Virtual Documents in SOLIDWORKS PDM

Article by Enrico Tolentino on Dec 23, 2020

What are Virtual Documents? 

Virtual Documents in SOLIDWORKS PDM are a way to incorporate external data into PDM using the vault’s rules. Scanned files can be used such as markups, certificates, or any other source of external files. Non modeled items like glue, paint, or anything else that does not have a physical file but you still want it included in the BOM (Bill of Materials). 

This can be done within the Local View of the vault by right-clicking the vault view and selecting New > Virtual document. In this example, we will use a PDF, but any other file extension can be used such as .jpg, .doc, or .gif as long as it matches the external file. 

Virtual Documents in SOLIDWORKS PDM

Once the Virtual Document is created, the user can replace it with an actual document. The replacement file is copied to the location where the Virtual Document existed and inherits the name and metadata of the Virtual Document.  

Virtual Document Replacement SOLIDWORKS PDM

Automation in SOLIDWORKS PDM 

This process can be combined with a PDM Template to use Serial Numbers and data card rules to automate this process. To set this up below is what is needed: 

  • Virtual Document inside the vault’s templates folder 
  • PDM template that copies the Virtual Document with a serial number 

Continuing our example with using a PDF, when the Template is used a Virtual PDF is created named with a serial number: 

Automation in SOLIDWORKS PDM

SOLIDWORKS PDM Virtual Documents

Now the Virtual PDF Document can be replaced by an actual PDF from the local computer. 

Virtual PDF Document in SOLIDWORKS PDM

Using Virtual Documents in SOLIDWORKS PDM can help add in external files such as scanned documents and non modeled items into the vault while adhering to the document rules setup within PDM.

More SOLIDWORKS PDM Tips and Tricks

Differences Between State and Transition Revision Numbers in SOLIDWORKS PDM 

Update SOLIDWORKS PDM Dispatch Add-in & Backup Scripts

SOLIDWORKS PDM Check-in Dialog Box Columns...What Do They Mean? 

How to Map PDM Variables into Microsoft Excel 

Working Offline with SOLIDWORKS PDM Tips and Tricks


About Enrico Tolentino

Enrico graduated from California State Polytechnic University with a degree in Engineering. He is a data management specialist at GoEngineer based in Southern California. A car guy, Enrico frequents the SoCal open track days to test his limits. And, of course, his corgi's name is Rally. :)

View all posts by Enrico Tolentino