason Capriotti

                      Jeremy, unfortunately that only works on the filename search field. Other fields treat it as one string....so your example "1235 5267 456" would have to match the entire string. The only way to do it with other fields is to use the "Variable Search Control" and input several or conditions.....bit of a pain to setup and not user friendly but you could save it as a favorite if you run it often.


                      Would be nice if the search was a little more like Google.....do AND, OR, exact match type searches and display them all.

                        • Re: Search for multiple files from different folders
                          Tim Read

                          Searches on Variables can be done with "AND" / "OR"... you must use the "Variables" tab on the Complete Search.


                          The Serial numbers will be a variable on the data card so you can do a "OR" search on serial numbers - a bit cumbersome but all the results will show up in the one search window.


                          The complete search card is quite powerful - all tabs are combined for the search so things like "State", Version data (when the file was last versioned), folder, including sub-folders or not, filetype (from filename), etc...... can all be combined. Then you can save the search as a favorite so you can do exactly the same search tomorrow :-)

                      • Re: Search for multiple files from different folders
                        Tanner Moore

                        In an attempt to conclude this Q&A session, I'm going to briefly describe what we ended up doing as a solution.


                        Because I program the cutting of plastic components for our assemblies, I'm only concerned with accessing files that are described as plastic in the data card. One of our designers created a PDM favourite search option for me so all I have to do is ensure the lowest common denominator of folder I am accessing for a job is approved, then perform a "PLASTIC SEARCH" using the PDM search function. It has worked exceptionally well.


                        If I may offer a gripe, it would be that when I choose plastic search from the favourite search drop down menu, it defaults to the folder we used to create the plastic search command. We are a custom shop so I only required access to that folder one time. Is there any way to make the process a little more adaptable? For instance, if I get the latest version of folder 12345 for Customer A, is there any way I can make the plastic search function default to that folder instead of reverting to the original set up folder?


                        Thanks for all the input.