Find It Fast – SOLIDWORKS PDM Quick Search

   By Keith Thompson on September 14, 2022

SOLIDWORKS PDM Quick Search is a Google-like way to search the PDM vault without having to bring up the traditional Search Data Card. It enables you to just start typing in search terms and quickly see matching results.

The quick search box is available in the SOLIDWORKS PDM File Explorer as a part of the SOLIDWORKS PDM menu bar. You can search using single text strings, defined system variables, or combination of logic operators like AND, OR, or NOT.

Quick Search

Although you can start using the SOLIDWORKS PDM Quick Search straight out of the box right after setting up and putting files in the vault, you can expand its capabilities with some administrative setup.

Three key things you should know to make the best use of Quick Search that we will cover in this blog are:

  1. Keyboard Shortcuts
  2. Logic Operators
  3. Variable Lists

PDM Quick Search

The PDM Quick Search tool is found at the far right of the SOLIDWORKS PDM File Explorer window (see image below). To enter search terms, you can click the mouse cursor in the search field or use a special keyboard shortcut to open it for automatic text input. We will start out by discussing the keyboard shortcut and what they do.

Quick PDM Search

Quick PDM Search

To jump to the Quick Search entry field using the keyboard, type Ctrl + F. This selects the search field ready for you to type in search words. Other keyboard shortcuts are listed below.

Keyboard Shortcut

Ctrl + F Selects the search field, ready for text entry
Arrows keys + Enter Selects the search string from a list of the previous five searches
Enter Starts the search
Esc Closes the search

Using Quick Search

Using quick search

The Quick Search field has four options for configuring the type of search that you may want to run.

They are Search for, Search in, Search Variables in, and Match search term in. Each of these areas can be defined and changed separately but are used in combination.

From Search for, Search in, and Search variables in, select the appropriate search categories that you want to use in your search.

Search for searches for the names of files or folders that match the search string. By default, it is set to File/Folder Name, but the PDM Administrator can define and include a list of PDM variables that can be used as search fields, such as variables in the data card fields.

Search in defaults to search in Current Folder, but can be changed to Current Folder & Subfolders, or All Folders. The selected choice will be retained for all future searches until changed to another choice.

Search Variables in defaults to Latest Version but can be changed to All Versions. These options will be grayed out and cannot be chosen until a variable list has been created and made active.

Match search term in is used to limit the search to a single variable or configuration. Optionally it can be changed to search all variables or configuration.

Logic Operators

SOLIDWORKS PDM supports the use of logic operators like AND, OR, and NOT in search fields in search cards, PDM search tool, quick search, and Web2. Here are the rules you must follow when using these operators.

  • Operators must be capitalized.
  • You can use AND, OR, and NOT search operators or their equivalent symbols &, |, ! respectively.
  • The search field supports * and ? as wildcard characters.
  • Search strings are case-insensitive, meaning they can contain upper and lower alphabetic characters.
  • For numeric or data type variables, the logic operators to use are: =, !=, <, <=, >, >=.
  • If the search string contains any of the following characters: =, <, >, !, &, |, (, ), {, }, :, “, or \, you must precede these characters with an escape symbol such as \, or alternatively, enclose the whole string in double quotation marks.

For example, to search Table:1, enter the input string as Table\:1 or “Table:1”.

Search String Examples

  • Item1 AND item2 Returns the match that includes Item1 and item2 in any order.
  • Item1 OR item2 Returns the match that includes either or both Item1 and item2.
  • NOT Item1 Returns values other than Item1.

Variable Lists

Variables defined in the PDM system can be added to Admin-defined lists to use as search filter in the Quick Search field.

To define Variable Lists

  1. Log in to the PDM Administrative tool with the ‘admin’ user profile and ensure you have “Can Update Lists” administrative permission.
  2. In the PDM Administration tool, expand Lists.
  3. Right-click Quick Search Variable List and click New List.
  4. Enter the name of the new variable list.
  5. Click Add to add a pre-defined variable (you can add up to five variables per list).

Click the added variable to display all available variable that you can select to replace with the one you need.

  1. Select the checkbox for the Users/Groups allowed to use the variable list.
  2. Click OK to save and close the variable list.

To use Variable List

  1. Login to PDM as a user that was assigned to one or more variable list.
  2. Click the dropdown arrow at the far right of the Quick Search input field.

The variables added to the variable list you were assigned will be listed in the Search for area.

  1. Enter/type your search term and it will used by the variables as filters to find the results.

SOLIDWORKS PDM Quick Search is a powerful tool for all users, but particularly for users who rely mainly on using the keyboard as their primary input device. It will enable you to quickly enter and execute searches, use logic operators to combine or filter search criteria, or use variable list to specify commonly used search terms. At the end of the day, it will help to find data fast.

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Keith Thompson

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