Yes, I know it’s been ages… sorry. Lots going on, and not nearly enough time for the fun stuff like writing. But, this one I felt I needed to share. Something I’ve used before, long ago, but which came up again today and made life a lot easier for myself and a fellow CAD guy in my department.
If you are Using Autodesk® Vault, and if your Vault is anything like mine,… you know how crowded and busy the screens can be. Loads of data, lots of different ways to view it. You can set your different screens up to show different columns, allowing you to view as few or as many properties as you wish. You can also, using the header “Group By Box” (which is present in other programs such as Windows Explorer & Microsoft® Outlook) to have these columns grouped based on other properties. Further, you can create “Custom Views” to sort the resulting view even further, and show only the data in your chosen properties that meet specific criteria. I may do further posts about customizing your screen layouts, and what columns you can view, or on creating custom views on the different pages. I think these are all good topics, and might give me a good excuse to write. But for this post, I want to focus on filters.
A filter is basically a custom view on top of a custom view. It is a good way to take the sorting you already have applied to your data and narrow the results even further. The filters I’m going to discuss can be found throughout Vault, in the upper right corner of any column heading on any screen. If you have Vault Professional these can be used in Project Explorer, Item Master and even in the Change Order List.
Selecting the filter button will bring up a list of every line of data that appears in the selected column. In a large group of files, this could be a huge list. For example, if you select the filter on the column for File Name, every file name in whatever folder you are viewing will be in the list. If you select State, every available file state will be in the list, etc. If you are filtering a column which has only a few choices, or one that displays a date, it is relatively simple to choose which list item you want to filter for. Note that what you select is not what will be removed from the list, but what will remain. So, if I choose a column labeled “Date Checked In”, and filter based on today’s date, I will see only those files checked in today.
For columns where the list is very long, you can create a custom filter where you can set a series of criteria for the the system to use as filters.
Even this list, however, is somewhat limiting. So, what I suggest is to create a filter using whatever choices you have that work best for you from what is available, and then editing the filter. Stay with me…. In the following example, I am trying to find a markup DWF file for one specific change order, in a folder that contains thousands of files for hundreds of change orders over the last 4 years. I want to see only those files that pertain to ECO-000138. Using the custom filter window shown above, I do not have the option of filtering based on a string contained the file name, which would be the easiest. but if I just create any filter, you will see I can change that. So, I choose the option (as shown above) “Is not blank”. I select OK, and the filter is created, and shows up at the bottom of the file list window.
Note in the lower right corner where it says Edit Filter. Select that and you open a window where more filter criteria can be added, and others removed, or modified… without having to create a new filter.
In this window, select the + next to the “And” at the top of the filter list to access additional criteria for filtering your selection.
In this list I can select the “Name” column again, as I did when creating the filter, and you see the list of options is much larger. I’ve highlighted “Contains”, as this is the option I want to use to narrow my list to just the one Change Order. I select that, and fill in the number I want to see. Selecting the “x” next to the original filter criterion, I can delete that and keep only the edited filter list.
On selecting OK, my filter will be applied, my list will show only what I want, and the updated filter will be at the bottom of my file list.
Un-checking the box next to the filter will temporarily turn the filter off, and checking it again, will reapply the filter. Selecting the “x” at the left of the filter will remove it from the file window. Closing Vault and reopening it does not remove the filter, so it should be there the next time you access the file list. Keeping multiple filters in a file window could used as a way of sorting data into commonly viewed groupings, if this is applicable.
So… there you have it, filter your Vault data for easier viewing and fewer headaches.
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