What’s New in SOLIDWORKS PDM 2023
The lineup of updated SOLIDWORKS products will soon be shipping to users, and the venerable but still significant Data Management flagship once again provides its users with a bevy of enhancements. The 2023 release delivers more innovative functionality than recent releases—and when you have a product that has been around as long as SOLIDWORKS PDM, that is quite an accomplishment.
Many of the enhancements are centered on that unsung hero, the PDM Administrator—but there is something for everyone. In this article, we will review these enhancements and provide insights into why these enhancements are meaningful. We have organized these enhancements to line up with the SOLIDWORKS 2023 What’s New guide.
Managing Deleted Users
Administration of users is one of the most common tasks that a PDM administrator has to contend with. Whether it be adding users, assigning users to the correct group or deleting users, a well-functioning vault must include well-defined users.
It has always been possible to delete a user and up until SOLIDWORKS PDM 2023, this was a near-terminal event. Now, by providing the user the permission “Can administrate users,” a deleted user can be restored. To accomplish this feat, an administrator need only to right-click Users and select “Deleted users.”
Select the user(s) to restore and click on Save.
If there is already an active user that matches the deleted user, there is no need to worry about overwriting the active user. A warning will be displayed if the login name you are attempting to restore is already active.
If the restored user does not appear after the restore operation, right-click on the vault and choose the refresh option.
After the deleted user is restored, that user will be added to any groups they were members of prior to being deleted.
The option to block a user from logging into PDM has always been possible, from Administrative Permission > Refuse Login. Setting this option has been made easier by adding it to the right-mouse menu of users and groups. Expanding the users and groups management tab, right-clicking users and selecting open, will allow an Administrator to refuse Logins.
Opening user properties.
Once the users dialogue box is opened, there is an option to refuse login.
Setting refuse login.
Configuring Transition Actions
Transitions are the workhorses of workflows and transition actions are workhorses of transitions. A properly orchestrated group of transition actions can significantly boost productivity. One of the tools available to transition actions is the option to populate a variable value. Often, we want to populate a variable with user information. Building on user fields introduced in SOLIDWORKS PDM 2022, the transition action dialogue box includes the user properties field.
These fields are available to the below transition action types:
- Import data from XML
- Inc. revision
- Send mail
- Set variable
Adding Tooltips to Data Card Controls
Data cards are the gateway for entering and displaying metadata. This metadata can be entered or displayed in data card controls. As a PDM administrator, we can use static text to prompt or inform a user about what is expected or displayed in a control. In SOLIDWORKS PDM 2023, an administrator can add a tooltip to a control, so when a user mouses over a control, the user will be given additional information about that control.
Tooltips can be added to controls in a data card by selecting a control, then in the control properties, entering a title and body for the tooltip.
Adding control tooltips.
Tooltips cannot be used with tab and frame controls.
Automatic Login to the Administration Tool
When creating or modifying a PDM vault, an administrator may need to regularly log into PDM Administration. To avoid having to continually enter login credentials, in local settings, SOLIDWORKS PDM can be configured to automatically log into PDM Administration using a specific PDM or Windows user. To access automatic login options, right-click on settings and choose open.
Accessing local vault settings.
Under the automatic login tab of the settings, select a vault in the Administration login section and check “Use automatic login for this vault.” Next, select “Login as the following user” or “Login as the currently logged-in user in Windows.” For the option, “Login as the following user,” enter the admin username and password.
Note, local settings apply to the current computer.
Setting administration login.
Data Card Controls
For the Button control in a Data Card, there is a Command Type option, Find User, which opens the Find User Dialogue box and allows you to search and select a PDM vault user. In previous releases, this option would return a user login name. In SOLIDWORKS PDM 2023, several user values are available, such as full name, initials, first name and last name.
Also relating to data card controls is control logic. Control logic is used to regulate the visibility of data card controls. Control logic can gray out or hide a control. A condition configures the visibility of a control. For example, a control can be hidden if the variable value of that control contains certain text.
Control logic conditions.
In previous releases, control logic was only available from the control pull-down in the data card editor. Now control logic can be accessed from the toolbar of data card editor.
Accessing control logic from the toolbar of the data card editor.
Control logic can also be accessed from control properties.
Control logic in control properties.
Controls using control logic can be identified by an icon at the control’s top-left. This will greatly simplify identifying these types of controls.
Control with control logic.
The display of this icon can be toggled from the toolbar in the data card editor. Being able to toggle the icon for controls with control logic will help to declutter the data card when the information that the icon provides is not needed.
Toggling of control logic icon.
