Design and Manufacturing solutions through Digital Prototyping and Interoperability

Tag Archives: Vault

What’s New in Vault 2016? Copy Design 2.01

Vault 2016 puts me into a difficult position. For those of you who moved to Vault 2015 R2, the majority of the new features contained within 2016 you’ve already seen. For those (like me) who stayed on 2015, there is a lot new in 2016 as you didn’t use R2.So the dilemma…. do I blog about 2016 like it is all new? and just ignore 2015 R2 existed?

What I’ve decided to do is write about the 2016 features assuming that you’ve never seen them (as in never seen 2015 R2 or 2016), however, I will try to identify all things that have changed within 2016

The new and improved Copy Design is so significant Autodesk now labels it as an “Experience(ed: Very ‘Dassault’ of them!). If you haven’t seen it yet, you will probably be a bit shocked by how significantly different it is. I’m labeling the 2016 Copy Design as version 2.01, as 2015 R2 introduced the new “2.0” Copy Design and 2016 only slightly tweaks it.


photo credit: JOH_1143 via photopin (license)

Allan O’Leary is doing a very, very, very deep dive of Copy Design over at Under the Hood. Its a very good read as it is both informative and fun, in a way only Allan can. My post however, is not the “long and short of it”, it is only the short. It is the meat and potatoes of Copy Design, meant to give you my impression and get you up and running in no time.

Copy Design 2.01

I should start by saying that for anyone using Vault Basic, you will continue to use the 2015 Copy Design. The new Copy Design “Experience” is only available for Vault Workgroup and Vault Professional users.

So what was so wrong with the old Copy Design?

There are many things about the old Copy Design that I liked. It was easily accessed, it autoloaded the file I had selected and its children. It was easy to tag components with the actions I wanted (after I learned the hold CTRL to toggle all trick). It also had a flow and feeling that didn’t make me feel like I was leaving Vault for something else… it was a part of Vault.

Copy Design however, is not always the most intuitive. For example, Find and Replace is available but only if you know the magical sweet spots to right-click. It also becomes clunky when you start getting into large datasets. It’s clunky as it’s difficult to navigate to find the items you want copied, the ones you want replaced, excluded, etc.

The New UI Experience

Copy Design Dialog

The User Interface (UI) is completely overhauled allowing for more feedback, user customization, and different sorting (ed: while nice, it’s yet another Vault UI variant). Although some similarities in workflow to Get / Checkout, it really is a different experience.  Although it can be launched from within Vault [new to 2016] it is actually a standalone application. You can additionally start Copy Design from the start menu.

Copy Design Start Menu Location

Copy Design now supports more than one dataset at a time. It also supports AutoCAD Electrical Projects (finally). It also now works on non-CAD files… meaning any file stored within your Vault is eligible to participate in a copy design.

Although standalone the window behaves as other Vault windows. The displayed properties (columns) are adjusted by dragging-and-dropping. If additional properties are required (desired), right-click on any column and use Choose Columns to add or remove properties. The view is persistent, meaning it will be as you left it the next time you use Copy Design.

A nice bonus feature which would be nice at times in other windows, is the right-click options for a quick expand-all or collapse-all. The expand options include 2-levels, 3-levels, 4-levels, and All options.

Other new features:

  • copy individual instances (opposed to all instances)
  • replace parts with copies that were created during the active copy
  • configure different actions for drawings
  • use circular references, such as substitute parts and drawing overlays.

The copying process has been completely restructured which should lead to much greater performance. With the previous version files were copied local to your system (into the temp) for the magic to happen (copying and renaming) and then checked back in as the new files. Although this happened invisibly to the user it was still time consuming, especially the file transfer back-and-forth between your system and the server. The copying now occurs completely on the server leading to greatly reduced copying times, significantly improving performance.

The Workflow

If you launched Copy Design from the Vault client your dataset is already loaded, or at least the start. If you required more data or if you launched Copy Design standalone use the big plus sign icon in the toolbar to browse for and select files to include in the copy operation. One caveat is there is no search, that’s right I’ll say it again, there is no search using the add file option within Copy Design…. it’s straight up browsing file structure (maybe Copy Design 3.0?)

