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Utilizing Cloud Storage In A Multi-User Environment ​

The best practice for working with SOLIDWORKS files in a multi-user environment is to utilize PDM to manage data. PDM provides a number of benefits beyond simply managing files and avoiding version conflicts between users. If you are unable to implement PDM currently,  you may find some advantages to using cloud-based storage such as OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. versus a network drive. 

The challenge to using network drives for sharing CAD files is network congestion. If network interruptions occur during the save process it can leave files in an unrecoverable state. Cloud storage and PDM both copy files to local directories for editing and then copy them back to the central location once files are updated. 

There are a few important considerations to using cloud-based storage systems which need to be addressed to avoid confusion and file version conflicts. By default, most cloud storage systems will check to see if a file has been modified by another computer before updating the cloud data with a modified local copy. If it detects a possible conflict the filename will typically be saved with a modified filename. For example, OneDrive automatically appends “-<computername>” to filenames to indicate which version was modified by which computer. This can lead to broken references as well as confusion as to which file is the most up to date version. 

Best Practices Sharing Files with Cloud Sync

In order to avoid issues, it is recommended to take the following steps for all computers that will be accessing CAD files: 

Working in Collaboration Mode

The Collaboration options adds a pair of context-sensitive options to the File menu.  The first option will display differently depending on the current read/write access for the selected file.

    • Make Read-Only – If a file is opened with write access, you can use the File -> Make Read-Only command to change the access to read only. 
    • Get Write Access – If a file is opened as read-only, you can use the File -> Get Write Access to re-open the file for editing. 

This is useful if you have multiple people working on different parts within an assembly and/or working on drawings of those parts/assemblies. 

Get Write Access and Reload

The File -> Reload command is a useful tool to view the status of file references. Click the “Show References” button to show all sub-components that are loaded in memory. 

Show References

You can now review which files have been modified, change access from Read Only to Write access or vise versa and choose which files to reload: 

Reload Options

For more information on the Reload tool refer to the SOLIDWORKS Online Help: Reload Tool: https://help.solidworks.com/2022/english/Solidworks/sldworks/HIDD_FILE_RELOAD_MULTIPLE.htm?rid=139090

Technical Support

If you have any questions or experience unexpected behavior, feel free to reach out to MLC CAD Systems technical support

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