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What’s the Difference Between PDM Versions and Revisions?

SOLIDWORKS PDM captures two different layers of document change history: Version History and Revision History. Both history types are important but work in different ways to help manage files.


The simple definitions are Version History is maintained by SOLIDWORKS PDM automatically for each file, whereas Revision History is specific versions of files created by moving the file through the workflow and set according to your company’s approval process.


Version History

A new version of a file is added to the version history each time a file is checked into PDM. The changed file is copied to the PDM Archive and assigned a new version number.

    • Version history is set automatically by the PDM server, and they are always numeric starting with 1.
    • Each version contains an automatic time stamp and user assigned which cannot be modified. This is useful for industry standards compliance.
    • A digital file resides in the PDM Archive for each version of the document. If a file has 10 versions, then there are 10 copies of the digital file in the PDM Archive.
    • Users can add comments when checking in files, which can then be viewed in the file’s history to help identify when and why changes were made as well as which PDM user made the change.
    • PDM may also create versions for files without the file being checked out/in by a user. For example, this can occur because of a programmed action in a workflow.
    • Variables can be configured to be Version Free Variables to have the values changed by users without creating a new version.

Revision History

A Revision is an instance of a file version which has been released through the workflow approval process configured by your company.

    • Revisions are associated to a specific version of a file.
    • Revisions can be set/bumped by actions in workflow transitions or Set Manually.
    • Revisions are dependent on Revision Schemes configured by the PDM Administrator according to your company standards. For example, alphabetically (A, B, C…), numerically (1, 2, 3…), or a combination of the two ( A.1, A.2, B.1, B.2…) for Major Minor Revisions.



Viewing Document Version and Revisions History

The version and revision history of a file can be views from within PDM File Explorer by selecting a file and then selecting Actions > Get Version, or by right-clicking a file and selecting Get Version. Either method will expand a flyout menu list with the versions and comments stored for the file as well as any revision stamps created by a release.

Follow this guide to learn How to Control Get Version Commands in PDM.


Clicking on any version or revision from the flyout will ‘Get’ (copy) that version of the file to your local cache. Selecting a revision copies the associated version.

For example, if version 5 is selected in the image above, it is the same as getting revision A. They are the same version of the file. Version 5 is stamped as revision A.


To view the full history, including all comments, select a file and then select Display > History, or right-click and select History. Select a specific version row and then click the ‘Get’ button to copy that version to your local cache. Note you can only have a single version cached locally at one time. 


Technical Support

Version and Revision work together to create the complete record of the changes made to a file. If you do not have access to either the Get Version or Get commands, review this article with your PDM Administrator or feel free to reach out to MLC CAD Systems technical support

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