Copy Design - Add Files

Use Add Children (in the ribbon) to quickly add attachments and Library files.

To remove drawings from the view, disable Drawing Views from the application menu. Enable Automatically Copy Parents so that as you select a component to copy its parent is automatically selected. Disable Select References when you only want to copy the instance of the component, not all references of it in the assembly.

Copy Design App Menu

Right-click on the components in the list to set the action. The available options will vary on the component level and the file type. The options include:

  • Copy: Toggles the component to copy creating a new file in the same location as the original
  • Copy To: Similar to Copy but you will be prompted to select the destination folder for the new copy
  • Copy Branch: Sets the action to Copy for the selected item as well as all of its children
  • Replace: Browse for and select a replacement file
  • Reuse: Is the default action and can be used to remove an action like Copy
  • Reuse Branch: Sets the action to Reuse for the selected item as well as all of its children
  • Exclude: removes the instance from the new copied assembly

Use the new Actions panel to quickly filter out the files with the assigned action. For example, selecting the “Exclude” tab displays just the files set with the exclude action. The action of the files can be toggled via right-click in these views as well. This has proven to be a great way to check what I’m actually copying and other actions and make adjustments… especially opposed to navigating up and down the navigation tree with larger assemblies.. Remember that nothing is committed until you click the Create Copy button, which is when it initiates the copy process.

The Where Used panel provides a Source and Destination option to quickly see where the files are coming from (Source) and where the copies are going (Destination). Because you can copy individual instances (now) a particular component might have multiple destinations.

Copy Design Where Used

Use the Folders Panel to review the source and destination folders of the copied data, a different view of the Where Used Panel. This shows where the copied files are going, so you can insure they end up in the correct location. As a bonus, you can apply operations based on the folder location. You can also drag-and-drop files between folders or from the main view to add to the copy.

Using the Numbering Panel

The biggest change, and most likely the one that takes the most to get used to, is the Numbering Panel. You do not adjust the name of copied components from anywhere BUT the Numbering Panel. The Numbering Panel lists the files to be copied and is what you use to set the new names. This Panel displays tabs for each numbering scheme used within Copy Design. It organizes the files based on the scheme applied.

Copy Design Numbering Pane

With files with no scheme applied, you can manually adjust the destination file name, apply a prefix (before the base name) or postfix (after the base name). You can apply changes to the three (pre, post, and base) on a selection of files. The options presented on the specific numbering scheme tab is completely dependent on the numbering scheme.

In Summary

Vault Copy Design 2.01 is a case of the good, the bad, and the ugly… well, not quite as it is more of the great, the good, and the bad.

Great is the new features like multiple datasets, AutoCAD Electrical project support, and copying instances opposed to all references.

Good is some of the workflow items like the action panels, the right-click expand options, and the exclusion of drawings from the view.

Bad is the separate window, with its look & feel and workflow different from all other features in Vault. When you launch Copy Design, it truly does feel like a standalone, separate product from Vault. Inconsistencies in software workflows make it difficult for new users to learn and difficult for users who don’t use the feature all the time to be productive.

Ugly Sweater

photo credit: Vintage 80s 8-Bit Scottie Dogs Tacky Ugly Christmas Sweater via photopin (license)

Autodesk 2016 Products Download Links – Including Suites

The Autodesk product launch season always offers up a mixture of excitement, disappointment or trepidation. Have they delivered the improvements you had been hoping for? Will the software be stable straight out of the box? Will your team of designers be as excited as you are about the features you got to use during beta? This post gets you one step closer by showing you where you can find direct download links for the latest and greatest releases of your Autodesk CAD tools.

The primary location for downloading your Autodesk products this year can be found in the new Autodesk Accounts site. You can get there via, since that will take you straight to the Products & Services download or activation page:

Autodesk 2016 Product Download

This is the best place to get the latest stable builds of your Autodesk applications; AutoCAD, Revit, Inventor, Vault, 3ds Max, Maya etc and all the extra subscription goodies for you to get your geeky mitts on. And what an absolute joy it is to use compared to the now retired Subscription Center, THANK YOU Autodesk. Oh and with this site… if you fall off Maintenance Subscription, bad idea, but if you do, you will still be able to access this site and download the last version you paid subs for. It was always an absolute mission trying to find download links for previous release installers when you weren’t on subscription.

