PDM Search Operators and Wildcards

Which search operators and wildcards can be used in SOLIDWORKS PDM and how do search operators and wildcards work in SOLIDWORKS PDM are common questions. Search operator functionality can save you a lot of time finding files in SOLIDWORKS PDM, especially if you don’t know EXACTLY what you’re looking for in the vault.

Note, SOLIDWORKS PDM 2020 introduced additional support for search operators. When upgrading from later versions to SOLIDWORKSPDM 2020 or later, the previously saved searches are upgraded to follow to new search rules while maintaining the previous behavior.

PDM Search Operators

File name Search

By default, PDM search will always search file names by wildcard in the Name field.

Sample PDM Search1

When you use a space character in the Name search field, the behavior will differ for SOLIDWORKS PDM 2020 and later versions compared to SOLIDWORKS PDM 2019 and older versions as explained below. 

PDM 2020 and later, a space character between words in the Name field will search for all files having those words, in any order, within the same file name. For example, ‘backup 115’ or ‘115 backup will return only those files with both values in the name. 

Sample PDM Search1

To perform an exact file name match, enclose the file name within double quotes. For example, stu115 backup ring.sldprt” would only return the file matching the complete name. 

Sample PDM Search3

To speed up the search performance, you can use wildcard character * (asterisk). When you include * character as a wildcard, the search will return all files with the search criteria rather than searching the entire file name of every file in the vault. 

For example, searching for ‘stu*’ will return only files starting with stu. 

Sample PDM Search4

PDM 2019 and older, a space character or a comma character in the Name field will act as an ‘OR’ operator and return any file with either of the words in the file name.

For example, if you enter ‘txt pdf’ in the Name field, the search query will return any file names matching txt OR pdf. Note, this only applies to file names. A space in a folder name will be treated as an ‘AND’ operator.

Search Operators AND, OR, and NOT (PDM 2020 and later)

In SOLIDWORKS PDM 2020, support for search operators AND, OR, and NOT were introduced. You can use these search operators in any search card, Web2 search, the SOLIDWORKS PDM Search tool, and Quick Search.

Search Operator Rules:

    • Operators are case sensitive and must be capitalized (AND, OR, and NOT)
    • You can use AND, OR, and NOT search operators or their equivalent symbols: &, |, !
    • In case of multiple operators used in a search, SOLIDWORKS PDM evaluates the search operators in this order: NOT, AND, and OR
    • You can use the AND and OR operators with the : (colon character). For example, you can use ‘part1 AND part2’, or you can enter ‘AND: part1 part2
    • Escape symbol rules to search for special characters, use \ as a workaround.
      • Example 1: to search for text which contains double quotation marks, such as “speaker“, enter the string as \”speaker\”
      • Example 2: to search for 3″ pipe, enter “3\” pipe”

The examples below will use the OR search operator to demonstrate some of the basic functionality of the AND, OR, and NOT operators

If you want to perform an OR type search to find files matching either word, you can separate the words with a capital ‘OR’. For example backup OR 115

PDM Search5

Alternatively, if you have a list of space-separated words or files names to search for, you can instead use the ‘OR:’ prefix. Any words that are separated with space after the ‘OR:’ will be treated as ‘OR’ statements as shown below using OR: backup 115

PDM Search 6

If you want a space character to be of the same string and not be treated as an ‘OR’ separator, enclose the string with double quote characters, i.e., to search for any files matching ‘socket’ or ‘head screw’, use:

socket OR “head screw”


OR: socket “head screw”

PDM Search7
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