Using Custom Search Columns to Create Simple Reports from PDM Searches

It can often be very useful to collect information about your files from a high level, such as if you were interested to learn the internal PDM Document ID or who in your department approved what when.

You can use custom search columns to change how a search card displays information and then export your search results to Microsoft Excel. This can also be useful when tracking project management documents, as you can have all of your relevant fields show in the PDM search card and then export those results to Microsoft Excel for easy portability and communication.

In order to set up a simple reporting solution for documents (such as project cover sheets) you’ll need the following items:

1. Variables configured on the file data card

2. Variables and search parameters entered on the search card (this will be a specific search card, used only for our project search)

3. Populated files in the vault

4. Run the search and save as a favorite

The end result, could look like the following – a project status report one of my customers used.

Using-Custom-Search-Columns-to-Create-Simple-Reports-from-PDM-Searches-1

To illustrate how we can set this up I’ll take you through a simple example where we have about four variables total.

Start a new file card

Using-Custom-Search-Columns-to-Create-Simple-Reports-from-PDM-Searches-2

Add variables and labels

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Create a custom column set - for searching

Using-Custom-Search-Columns-to-Create-Simple-Reports-from-PDM-Searches-4 Using-Custom-Search-Columns-to-Create-Simple-Reports-from-PDM-Searches-5

Save As the File Card as a Search card.Using-Custom-Search-Columns-to-Create-Simple-Reports-from-PDM-Searches-6

Using-Custom-Search-Columns-to-Create-Simple-Reports-from-PDM-Searches-7

Set your search card parametersUsing-Custom-Search-Columns-to-Create-Simple-Reports-from-PDM-Searches-8

Using-Custom-Search-Columns-to-Create-Simple-Reports-from-PDM-Searches-9 Using-Custom-Search-Columns-to-Create-Simple-Reports-from-PDM-Searches-10

Finally, test out your creation!Using-Custom-Search-Columns-to-Create-Simple-Reports-from-PDM-Searches-11Using-Custom-Search-Columns-to-Create-Simple-Reports-from-PDM-Searches-12Using-Custom-Search-Columns-to-Create-Simple-Reports-from-PDM-Searches-13 Using-Custom-Search-Columns-to-Create-Simple-Reports-from-PDM-Searches-14

As you can see, once you have this set up, it only takes a minute or two to pull the data for a report that if done manually could take hours. You can use the data as is, or copy it into a formatted table, with color coded meanings and so forth. This comes in handy when you want to track project parts, status of ECOs, and more.

I’ll be posting a follow-up blog detailing how we can take this step further and automate the report so that it is emailed to you weekly.

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About the Author

Peer Larson has been using SOLIDWORKS since 2006 and began supporting, implementing, and teaching PDM since 2012.  Peer has been in the IT field supporting computer networks since 2004, working on Cisco devices.  He has since transitioned into the software environment, where he specializes in software deployment, data migrations, and data automation - frequently leveraging the SOLIDWORKS and PDM APIs.