But occasionally the Autodesk Virtual Agent is a more direct and therefore handy location to get what you need (Download links will likely take longer to appear on here than on the Autodesk Account portal). Of course both of these locations will also have links for all the Autodesk Suites.

Autodesk Virtual Agent direct download links

Either way, the Autodesk launch season is upon us, so which ever method you use to get your software, keep an eye out on Design & Motion for 2016 What’s New & Review posts.

Autodesk 2016 Product What’s New Reviews:

Autodesk Vault Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) Setup Guide

I recently saw Alex’s prowess in setting up a Fully Qualified Domain Name within the Autodesk Vault 2016 beta. Configuring this feature means users can log into Vault from the internet in a secure and high performing way, all without using a VPN connection. I’d already been talking to him about writing a few posts for Design & Motion, so knowing how much I had struggled to decipher out of date Autodesk documentation in the past, I thought this would be the perfect first post for Alex. So it’s with great pleasure that the Design & Motion team introduce Alex Fielder to our readers. He’s a throroughly nice chap, you can read his bio to find out what he’s all about or you can have a chat with him on Twitter. Without further ado, here’s Alex’s cracking guide for setting up an FQDN for Autodesk Vault. Cheers Alex!


Decide if you want open ( http: ) or encrypted ( https: ) access from your Vault, I will only be covering how to setup http: access today,

Common practice among larger organisations is to have web-facing servers in a demilitarized zone (DMZ), but since this is outside of the scope of this article, I will leave it for the reader to decide whether this is a method they are keen on implementing.

An area that requires some thought is the setup of user accounts (for remote access) and their permissions, but I will also leave that out for now.

A note about my setup: I’m using Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 9841 running on VirtualBox Version 4.3.12 r93733.

Host Network setup

Page 5 of the Advanced Configuration Guide (ACG) for Vault Server 2014 details how to change the default port during initial installation.

I made these changes after having installed Vault Server, so the steps detailed in this post will reflect that.

If there are other web-facing servers/services on the host network, then choose a port that will not clash with that. I set this up on my home network which has a Stora NAS with web access on port 80, and my router allows remote login on port 8080 (which also happens to be the alternate port mentioned in the ACG above), so I chose port 81 instead.

Windows Firewall

On the Vault Server, use the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security to add an inbound firewall rule for whichever port you chose to use (in my case port 81)

Autodesk Vault Fully Qualified Domain Name Autodesk Vault Fully Qualified Domain Name - Ports

Router Configuration

Autodesk Vault Fully Qualified Domain Name - ipconfig all

On the Vault Server, from the Command Prompt (CMD) run ipconfig /all to retrieve the Vault Server IP Address:

In the Host network router, add a port forward to the VaultServer-ip address for port 81:

Autodesk Vault FQDN - Port Forwarding

The process for configuring port forwarding will vary depending on the router you have.

Don’t forget to click Apply or Save!

Internet Information Services (IIS)

In the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager, select the Website that contains the AutodeskDM virtual directory. (My method differs from the Advanced Configuration Guide, because I am using Windows 10 Tech Preview instead of Windows Server 2008 R2/2012):

Autodesk Vault FQDN - IIS

On the right hand side, under “Edit Site” select “Bindings” (circled above) and remove the existing port 80 row. Then click add and put in your chosen port:

Autodesk Vault FQDN - Port Binding

As these changes are being carried out after installation it is also necessary to edit the web.config file for the AutodeskDM application. You can find this file here:

C:\Program Files\Autodesk\ADMS Professional 2016\Server\Web\Services

Open this file with your favourite text editor (I use notepad++) and search for the phrase “port=” in the document. On or around line 439 change:

<server port=”80″ sslPort=”443″ website=”Default Web Site” sslRequired=”false” />

To read:

<server port=”YourChosenPort#” sslPort=”443″ website=”Default Web Site” sslRequired=”false” />

So in my case it is:

<server port=”81″ sslPort=”443″ website=”Default Web Site” sslRequired=”false” />

Save and Close this file, then, returning to the IIS Manager window, click the “Restart” option on the right hand side to restart the Site.

