EPDM Tech Tip: Hyperlinking to Documents in the Vault

(Note: The links listed are meant to be examples only, and will not work unless you have a vault that mirrors the vault the links were created from.)

There are times when you want to use document links. Perhaps you are sending an email to a colleague.   Maybe you have a master list of specifications and you want to make accessing one of these listed documents a simple click away.

And let’s not forget how we love our desktop shortcuts!

While many features (copy, paste, rename) appear to behave the same way in EPDM as they do in Windows, document linking is an exception. If you want to link directly to a document in the vault, it can be done, but a standard file path isn’t the right path to take.

Standard File Paths (Links that don’t work consistently)

File cabinet clip art showing files, folders and drawerStandard disk storage is like a filing cabinet. If you are looking for a particular document, first you find the right drawer (D:), then you look for a particular folder (‘MyDirectory’), and then possibly a folder within that folder (‘MySubDirectory’), and then you locate your document (‘MyDoc001.txt’). [In some cases, when you have more than one filing cabinet (server) you might need to note that also.]

So a standard link or shortcut to a document looks something like this:

But this does not work in a vault subfolder. This style of path will only access your local cache which will create a variety of behaviors:

  • If the file in cache happens to be the latest, then it will open up
  • If the file in cache is an older file, then the older copy in cache will open up
  • If the file is not in cache, the link will fail to find the document.
  • If any version of the file is in cache, it will open up that file even if the user does not have permission to access that file in the vault! (A possible concern for machines with multiple users sharing the same cache, or if permissions are made more restrictive after a document has been pulled into cache.)

If you want to get the document straight from the vault, you need to reference it differently…

Vault Links (Links that do work)

When you access a file directly from the vault (and you have permission to view that file) you get the following more desirable behaviors:

  • If the file in cache happens to be the latest, then it will open up
  • If the file is not in cache, the latest version of the document will be copied to cache and opened.
  • If the file in cache is an older file, then the user will get the following dialogue box, notifying them that there is a newer version of the file in the vault, and asking if they would like to get the newer version.

SolidWorks EPDM pop up box: there is a newer version of the file than the one you currently have in your cache. Do you want to get the newer version?

But an EPDM vault is not like a filing cabinet.  It is like a bank vault filled with safety deposit boxes. In order to get into the box you want, you need two things:
Small bank vault image

Key on key ring with number 65 tag

Key on key ring with number 14 tag1) Permission from the bank to view the contents of that box
2) The two keys to open it.

If you do not have permission to look in the box, the vault will block your access, even in the file is already in local cache.

SolidWorks Enterprise PDM pop up. An error occurred when trying to open the SolidWorks Enterprise PDM URL. You don't have permission to perform this action.

The keys, once you have them, are used in the link. A vault link looks something like this:


In this example, the vault name is: MyVault
The first key to open the box is the project ID number: 14
The second key is the document ID number:  65

While the format may look a little strange at first, it’s actually quite simple. The biggest challenge is how do you get those keys? Like any other reputable bank, you can get them from the manager of the vault.

Getting and Using Project & Document IDs

The Project ID identifies the folder the document is in. The Document ID identifies the document. You need both to open up the safety deposit box and get the latest copy of the document.

To display the IDs are for a given file or folder, someone with access to the EPDM Administration tool needs to add the ID column to one of your views.

Adding the ID column to a view

Go into the Admin tool and right click on Columns to create a New Column Set.
Enterprise PDM (EPDM) admin tool new column set

Create a new File List column for viewing IDs, and assign it to one of your users or groups (I chose to give it to the Admin user).
Enterprise PDM (EPDM) customizable columns - ID View

Then, when viewing the vault as that user, you will able to see both the IDs for the Project folders and the documents.
Enterprise PDM (EPDM) vault view ID's for users

Enterprise PDM (EPDM) view user ID in vault

Using IDs to create the link

Using the above information, a link to the testing doc links.txt file would look like this:


The vault name, in this example: ACME1
The project ID number, in this example: 50
The document ID number, in this example:  92

Modify the link, replacing the vault name, and the project and document IDs.

Added bonuses

The days of banks giving away toasters with every new account are over, but in addition to hyperlinking directly to your documents, EPDM offers the following hyperlink functionality:

In the vault link you can replace the keyword “open” with the following for these features:
view – opens up the document in the SolidWorks Enterprise PDM Viewer
explorer – opens up the folder that the document resides in
history – opens up the document’s history



9 Responses

  1. Cindy
    April 16, 2015 at 11:30 am | | Reply

    Hi –
    Has anyone had experience with creating hyperlinks from an intranet site to the vault, when the “Show Working Versions” setting is disabled in permissions? It seems that the hyperlink is not able to point to the latest released version visible to the user, only the absolute latest version. I need to have the link work so that the user gets the latest version they have permission to view – any ideas? Or workarounds?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Awais
    February 25, 2014 at 5:43 am | | Reply

    I want to open Folders of ePDM vault as shown above. I tried to open it by specifying ObjectType = 3. Here it shows me “The Folder could not eb found”.

    Can any one please help me on this..

    Thanks in advance !

  3. Ravi
    February 20, 2014 at 1:44 am | | Reply

    Really helpful article.Its nice to find all the info in one place.

    Under Added Bonuses. the syntax must be Explore? as opposed to Explorer?

    Ravi T

  4. Nilesh Desai
    Nilesh Desai
    January 31, 2012 at 11:38 am | | Reply

    Hi Jenn,

    I tried this out on our vault. The ePDM message box says the command “open” is not supported. What could be wrong?
    (2) What is the syntax for other file types (e.g. pdf, docx files) in the vault? Where do you find this info? Which manual this is listed if you know?

    Nilesh Desai
    Westcor – A division of Vicor

  5. John
    January 31, 2012 at 11:11 am | | Reply

    Hi Jenn,

    I tried this out on our vault. Our installation has four remote sites and a file count that is over 300,000. For us, a link will look something like this:
    I wouldn’t want to have to read off the ID’s and type them in correctly, especially if it is a bunch of files. Is there a way to copy and paste that you have found?

    John Whiteside
    Garmin Int’l

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