Productivity Enhancements on Windows Explorer Integration for Windchill Desktop Integration 10.2, Part I
In Windchill 10.2 a lot of effort has been made to enhance and simplify the user experience when working with WTDocuments from your Microsoft Windows Desktop.
In this blog I will show you some of the enhancements and how they can significantly simplify your interaction with documents stored in your company’s Windchill system.
Windows Explorer Integration
The PTC Windchill Desktop Integration plugin adds the Windchill Documents system folder to your local environment. You can you use that Windows Explorer Integration to find, open, access and download Windchill documents without the need to open the Windchill web application in a browser.
This will give you a variety of ways to easily access and interact with documents just like they had been stored on your local system:
by double clicking on a file in the Windows Explorer
by using the context (right mouse button) menu on the Windchill node, any context folder or document in the Windows Explorer
by the File > Open dialog of any local application (like Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat…)
But I do not want to miss the (in my opinion) most natural way of interacting with documents in Windows – Drag and Drop.
As working with the Explorer Integration should just feel natural, Drag and Drop capabilities have been integrated and with Windchill 10.2 M010 these have even been enhanced.
Dragging a document file from your local system to a context folder under the Windchill Documents node will trigger one of the following actions (depending on the area where you drop the document):
New Document / New Multiple Documents
The other direction is supported as well:
Grabbing a document from a Windchill context folder and dragging it to your local system or another Windchill context will trigger corresponding actions depending if modifier keys (Shift and / or Ctrl) are applying and the target the document is dropped (possible actions are copy, move, create shortcut…).
Access to Windchill Functionality
Starting with Windchill 10.2 F000, the right-click menu in Windows Explorer includes a wider range of Windchill actions. While in previous releases only actions such as Open and View Information were available, this expanded to the most commonly used actions on the Windchill web application (even multiselect for Check in, Set State… have been implemented in 10.2 M030).
The right mouse button menu is context sensitive and the actions availability will change depending on the object you open it on. Additional restrictions like access permissions, preferences and so on can have impact on the availability of actions.
My personal highlight is the introduction of the Compare Document functionality in the Windows Explorer integration with Windchill 10.2 F000.
Starting Windchill 10.2 F000 (and enhanced in 10.2 M010) the Desktop integration added compare capabilities. But different to the compare functionality available in the Windchill web application this will concentrate less on comparing metadata but more on comparing the content of the documents.
Out of the box Windchill supports Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010 files and had been extended to Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint in Windchill 10.2 M010 (dedicated support matrix below).
Additional file compare tools can be registered based on the file extension in the Windchill Desktop Integration Configuration menu.
There are two different compare actions available:
Compare Document Versions
This will allow you to compare the file content of two different versions of the same document (see screenshot)
This will allow you to compare the content of two different objects, which need to be of the same file type.
This was the first part of my post about productivity enhancements on Windows Explorer Integration.
In the second part I will show you how easy it is to access Windchill Meta data in the Windows Explorer, how this can be adjusted to your needs and how simple it is to find any document with the integrated Windchill search.
If you are in the meantime interested in additional details on the Windchill Explorer Integration, you’ll find further information in the Windchill Help Center.
And as always any questions and comments are appreciated but I definitely would be very interested in your ideas:
What do you think about the enhanced functionality? Which functionality you like best?
For which things do you use the Windows Explorer integration?