Remote Client setup

Check if it is possible to load the Host-ip:PortNumber/AutodeskTC url in a browser, if successful the Autodesk Vault Thin Client log in page should appear:

Autodesk Vault FQDN - Thin Client Log In

The Server value for the login credentials above, would be Host-ip:PortNumber.

Logging in should then present you with this familiar page:

Autodesk Thin Client Landing Page

Install Vault Pro Client on remote machine. Check client <> server version compatibility.

It is likely that the Vault Pro Client install will require a system reboot, so after restarting the remote client machine, fire up the Vault Pro Client and put in the same credentials used for the Thin Client:

Autodesk Thick Client Landing Page

(I used Vault Pro 2014, but Vault Pro 2013 can also talk to Vault Server 2015)

It is imperative to remember to include the port number at the end of the server name if you did not use port 80 in all login areas.

Finally, here is a view of my office-based Vault Professional Client, logged into Vault Pro Server using FQDN:

Autodesk Vault Logged in using FQDN Server

Thanks for reading and I hope you find this useful!

More Things Change… My Autodesk University Recap (Part 1)

As I sit in the airport waiting for my flight home, I feel it is a good time to start digesting everything I took in at this year’s Autodesk University (AU2014). I decided early in the week that instead of blogging live I’d let things settle in after bouncing around in my head. It truly was a great event, I give my kudos to the event planners, as it went off without a hitch.

Monday (December 1)

Monday was a travel day for me but I was able to participate in the afternoon and evening events.

My first event was attending the first (hopefully of many) Vault Customer Advisory Board (CAB) meeting, organized by Kevin Robinson of Autodesk. The goal of the CAB is to provide Autodesk an avenue to bring up ideas, concepts, and other thoughts and have their customers provide direct feedback. It serves two purposes:

  • First, to get very early feedback into new concepts before Autodesk spends the time developing it. With the proper insight they hope to develop things right the first time and provide tools and workflows the customers really want..
  • Secondly, a review of existing features and processes so they understand what’s not just broken but what’s also working.

This first CAB was attended by representatives from 30 different organizations and many Autodesk personal. I should note that this was a manufacturing focused group, there was no AEC. I was required to sign a Non-disclosure so unfortunately I cannot discuss much…. I can say that they showed an early prototype and it was epic! Seriously blew my mind.  You know when something is a hit when the room initially goes quiet but quickly its filled with whispers of “did you just see that”, “I need that!” and “whoaaaa”. This happened!

There was a lot of lively discussion from everyone there but as expected we did not have the time to discuss everything on the agenda. What’s a real positive sign is that the CAB will not be a one time or even just a yearly event. Autodesk wants to take the momentum and continue it thoughout the year, online, both with the entire group and with sub-committees. We talked about workflows, lifecycles, visualization, job processor, administration, web client, tech support…. whew!. This was one of the best events I attended this year.

What’s clear is that Autodesk is not content with the status quo, the more things change in the industry is NOT the more they stay the same within Vault. They want the product to grow and remain current with the changes in the industry.

After this event was the Expert Elite Social. If you’ve never heard of the Expert Elites these are the group of Autodesk users, not employees, which spend countless hours within the Autodesk community around the internet, offering their assistance and advice. D&M are proud that all four of us have gained Expert Elite status and this social was a great place to put actual faces to the online user names. This is one smart group of people!

Tuesday (December 2)

PL5039 – Behind the Music: The Real Story Behind Deploying Autodesk PLM 360. Rob Cohee hosted two gentlemen from Behlen Building Systems who recently just implemented phase 1 of PLM 360. It was great to see an actual customers approach to both building and using PLM 360. Behlen went outside-the-box with their implementation, using a more project-centric approach opposed to the traditional workspace method.


They have now replaced 40+ custom “home-grown” applications with PLM 360. They still use JD Edwards (ERP) mostly for financial and purchasing, and MBS (Metal Building), but the rest is managed with PLM 360. PLM 360 now connects everyone, including the remote offices, electronically – in the cloud – replacing actual folders of documents… a huge time saving with the additional benefit of significantly less errors in the design and manufacture of their buildings. It has also significantly improved responsiveness to customer inquiries.

