Revision Control from Item Master – Part 2 – Getting Started

Originally Published 9/17/2013

Hey there.  So in Part 1 of this series I gave a rather lengthy overview of all of the different revision table styles I created, with the help of some customization gurus, for placing revisions on my drawings from the Item Master in Autodesk ® Vault Professional 2013.  This time around I thought I’d go into a bit more depth on how I got started on the Vault side, and how I set up the Autodesk ® Inventor table.  Then I’ll do a couple more parts if needed to get into more detail on the Autodesk ® Autocad and Autodesk ® Autocad Electrical tables.

First thing I had to do was to decide what properties I wanted to use to fill in the revision tables.  I decided that a grouping of User Defined Properties, the same grouping I used when I set up the Vault Revision Table, would work for this as well. I had to add these to the Item so that users could edit them when they process a revision through an Engineering Change Order.  To do this, I edited the several Vault Categories I have set up to handle different revision schemes (alpha for proposals, numeric for projects etc).  Under the Vault Settings\Behaviors\Edit and Manage Categories, I clicked the Assign button on each category I wanted to add these to.  A list of available Item properties comes up, and you simply select the ones you want, and click Add.

Assigning Properties to an Item Category

The list of available properties comes from the Property Definitions manager, under Vault Settings\Behavior\Properties.  Properties can be set to associate with Files, Items, Folders, Change Orders or Custom Objects.  The properties I used for my revision tables are associated to Files and Items, though the file mappings are really only used visually in the Project Explorer screen.  It’s the Item mappings that are important.  As you can see I have mapped this property (they are all done the same) to a similarly named custom property on the CAD file in all three systems I use.  The mapping is done in one direction; from Vault to the File, and is set to create the property on the file if it does not already exist.

Mapping Vault Properties

With these settings in place, a user Edits an Item and enters the appropriate information.  For several of these I created a list of values on the property settings to allow for quick selection, but did not set it to enforce this list.  That way a user can enter a name or a description other than those already in the list.  Once the properties are edited and the Item saved, these properties will be pushed out to the Cad file the next time it is checked out from Vault, and Update Properties is run in the Cad application.

Editing the Properties on an Item

Now… onto the Autodesk ® Inventor side.  With the Vault properties set to be updated in my inventor drawings, the next thing was to set up a new Revision Table in Inventor to accept these properties.  I opened my drawing template file and went to Manage\Styles Editor, then scrolled down to Revision Table.

The default revision table in most of my newer drawings was set up to run with the Vault Revision Table.  Using an older ANSI style that was leftover from before the VRT, I created a new style and edited it using the Column Chooser.  Column Chooser brings up a list of all available properties on the drawing you have open.  The chooser dialog box allows you to select these properties and add them to your style, move them up or down, or remove unwanted properties.  If the property you want is not in the list, you can add it using the New Property button.  Make sure you add it using the exact name of the corresponding Vault property.

In my case, I did not want the revision table column headers to be the property names.  These were too long for me. In the editor shown below, to change the column header, simply click in the column name and change it.  The property remains the same, but this is how it will show up on your drawings.

Revision Table Settings in Inventor Styles Manager
Column Chooser Dialog Box

Once all of the columns are selected, set the width of each and set anything else on the page that you want to; fonts, title etc.  After you have modified they style to your heart’s content, make certain that you add it to your Object Defaults.  This step tells Inventor which available style to use for almost everything in your drawings.

Object Defaults Editor

So now the new revision table style is created and set as the default in your drawing template file.  Don’t forget to save at this point!  If you have multiple templates and want to add this style to all of them, you can export the completed style to a .xml file.  Right click on the style and select Export, then point it to a location where you can find it later.  Then, in your next template file, go to Revision Table and hit the Import button at the bottom of the dialog screen.

This is more of the mundane business side of setting this up.  For the truly cool part… you have to refer back to Part 1 of this series, where I detailed the ilogic rule that controls the revision table’s behavior.  Now, after editing the Item in Vault, I run that ilogic rule to lock in any existing rows on my revision table and create a new one.  Then using Update Properties, it magically fills itself in with the current revision information that matches the Item in Vault.

Part 3 and or 4 of this series will go over the creation of the revision tables for Autodesk ® Autocad and Autodesk ® Autocad Electrical.


“Autodesk® screen shots reprinted with the permission of Autodesk, Inc.  Autodesk ® , AutoCAD ® , DWG, the DWG logo, Vault®, Autocad Electrical® and Inventor® are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and other countries.”



CAD Department Supervisor at Powell Fabrication & Manufacturing, Inc. CAD Designer & Detailer specializing in Inventor Tube & Pipe, Frame Generator, Content Center, Vault Professional. Autodesk Expert Elite member. Blogger. AU 2014 Speaker. Husband and father.

Posted in Autodesk Vault, Show All

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