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One of the easiest approaches to locating files in Vault is to use the expanded query builder.  This allows you to incrementally add commonly used search terms as needed in order to find just what you are looking for.  You can customize your Vault interface by adding or removing the displayed fields as needed.

Take a look at an example video HERE.

Electrical – In’s and Out’s of Surfer

The easiest way to move from reference to reference inside of electrical is taking advantage of the surfer command. This command has a lot more potential than you may use it for. Take a look at the video I put together of how surfer can be used.


The definition – Moves from reference to reference across the project drawing set. You can surf on a component tag, catalog number, wire number, item number, or a report table cell containing any of these types of values.

 Let’s take a look!!!
Electrical – In’s and Out’s of Surfer


Inventor Command Search

One of my favorite new features in Inventor 2010 and 2011 is the command search capability from the main Inventor menu.  Simply click the “I” and start typing.  Inventor brings up matches based on the command name, ribbon pane name, or even options within a specific command.  In addition it tells us where to find the command in the user interface, or you can simply pick it off the search results list.

To use the search, start by picking the Inventor menu:

Then start typing to get a list of possible matches:

You can see how the search even returns result based on the ribbon bar pane names.  Excellent!

For a better look, watch a video example HERE.

Great Vault Utilities Available

Just because Vault doesn’t include a particular capability or feature “out of the box”, doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. There are many niche needs when it comes to data management, and applications can be written (or borrowed from) to accomplish many feats of PDM glory.

One of the common CAD management issues I commonly get asked about is how to restore a single file that was inadvertently deleted from Vault. By default, this could require a complete restore of the entire Vault database, and if the deletion wasn’t caught early enough, this would not be remotely feasible as all kinds of new data would already be added to the Vault. Another approach would be to keep a “hidden” copy of all the vault files for an administrator to access. This can be done with the Vault Mirror utility written by Doug Redmond and posted on his blog. This utility can batch process any new files added to Vault and also copy a version of the file to an alternate location. The utility and source code are included on the Vault server installation, and Doug’s blog details on it are posted here:

Another utility Doug has written allows an iProperty to be added in files to list the current Vault folder it resides in. For companies that place files in a specific folder structure depending on file name, type, or use, this utility allows CAD managers to quickly verify that new files added to Vault are in the correct locations. Simply create a search folder of all files added recently and turn on display of the “folder path” to see if the files reside in the correct locations. The utility and source code for this one is also on Doug’s blog here:

Contributed by Ben of the Tata Technologies CAD Geeks

Tracking design projects in Vault

I have previously discussed the merits of saving searches in Vault for immediate reuse of any search conducted with the Vault “Find” command, but there are some interesting combinations that I have recently run across. If you are like most engineers or designers, you probably have multiple jobs or projects you are managing at the same time. This can make it really confusing to keep track of what has been completed, and what still requires additional work.

Using saved searches in Vault with a combination of folder locations and file status can be a great way to quickly see the status of your current designs.
Here is an example of a saved search that locates all of the files still checked out beneath a specific Vault folder structure (core Vault):
Here are all of the WIP files in another Vault location (Vault Workgroup and above):

So whatever level of Vault you are using, there is a search that can help you out with determining project completion, and finding that require additional work.

Contributed by Ben of the Tata Technologies CAD Geeks
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