I asked about down time due to lost internet, but in the 6 or so months they have been using PLM 360 they had one instance where the internet was down for 4-hours. It did cause a bit of panic but most were able to get by using their mobile device data plans. I would think that there would be just as good of a chance that an in-house server will have issues once every 6-months causing a similar level of downtime, but with zero means to connect to it. Loss of internet connectivity is definitely a concern of many, including myself, so it was good to hear this has not posed any significant issues for Behlen.

What makes Behlen’s implementation outside-the-box? They went with a “Project Central”, essentially replacing the old folder approach with its collection of printed documents to a central project-centric view within PLM 360. Each project created within Project Central is linked to many workspaces, which describe and define the project. So far they have 16 Workspaces built, are actively using 7, and will be implementing the rest slowly over the upcoming months. Here are their tips on implementation:

Watch and manage scope creep. The initial plan was for 7 PLM workspaces and ended up with 16.

  • Momentum is crucial, get early buy-in, keep people involved, implement with a plan, constantly follow-up and look for opportunities for additional training.
  • The initial approach was training the department heads and have them train their people, it didn’t work. So they setup a core team to provide training to all departments.
  • Don’t repeat bad legacy processes but be cautious of trying to implement too many improvements or changes to workflows too quickly.
  • Set a limit on changes… they do not make any changes to a workspace after initial implementation for 30-days for the users to really try it out. Development is frozen for the 30-days.
  • Your people will initially complain, be hesitant, and resist the change but weather the storm as this changes to acceptance and wanting more.

Here’s the process map once scope creep set in:

Behlen Scope Creep

Here’s how Phase 1 ended up once they went back to what they originally wanted to accomplish:

Behlen Phase I PLM 360 Implementation

One last note of interest is that Behlen has purchased 32-inch screens for many of their employees, so that looking at the drawing is the same as it was on the D-size printed drawings. Sign me up for one of those!

This class provided a really good behind the scenes look at an Autodesk customers journey to using PLM 360. It worked as Behlen did not just share the successes, but shared their pains and gains along the path to usuage.

Make sure to check out Scott’s posts on AU: Mindset: Tools to Anticipate, Plan for, and Create the Future,  Selected Quotes, Autodesk University 2014 Opening Keynote, and Is this the start of Autodesk Fusion 360 replacing Inventor? for more news from Autodesk University 2014, as well as keep an eye out for the rest of my recap.

@%#&! Autodesk Vault just overwrote my file

Recover Overwritten Vault CAD FilesIf you’ve used Autodesk Vault at any time, then its highly likely you have downloaded a file you already have checked out and overwrote a chunk of your work. Unfortunately that’s just one of several scenarios, which can result in you losing your work. The real trick to preventing this of course, is to check your work into Vault every couple of hours (similar to continually saving within your CAD application). Nevertheless, there could be a number of reasons why checking in your work continuously isn’t feasible. I often hear the comment “I wish Vault had a recycle bin”, I’ve even murmured those words myself and you know what it’s a reasonable request. Why can’t Vault create an old version of the files it’s overwriting? Although its likely possible, it could get mighty confusing.

Just over a year ago, one of my staff downloaded a skeletal / master model from Vault while trying to work around a problem he had, the problem was he already had it checked out, but worse he hadn’t checked in the file for a couple of days. He had created components, built a main assembly and even produced a drawing. Needless to say overwriting his skeletal model with what was essentially a template file, was highly undesirable. Don’t judge him though, he’s new to this Autodesk Inventor / Vault game, all while dealing with a temperamental VPN connection & a new replicated Vault, so he’s been doing a grand job. All of my staff and myself have all made this mistake once or twice.

Autodesk Vault Inventor Project File Old Versions Setting

In the past the Inventor Old Versions folder has been our first port of call, depending on how your Inventor Project File is setup, these folders can be a gold mine during these arse puckering moments. The project file setting I am referring to is shown in the image above, I like to set Old Versions To Keep On Save to equal 5 on all Vault project files. Of course, this tactic is of no use to AutoCAD users, but it does have some of it’s own backup treasures which may or may not be useful within any given situation.

