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This topic outlines the best practices when using DriveWorks with SOLIDWORKS PDM.

Initial Set Up

The following should be performed on all machines where DriveWorks generates any file that is required to be checked into SOLIDWORKS PDM.

The DriveWorks modules that can generate files include:

  • DriveWorks Administrator
  • DriveWorks User
  • DriveWorks Autopilot
  • DriveWorks Live
  1. Set up a SOLIDWORKS PDM local view with exactly the same folder structure on each DriveWorks machine.
    Windows Explorer has a maximum folder path length of 260 characters.

    Therefore we recommend the PDM Local view be applied to a top-level folder/drive.

  2. Create a DriveWorks user in SOLIDWORKS PDM. This user will log into SOLIDWORKS PDM, through the DriveWorks settings, and requires permissions to add, edit, and overwrite files inside the intended folder within the Vault.
    We recommend a unique user is created for DriveWorks to log into PDM.

    SOLIDWORKS PDM will display this user as the creator of each file generated by DriveWorks.

    For example the vault view will display the message Checked in by DriveWorks next to each file.

    The username that is entered in the plugin settings must be the same as the user logged into the local view of PDM and the SOLIDWORKS add in of PDM.
  3. Ensure the files DriveWorks uses and generates have been registered to be accepted inside the vault.
  4. Ensure the user can create folders.
  5. Ensure the user can check files in and out of the folders that DriveWorks will access.
If you have any issues with the above please contact your PDM Administrator or your SOLIDWORKS reseller.

Setting up the SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional Plugin

The Plugin must be enabled and have the settings applied on each DriveWorks application that requires access to the vault.

This is done by opening each DriveWorks application, and:

  1. Click the settings icon at the top of the application.
  2. Select Plugin Settings.
  3. Select SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional from the Application Plugins section.
  4. Click the Enable button at the bottom of the settings window.
    Enable will be available if a PDM local view has been set up.
  5. Click the Settings button at the bottom of the settings window.

See SolidWorks PDM Plugin Settings for information about the settings in the plugin.

Checking Generated Files into the Vault

The DriveWorks setting Default specification folder must be set to a location inside the vault that all files will be stored from.

With this set and the path rule of each file being relative (see note below) to this location, the files DriveWorks generates will all be checked into the vault after each has been driven.

Relative Path

Each file type has a Path parameter that can have a rule applied.

When the rule result does not start with a drive letter (D:\) or a UNC locator (\\MACHINE-NAME) the file will be created relative to the Default specification folder setting.

These files include:

Some features in DriveWorks can produce files that require an absolute (full) file path to locate the file, these include:

When using the above to create files, that require checking into the SOLIDWORKS PDM vault, the Check in a file into vault task should be added to the Specification Flow.

The SOLIDWORKS PDM plugin only supports Queued Generation (manual and automatic).

OnDemand Generation is not supported for checking models and files into the vault.

See Info: Model Generation Behavior for more information.

Group and Project Files

Individual Group files (.drivegroup) and Project files (.driveprojx) can be stored in the vault.

Please ensure you have the relevant Manage Projects settings applied in the SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional plugin Settings.
DriveWorks will never prompt to check these files out of the vault before editing.

If revision control of the Group and Project files is required we recommend utilizing the Copy Group/ Pack and Go functionality in DriveWorks Data Management to manually create backup and restore points.

Shared Groups are SQL Server based and therefore have no physical file that can be controlled by SOLIDWORKS PDM.

Master Files

The Master files, from which all files are generated, can be stored in the vault.

This entirely depends on if PDM functionality is required for the master documents and components or not.

DriveWorks will be able to copy the masters and check the newly created files into the vault regardless of where the masters are saved.

Controlling Master File Versions

Master file versions of SOLIDWORKS models and drawings, managed by SOLIDWORKS PDM, can be selected through rules.

The following must be done to allow this:

  • Uncheck Ensure latest master models and drawings in the SolidWorks PDM Plugin Settings
  • Create and capture the Special Custom Property DWMasterVersion in each master model or drawing that requires a previous revision to be used.
  • Apply a rule for the DWMasterVersion property that results in the number of the revision to be used.

Development and Production Groups

When using separate Development and Production environments that require to be managed by SOLIDWORKS PDM, consider the following:

  • Using separate Development and Production vaults


  • Development content out of the vault and Production content in the vault

Either scenario introduces complexities for overwriting key Production files with the revised Development files.

If revision control of the Group and Project files is required we recommend utilizing the Copy Group/ Pack and Go functionality in DriveWorks Data Management to manually create backup and restore points.

Multi-Machine Environment

When multiple DriveWorks modules are in use the following is required on each DriveWorks machine:

  • Ensure that the SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional plugin is enabled on all machines using DriveWorks
  • Ensure that the plugin is set up with the same options checked and uses the same DriveWorks specific login credentials on all machines
  • Ensure the SOLIDWORKS PDM local view has the same folder path and structure on all machines
  • Ensure the SOLIDWORKS PDM option Always work with latest version (located in SOLIDWORKS PDM Administrator user and group settings) is checked (if required)

Regenerating Edited Specification Models and Drawings

To regenerate already released models and documents inside the PDM vault you will need to perform the following:

This method will regenerate both models and drawings and will increase the version numbering.

This is the only way drawing files can be regenerated with SOLIDWORKS PDM

  • Ensure the DriveWorks General Setting Allow Existing Specifications To Be Edited is checked
  • Ensure the DriveWorks General Setting Overwrite Released Model Data is checked
  • Ensure the Specification Flow has the Task Regenerate and Overwrite Specification Components

    This should be applied to the Leave State Event of the running state.

    Apply the rule DWSpecificationId to the Specification Id property of the task. This will result in the Id of the currently edited specification.

    This allows all Specification components of the given Specification Id to be flagged for regeneration.
  • Add the Condition Specification Type to this Task

    Set the Type property to Existing.

    With this applied the task will only be run when the same Specification is being edited

See also

SolidWorks PDM Plugin Settings

How To: Troubleshoot SolidWorks PDM