Autodesk Vault has many features, we have already discussed what Vault is, and the products it interfaces with, today we are going to introduce you to the basics of what it can do. We’ve already told you it is a data management tool, a place to store your data, and it is a client-server application, so today’s question is what can you do with that data once it is there.
The basics of Vault are version control, check-in, check-out, file associations, view/preview your files and simple/advanced searches to locate files. You can even rename one or more files if needed.
Version Control examines file versions and uses thumbnail images to track and visualize the historical progression of the files in the vault. Vault maintains accurate file relationships throughout the history of the design. For example, there could be multiple drawing and part files for a single drawing or assembly to be complete. When looking at that drawing they must all be accessed together so Vault tracks this information and the relationships, making them available whenever they are needed. Add to this that these parts can be edited separately and the complexity becomes daunting. Vault will track all of that for you. It will maintain not only the current version but past versions of the drawings. Vault also manages Work in Progress data or file iterations as the design changes through the design cycle and tracks those relationships.
Check In / Check Out reserves files for edit, and then users upload changes to create a new version in the vault. The Check In and Check Out command facilitates the creation of new versions in the vault. One of the core functions of the Check Out command is its ability to reserve files to a specific user. When checked out the files are moved to a working folder, which is a location on the local hard drive, of the user checking out the file. This allows confidence that the files that a user is working on will not be edited or changed by other users while it is checked out even if they are not currently open in the editing application. This fundamental ability minimizes the risk of overwriting someone’s work. After the file, has been edited, and the design changes are completed, the ‘owner’ uses the Check In command to make the changes available to other users. Checking a file into the vault uploads the local copy and removes the reservation on that file. It stores the edited file as the new version of the file in vault – however you can always retrieve a copy of an older version at any time.
Vault Client – When you select a file in Vault there are several tabs; The Uses tab allows you to examine the files child relationships, and know what it using. While the Where Used tab allows you to examine the Parent relationships, and know what is using the file or what it is used by. The Preview tab allows you to view any version or revision of the file that has a visualization attachment.
Property Indexing – Indexing refers to the way data is extracted from the files when they are checked into the vault. The indexing process captures file property values and catalogs them for faster searches. Additionally, the vault is also able to index content from Microsoft Office and other documents.
Advanced Searching – Perform a simple string search or use advanced criteria and save it as a search folder. This allows you to search for items with specific property values or with specific information contained in the documents.
Attachments – A way to manually create file associations and link specific file version together. This can be anything from a design specification to an ECO for an assembly to something less design-specific like a work order. This allows you to create relationships between files and keep important design information linked together.
Renaming a File – Rename one of more files and automatically repair references in parent files.
Vault is a diverse and powerful product. This has covered some of the basic functions. Stay tuned for a future article to cover more advanced features.
Autodesk DBA / Specialist