To Duplicate or Not To Duplicate, That Is The Question
When configuring PDM Professional for use we are often asked by customers, “Can we have duplicate file names in the vault?” And in most cases the answer is yes you can have duplicate file names in the vault, but we recommend against allowing it. There are three options in controlling duplicate file names in PDM Professional. The first and most often used is the Do not allow duplicate file names in the vault. It is pretty obvious this does exactly as it states.
PDM will not allow files to be added to the vault where a file already exists with that name.
The opposite is true of the inverse option, Allow duplicate file names in the vault. This option is basically saying you can add as many duplicates as you like of any file type.
But is there a happy medium where only certain files can be named exactly as other in the vault? I have run across examples where this can be useful and not force a change to an existing process and naming convention. Most often when dealing with non-SolidWorks files that may have relationships that are repeated within data sets that are defined by the name applied to a file.
The third duplicate file name option gives companies the leeway to allow some duplication of file names.
This option is labeled Do not allow duplicate file names of files with these extensions. The administrator can determine the files types by listing them which files will not allow duplicates. So inversely those file extensions not in the list can have duplicate file names somewhere in the vault.
This option can be useful but it is important to note that this is an exception rule and will likely cause issues if the vault is ever set to the second option (disallowing duplicates) somewhere down the road.
An example of how this might work: if you leave off this list all Excel file extensions then Excel files that appear in the vault could have duplicate names if that was a requirement. All files in the list could not have duplicate names, for example any SolidWorks files by listing sldasm, sldprt, slddrw, etc. Note in this list no periods or wildcards are used. List each extension separately on a separate line.
Also note that all the standard Windows conventions with respect to file names still apply. You cannot, for example, have the same file name used in the same directory. File names along with their total path cannot have more than 260 characters in it. So keep this in mind if you do allow duplicate names. Depth of folders (extend paths) can lead to issues down the road. Getting out under file names that are too long can be dicey and problematic especially where automated tools are used.
To find these options in the Administration tool you need to right click the File Types icon in the Admin tool and select Duplicate file name settings.
CAPINC still recommends that duplicate file names be disallowed in PDM vaults. We strongly suggest leveraging the power of metadata to mitigate issues with file naming conventions. However, we recognize that there are situations where allowing duplicate names is a necessary requirement and that this third duplicate names option could be just the ticket.