Using The EPDM Convert Task To Create PDF Files

When we do implementations, it’s very common to find that customers use PDF files as their officially released document.  This becomes especially important for departments within the company that are not CAD users.  Fortunately, SolidWorks EPDM has configurable tasks built in that not only allow the creation of PDF documents, but you can also trigger these events from your workflow automatically.

 

 

 Process for Automating the Creation of PDF files in Enterprise PDM:

  • Finding the conversion task:

From within the EPDM administration tool, expand your vault and then expand the “Tasks” node.  Open the “Convert” task.

 

 

 

 

 

When you begin the Convert Task, the following bullet points illustrate the nine options that appear in the blue left-hand column:

  • Areas of interest on the first page (Add-In):

Input Card:  You may build and use a data card to input descriptive metadata that will display on the resulting PDF file’s data card.

 

You can have the task execute as a different user other than the logged in user.  That is, you can execute the task with a user that has the permissions to do so.  I recommend the default option of <Execute as logged in user> and be sure to allow task execution in the user or group settings.

 

 

 

 

  • Areas of interest on the second page (Execution Method):

Here you decide which computer is going to execute the task.  Only computers that are enabled to run the task may host the PDF conversion.

“Is my machine enabled?”  That is a very good question:

In the bottom right of your Windows 7 desktop is the notification area. (You’re on Windows 7, right?  XP support stops next year for SolidWorks).  Select on the up arrow and select the EPDM blueberry.  Choose “Task Host Configuration.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check the box for your machine to enable it.  Also, be sure that the appropriate vault is selected if you have multiple vaults.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Areas of interest on the third page (Menu Command):

Here you will enter what you will see when you right mouse click on
a file in your windows explorer while you are in the vault.  “Status bar help text” allows you to control what is displayed when you hover over the menu command similar to a tool tip.

 

  • Areas of interest on the fourth page (Conversion Settings):

Here is where you determine what file type is going to be exported.  There are several to choose from:

 

This is also where you decide which configurations are being exported and which sheets will be exported.  The critical thing that I will mention is you can allow the user to control these settings.  You will notice there are several opportunities to check the option “Allow the user to change this setting.”

 

 

  • Areas of interest on the fifth page (File Card):

Rather than using an input data card for your exported PDF’s, you can copy existing information from the original drawing’s data card over to the new one.  This is the method I use most often.  It keeps you from inputting data twice.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Areas of interest on the sixth page (Output File Details):

On this page, you set the output path of your newly created PDF files.
You also determine what the new PDF file will be named.  The right arrow next to the output path allows you to choose variables to assist in naming the file.  On this page, you can also choose a secondary path for output and decide what you want to do with duplicate files.

 

 

 

 

  • Areas of interest on the seventh page (Permissions):

Here you determine which users or groups will have the ability to execute this task.

 

  • Areas of interest on the eighth page (Success Notification):

On this page you can set what the success notification reads and who will
get the notification.  I recommend that the person that launched the task receives the notification.

 

 

 

 

  • Areas of interest on the ninth page (Error Notification):

In the unlikely event of an error, you can specify what the message reads and who will get the message.  Maybe you would pick someone you have a grudge against and have all the error notifications go to them, or it may be better to have the person that executed the task receive the notification.  Just like the step above.

 

 

 

I mentioned earlier in this blog that you can execute these conversion tasks in the workflow.  Edit the properties of the transition that you would like to trigger the task.  Typically, that would be the transition that sends the files to the approved state.  Create a new action and select execute task from the pulldown.  Typically, PDF’s are only created for drawing files, so be sure to have the action only run on SLDDRW files..

 

 

After completing all of these steps, you will have successfully automated the process of creating a PDF!

I look forward to hearing any questions or comments on this topic.  So, please feel free to post comments below, or to email me at SWTech@prismeng.com.

 

Thanks for taking a look at today’s blog.  Until next time, I wish you happy data management.

 

Stephan Hess

One Response

  1. Tom

    If you are looking for a nice program which will let you make high quality PDF documents, here is one I found recently: http://www.smartpdfcreator.com. It’s very easy to work with, I use it all the time.

    April 19, 2012 at 4:02 pm

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