What Do Different Folder Colors In SOLIDWORKS PDM Mean?

   By on March 28, 2016

You may have noticed different colored folders in your SOLIDWORKS PDM vault. While green folders are what you would normally expect to see in your file vault, occasionally blue, gray and yellow folders show up.

What’s the significance of these colors?

Cracking The Color Code

Green folders indicate that the folder is in the PDM vault and you have access to the database.

Green Folders - SOLIDWORKS PDM

Blue folders tell us that the folder is in the PDM vault but you are offline. On the PDM Toolbar, select Tools > Work On-line.


Gray folders mean the folder is local to your hard drive and does not exist in the vault database. This situation usually occurs if you’ve viewed these folders in the vault at one point in time, then someone else either moved, renamed or deleted these folders.

>> More Tips: Organize Your CAD Files With SOLIDWORKS PDM Folder Templates

Typically, it is safe to delete these local folders. However, it is best to check with your system administrator first. If you delete these folders, you will see that they are local folders and may contain local-only files. If the files are actually in the vault, they will be removed from your local view only.

Local Folders - SOLIDWORKS PDM 

Files can also be “grayed out” or ghosted if they are local only.  An example of this is when files have been cached down to your local cache and then moved or deleted. 

Another possibility is that you may have cached the files at a particular workflow state, and they have since been moved to a workflow state that you do not have permission to view.

>> More PDM How-Tos: Create A Sandbox Vault In SOLIDWORKS PDM

In the screenshot below, two folders are local only and two files are local files. Notice the files are labeled as <Local File> and are semi-transparent in color.


Take note of what happens if I try to delete the gray “NG Tank” folder containing local files in the screenshot below. The warning indicates that these are local only. You are not deleting anything “live” in the actual PDM vault.

Deleting Local Folders- SOLIDWORKS PDM

Finally, there are yellow folders. Yellow folders look just regular Windows Explorer folders. They are local on your computer only and not part of a PDM vault.

Yellow Folders - SOLIDWORKS PDM

This may occur if your local vault view has been deleted but still contains files.

Looking for more helpful SOLIDWORKS PDM articles? Check out this compilation of our recent PDM tech tips.

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Chris Kolling

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