PDM Branch and Merge Overview
PDM Branch and Merge Overview
SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional Branch and Merge options allows designers to create and edit copies of files or file structure that can be worked on individually while retaining the source files in their original state and permission status. The branched files can then be merged back to the source file, or if the branch is no longer needed, the files can be deleted without affecting the source files.
The Branch and Merge option works particularly well in a collaborative environment where more than one designer may be working on concepts at once for the same design. The accepted design branch can then be merged back to the source file while maintain a full version history.
Note, although this article focuses on SOLIDWORKS files, other file types can also be branched and merged in PDM. The Branch and Merge options are only available in PDM Professional.
Branching creates a copy of a source similar to PDM Copy Tree, though adds the ability to maintain the file history of branched files. This allows the branches to be merged to their source.
To branch a design, in the PDM File Explorer, left-click to select a file and then select Tools > Branch…
The Branch dialog is similar to Copy Tree with options to set a Default Destination, include reference files, add a prefix or suffix, and even add a comment and check files in after branching.
The example below was given a Branch Name of ‘CONCEPT BRANCH-1’ to link it back to the source. The branched file is also stored in a newly created folder named ‘Branches’ with a suffix of ‘-BRANCH-1’.
Adding the branched files to a specific folder helps with file organization so you know exactly which files are the source and which are branched.
A file can be branched multiple times, and a branch can also be branched from itself. Each branch is independent of its source file, so that any changes to the branch or its source will not affect other branches or the source file. The history of the source and branched files will record the branching operation.
Once branched, the Branch Name is used as the ‘link’ to associate the branches, and it can be accessed by right clicking either the source or branched files.
At any time, branched files can be merged with their source file. Any modifications in the branched file will be carried over to the source file.
To Merge a design, in the PDM File Explorer, left-click to select a file and then select Tools > Merge…
Select the Merge options and then click ‘Merge’ to complete the process.
The source file contains a full history of the Branch and Merge.
Once a branch has been merged back to the source or if a particular branch is no longer needed, simply delete the branch file from PDM as you would any other file.
Your design has now been successfully branched and merged.
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