Workflow, States, and Revisions

A workflow is a business process that defines the stages for revising a document. Each process stage is a workflow state.

Items and files can be part of the same workflow or have separate workflows.

To simplify managing workflows with both items and files, Item Explorer lets you increment revision numbers and initiate state changes for both items and files.

States describe the status of an item or file. For example, in the default workflow, you can change the state of an item to Waiting for approval to indicate it is ready for review.

You move items and files from one state to another by selecting a transition. The workflow specifies the transitions that are allowed from one workflow state to another. For example, in the default workflow, there are two available transitions for the Under Editing state:
  • Submit for approval leads to the Waiting for approval state.
  • No approval required leads to the Approved state.

A revision number identifies an approved version of an item or file. In the default workflow, a document receives a revision number automatically when the document changes to the Approved state. You can also increment revision numbers manually.

Changing the state of an item or file can automatically trigger notifications and export actions depending on how your administrator configured the workflow. For example, the state change to Waiting for approval can trigger review notifications to one or more users. Changing the state of an item to Approved can automatically trigger an export rule that converts the item BOM to XML for distribution to an ERP system.

An administrator configures workflows (state names, transitions, and transition actions such as notifications) from the Administration tool. See SOLIDWORKS PDM Administration Tool Help.

There are three types of workflow transitions:

  • Normal - A file changes state when one user runs the transition.
  • Parallel - A specific number of users must approve the transition before the file changes state.
  • Automatic - The workflow design automatically moves files to another state without requiring user action.