Performance Improvements for File Version Upgrade Tool
The File Version Upgrade tool is often used after updating PDM to a newer major release. The File Version Upgrade tool upgrades SOLIDWORKS files from earlier to current releases. Using this tool to upgrade SOLIDWORKS files can reduce open times for legacy files. Also, routinely upgrading files can prevent corruption when files that are several versions older are converted to the current version of SOLIDWORKS.
In SOLIDWORKS PDM 2023, the conversion process is faster. By selecting the overwrite and latest version options on the version settings page, the File Version Upgrade tool only upgrades the latest versions of files. Since potentially fewer files will be updated, less time should be needed to perform the file version upgrade.
Latest version option in file version upgrade.
Logging File Retrieval Operations
In SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional, a server-side log can be maintained that tracks file access. This can be a great auditing tool. This ability now gives an administrator or manager real-time reporting on who has accessed files, and from where and when.
The server side-logging is enabled from the vault properties. To enable logging for a vault, right-click on the vault and choose properties. In the properties dialogue, under logging operations, check Get.
Setting logging file retrieval operations.
To see the logs, right-click on the vault and choose “Show the Get log.” The log will display the date of the operation, the name of the user who initiated the operation and the computer on which the operation was performed.
The document name, document path and the archive server where the file was retrieved from are also displayed.
Additional Get log information.
Support for Microsoft Edge WebView2-Based Controls
PDM 2023 now offers support for Microsoft Edge WebView2-based controls. In SOLIDWORKS PDM, the Internet Explorer-based controls are replaced with WebView2-based controls. This applies for:
- Preview pane in SOLIDWORKS PDM File Explorer. You can preview the HTML documents that are present in the vault.
- EXALEAD OnePart Search view.
- Web Card Configuration Editor dialogue box.
Removing Computer from the Task Execution
Removing a computer as a task host is now easier in SOLIDWORKS PDM 2023. In earlier releases, a computer was removed by modifying the PDM task host configuration from the computer where the task host was enabled. This involved physically getting on that computer to make those changes. Now computers can be removed from a single location.
In PDM 2023, the task host can be removed directly from the task in PDM administration. To remove a computer, edit the task that contains the computer to be removed. Next, select the execution method tab. Then right-click on the computer to be removed and select either “Remove from SWTaskAddIn” or “Remove from All Add-ins.”
Removing task host computer from task.
“Remove from SWTaskAddIn” removes the selected computer from the add-in being edited, while “Remove from All Add-ins” will remove the selected computer from all tasks in the current vault.
Display Groups for Inherited Permissions
In PDM, user permissions are often set for groups and users can belong to multiple groups. To make it easier to determine which group an administrative permission is coming from, an administrator can mouse over the group icon for a given permission. A popup window will display what group(s) that permission is coming from. The window that lists the group(s) can be pinned to remain open.
Notifications can be sent by PDM when a file changes state, or it can be sent manually. Previously to SOLIDWORKS PDM 2023, modifying the template used for notifications was limited and cumbersome. In PDM 2023, there are now better tools to configure Notifications.
First, accessing the templates is easier. The templates are now listed under the Notification node of PDM administration.
Each of these templates can be edited by right-clicking on it and selecting Open.
To customize the template, select the Custom button.
Customize notification template.
SOLIDWORKS PDM Performance
With many employees now working from home, high latency can impact performance. In PDM 2023, changes have been made to minimize the impact of latency. The below PDM operations benefit from these changes.
Archive server data operations:
- Add files to the vault.
- Get files to the local cache.
- Replication of vault archive.
- Check in files or folders.
- Check out files or folders.
- Undo check out of files or folders.
- Get latest version of files.
Enhanced Data Security
Data security is a continuously increasing concern for most companies. SOLIDWORKS PDM 2023 now encrypts all data to and from the archive server. This is huge!
Support for Windows 11
SOLIDWORKS PDM supports Windows 11.
Copying Static Text
Static text can now be copied from a data card. Static text refers to text that is not associated with a data card control. In previous releases, text associated with a data card control could be selected, but not static text.
User Interface for eDrawings Web
To add consistency, the user interface of eDrawings Web Viewer follows the language specified in Web2.
This release offers tools that will make the administration of PDM easier and more intuitive. But it is not only administrators who benefit from these enhancements. With performance and security enhancements, SOLIDWORKS PDM 2023 has something for all who use PDM.
About the Author
Joe Medeiros as an Elite Applications Consultant at TRIMECH, a premier SOLIDWORKS reseller servicing customers throughout North America, offers SOLIDWORKS customers expertise in implementing and using DS SOLIDWORKS solutions.
Joe has been involved in many aspects of the DS SOLIDWORKS product family since 1996 and as an award-winning blogger, he regularly writes about DS SOLIDWORKS solutions.