SOLIDWORKS PDM: Create and Deploy a Local View File

Article by Miguel de Villa on Jun 12, 2024

In this tutorial, we explain the steps to create a local view file (.CVS) for both SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional and SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard. This is an extremely useful tool for distributing and automating the creation of local views when setting up new PDM clients by providing a (nearly) one-click alternative to the traditional View Setup Wizard. 

To begin with, when would we use the .CVS file above the traditional View Setup Wizard? Both methods ultimately result in a local view that enables users to access the contents of their vault. One of the primary benefits of the .CVS above that of the View Setup Wizard is its ability to circumvent common permissions errors that can pop up during the View Setup Wizard.

Common View Setup Wizard Errors

  • Could not Open Archive Server Registry

    Common View Setup Wizard Error Could Not Open Archive Server Registry

  • Need to Provide Windows user credentials with Attach Access

    Common View Setup Wizard Error Need to Provide Windows User Credentials with Attach Access

The Local View Setup Wizard is nothing more than a registry edit that tells the PDM Client that a particular folder has been set as the local view and to use the appropriate PDM File Explorer UI while inside it. The .CVS file directly creates that registry edit in place of the wizard by having a predefined Archive server selection, vault selection, and local view location built in.

However, a .CVS file does not inherently resolve connectivity issues between the server and client. Make sure that the server can be resolved across the desired ports and hostnames using the telnet test; otherwise, the local view will exist, but the user still cannot login. 

1. Have a PDM Vault But No Local View

Make sure the PDM Vault in question is live and accessible on the machine we are creating the CVS file on and that the currently logged-in Windows user has, at minimum, Attach Access as found on the server under Start Menu > SOLIDWORKS PDM > Archive Server ConfigurationTools > Default Settings > Security Settings.

SOLIDWORKS PDM Vault But No Local View

Tip: It’s easiest to generate the CVS file on the server itself while logged on as the local Windows Administrator—it’s practically a guarantee that this user has been specified with administrative access through the built-in group membership in the Archive Server Settings.

We also need to make sure that a local view of the target vault has not yet been created on this machine, as we cannot attach to a vault when a local view of it already exists.


If necessary, right-click on the existing vault view and delete the local view.

Delete File Vault View Option in SOLIDWORKS PDM

For this example, we are going to make a local view of the vault ACME on the server TSWIN2016.

Local View Of Vault SOLIDWORKS PDM

2. Creating the CVS File

Up next, we are going to run the ViewSetup.exe application in a unique way that allows us to save it as a CVS.

Search Bar > Run> ”C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS PDM\ViewSetup.exe” /a

Run Viewsetup.exe


Note: If you installed the PDM in a different file location, then know we are specifically looking for ViewSetup.exe. If you call out to where this application lives, then the command will work. For example, here I happen to have installed a slightly different folder structure:


If prompted by User Account Control (UAC), hit Yes. From here, the steps are the same as the typical view Setup Wizard. Hit Next.

SOLIDWORKS PDM Create Local Views of One or More File Vaults

Select the desired Archive server. If necessary, use the manual option to browse for it if it does not automatically resolve the PDM server. Hit check and hit Next

Manually Select SOLIDWORKS PDM Archive Server

Note: Make sure the hostname is resolvable by the clients. If you are only able to resolve the IP Address of the server on the clients and not the hostname, specify the IP Address here or use a Windows host file to alias the IP Address as a hostname.

If you’re not doing this step as the local admin on the server itself, here is where you might run into the authentication step shown earlier. Go ahead and provide the necessary credentials of a Windows user/Admin with Attach Access, as mentioned previously. Once again, the benefit of a CVS is that future setups will circumvent this step entirely, so this is a great way to not have to share these credentials among the user base.


Now, here is the list of vaults available to connect to on the server. Select the vault/s that you want to be included as part of this CVS file and hit Next.

Connect Available Vaults in SOLIDWORKS PDM

Choose the file location for this local view and whether it will be created for other local users on this machine. Hit Next.

Select Location of Vault Views SOLIDWORKS PDM

Note: Choose a generic location like the root directory of the C Drive as shown here, as users will not be given the choice of where to place it when using this CVS, and everyone will be guaranteed to have this location.

The Summary Screen will reflect that we are now able to save our picks and clicks to a CVS. Hit Finish and Save this to a File.

Now we have a CVS! Feel free to store this file in a shared location for easy access or even attach it to an email to distribute it amongst your team.


3. Assigning the default application for a CVS file

First, ensure that the CVS file has been copied to the client machine and the PDM Client software has already been installed, but no local view is created. If local views or other .CVS file have been used before, double-click on the CVS file to execute it and proceed to. 

Right-click on the CVS file, select Open with... and when prompted, click Try Another App on this PC.

Create and Deploy Local View Files in SOLIDWORKS PDM Tutorial

Next, choose the option Look for another app on this PC. Browse to the location of the PDM Client installation folder on the client machine and select the default program as the ViewSetup.exe application. By default, it’s most likely here: “C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS PDM\ViewSetup.exe”.

CVS File Deploy a Local View in SOLIDWORKS PDM

The CVS icon will now be the SOLIDWORKS PDM logo.

4. Creating the local view

Now, double-click to run the CVS file and hit Finish! And that’s it! A local view has now been created. Feel free to login with your ordinary user credentials.

View Setup Wizard Review Actions

How to Have a SOLIDWORKS PDM Vault Without a Local View

SOLIDWORKS PDM ACME Login Work Offline Dialog

Bonus: Editing an Existing CVS file

 A CVS file is editable. All you need to do is open it in a text editor like Notepad or equivalent.

Here, we can change the Parameters of the CVS file to run for different vaults or server names as necessary for different scenarios. 

Edit Existing CVS File in SOLIDWORKS PDM

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Learn more about SOLIDWORKS PDM below.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in October 2022 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.


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About Miguel de Villa

Miguel de Villa is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Applications Engineer with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, San Diego. He’s been working at GoEngineer since 2017 helping customers with all their SOLIDWORKS, Simulation and PDM needs. In his free time he enjoys working with his 3D printer, playing video games and building model kits.

View all posts by Miguel de Villa