This time however, I’m glad he made the mistake, because it prompted me to ponder if some of the new Windows Explorer features in Windows 7 on wards would help out here. The particular feature which inspired me to Google for a solution, was the undo tool. In Windows 7 or 8 if you delete a file in a folder, then press Ctrl + Z, it will undo the delete command and restore the file. In this case the file had been overwritten by an application and not as a result of the user interacting directly with the folder. So I took a punt and searched for:

“Recovering an overwritten file”

The first search return took me to this site. Method 3 of 4 was a particular surprise, I couldn’t believe it, I’d seen this tab in the Windows 7 Property menu before but I’d never realized it’s impact. The command worked perfectly, the 2 days of lost work was returned thanks to this hidden gem. You can even open or copy the previous version to a different location if you aren’t confident it’s the right way to go. Be warned though, this isn’t a fail safe, but this is always worth a check in this situation. The best part though? This is handy for all Windows users, not just Vault users.

Windows 7 Restore Previous Version Tab

Then I went and took a look at Windows 8 to make sure this behaviour still existed, it turns out it doesn’t and this article explains why. Thankfully Microsoft just improved it out right, the only catch is you have to enable it and point it to a non system drive. Take a look at this well written article explaining how to do that. Another bit of good news is Windows 10 has maintained the same system as Windows 8, so we are looking good into the future. If you are the owner of your Autodesk software, then you could re-purpose your Autodesk USB installation media, to leverage this native Windows benefit.

These tools for Windows 7 & 8 are cracking little gems, lurking in the background, rarely used but invaluable all the same just waiting for the opportunity to shine and save your butt. The best part is they can be used on any file stored on your hard drive and not just those your use for CAD. Check them out and if you need to, enable it. With respect to the title of this post, I haven’t really shown you how to prevent it happening in the first place, I will do this in an upcoming post covering dialog and prompt suppression within Vault and it’s application add-ins.

Item Lifecycles with Autodesk Vault 2015 R2

change your perspectiveAutodesk Vault started with an acquisition and initially was just a work-in-progress engineering management tool, much as it is today with Vault Basic. Soon after came Productstream (which became Vault Manufacturing, and then Vault Professional) which introduced the Item Master with Revisions, Categories, Lifecycle Management, and ECO’s providing a system of actually managing the data. Autodesk felt that there was no middle ground, it was either you were using Vault Basic or you were “all-in” using Productstream, so they introduced what became Vault Workgroup. With Vault Workgroup you do not need to use items and the item master, you can perform revision management and track file lifecycles. More than just implementing file lifecycling, it has a completely different engine than items, making it much more flexible allowing you to define your own states, the permissions to access these states, custom categories, and even events to occur during state changes!

Here’s an article Brian Schanen wrote circa the release of Vault Workgroup 2010. He identifies the key areas of that product which focus on Release Management at the file level, which includes Lifecycles and Security, Revision Management, User Defined Properties, and Categories.

With the recent release of Vault Professional R2 the Item LIfecycle engine has a received a complete overhaul, granting it all the flexibility and abilities of the file lifecyle management toolset. With this you can configure categories with your own lifecycle states, controlling who has the permission to transition the item into the next state. In addition each Category has its own revisioning schemes and item numbering options. You can now even define actions to occur during state changes. If you want to read about all things new in R2 stroll over to our post Autodesk Vault 2015 R2 Summary.

The Basics

I started writing this article with the intention of covering everything you need to implement the new Item lifecycle functionality, but quickly realized that this will require a couple posts, not just one. What is below is a high-level overview of what’s required with a touch of what’s new. For anyone who has implemented file lifecycles and the revision management tools there is nothing new here.

I delivered two classes last year at Autodesk University, which covered file lifecycles, but now applies extremely well to items. The classes are PL1714: Choosing the Right Lifestyle with Vault Lifecycles and PL1341: Whose Version Should We Believe?—Revising the Story with Vault

Item Lifecycle configuration has been removed from the Items tab of the Vault Settings dialog. Instead that is now controlled in the same places you configure file, folder, and custom objects. The first step is to configure the Revision Schemes, which remain untouched and behave the same as pre-R2. However as you can use Lifecycles to automatically bump the revision it is important to have this set to your desired scheme. In the example shown below I’ve created a “0-Based” scheme which is almost identical to the out-of-the-box Numeric except that it starts at 0 opposed to 1

Vault 2015 R2 0-Based Rev Scheme

You now need to create a Lifecycle or a Category, but the order doesn’t really matter as they are reliant on each other and while editing one you can jump into the other to make changes. Here I’ve created a new “Repair” Lifecycle Definition which I intend to use with customer repair proposals. We will receive the equipment into a staging area (Received), then figure out what needs to be fixed (Analysis), the proposal document will be generated and reviewed by the manager (In Review). It will be submitted to the customer (Customer Submitted) and then end up in one of three states depending on the customers decision (On Hold, Declined, and Accepted).

Vault 2015 R2 Lifecycle Definition

I’ve assigned this Lifecycle Definition to all existing Item Categories meaning that I will be able to apply it to any item, regardless of the assigned category. However I could be very specific, say only making it available on Document category items, or a mix of different ones. As a bonus you can now change the category of multiple items at one time (finally)

Now the fun part… if you want to limit who can make specific state changes, for example making it so only the manager can change the item from In Review to Customer Submitted. You will need to edit either the Transition and/or the Security.

  • Security limits what an individual person (or group) can do while the item is in the state. For example granting everyone read-only access but the manager read, edit, and delete. This can extend to setting file access priviledges to the items associated with the item.
  • Transitions sets who can make the state changes, meaning that I can make it so only the manager can switch it from In Review to Customer Submitted, but then have security so that no one can make changes to the item (or associated files).

Vault 2015 R2 Transition Security

Its on the Transition that you can also set Criteria which must be met before the state change can happen. As well as Actions that occur during the State Change (Transition).

Building the Transitions and Security is not fun with more complex Lifecycle schemes. I highly recommend white boarding the process flow so that 1) everyone is on the same page & 2) you can keep it straight while you are configuring. I really, really, really wish (hint, hint Autodesk) that it worked like the workflow editor in PLM 360… that is one kickass editor. PLM 360 provides a very graphical and easily modifable system for configuring states and transitions and permissions. As a compromise, we have updated a Microsoft Visio Vault Lifecycle flow chart template for you to use to plan and define your Lifecycles. We can’t take all the credit, Autodesk created it originally.

Categories control what you are allowed to do with an item. They set the available revision schemeslifecycle definitions, and User Defined Properties (UDP) available for the item.

Vault 2015 R2 Item Category

What to look out for

Before installing R2 it is extremely important to actually examine the readme and understand that a number of item features are disabled in R2. This includes…

  • Compare Bill of Materials
  • Item Import & Item Export
  • Item Package Service API’s
  • Purge Item, Purge, & Purge All
  • Item Restore & Item Rollback Lifecycle State Change
  • Item Effectivity
  • Restricting Item Lifecycle State Change to Change Orders

Here is a link to the Vault R2 readme document, make sure you have read through everything so there are no surprises with installation and deployment.

A couple bugs have also been reported with R2. Chris Benner discovered quite early with R2, that the new functionality to write the item properties back to files as the item changes is broken. It’s been logged with Autodesk and will hopefully be fixed soon, so thanks for giving it a kicking for us all Chris! (Editor: Mike is being polite… It’s highly unfortunate that a new feature is broken upon release! Why wasn’t it tested properly?)

Seeing it in Action

Feature Image “change” courtesy of suez92 (Flickr) 

Autodesk Vault Copy Design 2.0 (aka Vault 2015 R2)

Most people have a real love-hate relationship with Vault’s Copy Design… its big, clunky, and very slow…. but its still better to use than manually copying and renaming files. With this mid-year release Autodesk set out to build a bigger, stronger, and much faster Copy Design and voila we have it now in Vault 2015 R2! So what does Mike think about it? Continue Reading

Autodesk Vault 2015 R2 Summary

Mid year “Extensions” are not unheard of, even for Vault, but the significance of Vault 2015 R2 from a feature & functionality aspect AND from what’s been disabled means you really need to sit down with a cup of coffee and consider the pros and cons, the good and the bad, and the benefits to your organization before installing it. Mike gets you started with his take and some pointers! Continue Reading

Join the Community