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Windchill Desktop Integration Questions


Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

Trying out Windchill Desktop Integration (WDI) for the first time using Windchill 11.0 M030. Am I doing something wrong?



  • I cannot get WDI to show up on the left side of Windows File Explorer like OneDrive or other similar apps. Is there a way to get it to show by default? WDI very hidden otherwise. See attached image.
  • WDI doesn't not show up as an app anywhere in Windows 10 - it's like a hidden install. Searching for Windchill returns no application in Windows.
  • Dragging files in create new documents seems to work well - sub types and require attributes show up (unlike Drop and Drag Windchill in a browser).
  • I'm limited to Promotion Requests or Set State for promoting - no Change Notice or other Windchill change types?
  • Promotion Requests can only be created from 1 document at a time using WDI? Using Windchill in a browser, you can do multiple objects with 1 promotion request.
  • Inserting Windchill Attributes into Excel is very easy. Linking this could Windchill Document templates could be interesting.

Any ideas? Does Windchill 11.1 or 11.2 fix anything?


Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

According to the help documentation, Windchill should've shown up in my Windows Explorer favorites by default but it did not. 

Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

We explored this last month and had similar difficulties. Thankfully we only installed it on one Engineer's computer. We are STILL working on the uninstall, last webex with PTC tech was unsuccessful as their documentation was in error.


I like the idea of integrating documents, but this seems clunky at best.



Windchill 11.0 M030CPS16

Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

Hi guys,


I have been away for a few years with Windchill and now back with Windchill 11.  A week or so, one of the internal implementor was telling me how problematic WDI was to integrate with MS Office file unlike another DB they used internally.  I was surprised as I have used for many years WDI with PDMLink 9 and 10.

We had created document templates with content that had links to attributes (system and business). We mastered the synchronisation and ensuring that the parameters were always updated when someone or something (like a pdf publisher) were download the file of a document which was released (eg you checked it in when the doc is at IN WORK, but then change the state, without a working synchronisation, you'd end up download the file and still see IN WORK).

We were very pleased.


Now in 11 I see a log of people complaining.  Have PTC regressed in this area ?



Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions


It's my humble opinion that Office 365 changes made it more difficult to manage.  I'm not completely clear on that point, but it seems to be at least part of the case.

Windchill 11.0 M030CPS16

Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

The best part about WDI is the ability to link with Windchill parameters and create document templates linked to Windchill attributes. As an admin, I may create document templates in WDI that link to Windchill parameters but then have users use Windchill in a Web Browser because all the little WDI headaches.


I'm sure Office 365 is not helping but there are a lot of little headaches. Here's some more:

  • Linking parameters gets finicky if you assign a parameter in Excel incorrectly and then remove it.
  • As far as I can tell, no way to log in on computer start up. User need to actively navigate to and sign in. Seems like there should be an option to sign in on start up and NOT prompt the user for a password if the password hasn't changed.
  • Common Out of the Box attributes and using your company attributes requires editing an XML file to use within WDI. This should just work without having to edit an XLM file. CS36657
  • Files copied from WDI to your desktop still think they're in WDI.

I'm not sure WDI has gotten worse... It just definitely hasn't kept up with other tools like Microsoft One Drive, etc. so it seems like it's getting worse.

Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

The documentation states DTI is not supported if Office is installed in the cloud.  It has to be installed locally.

Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

Hi Steve,


ahah,  This is going to be a nightmare then.  I wonder what happens to those who have use Office locally and integrated with Windchill and then have moved to O365 because IT has said so....


Thanks for the info.

Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

Hello Chris,


We had to go to Office365 and even though we have the Office components installed locally, we have had nothing but issues.  Along with the need to "update" WDI every time you run a CPS update, we are getting away from it.  I might revisit it for testing once I have upgraded to 11.2.1 but am very hesitant with all the issues we have run into.  For now my users have to use Replace Content on documents.

Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

Yeah.  We had to uninstall it because when you right-click in a Windows Explorer the menu takes 15-30 seconds to show up.

Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

how many other cloud storage apps do you have on your machine? i've seen this be problematic in the past if you have OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox all setup on the machine. i'd be curious to see what happens when you install it on a machine without these apps already installed. 

office365 is all cloud now, but DTI can only be installed on the local office applications. when you're using office cloud apps, you are connected to sharepoint or onedrive as your back end storage system, not windchill. that is why DTI only works on the locally installed office applications. 

DTI was definitely problematic in the WC8-9 era, but was completely rewritten for 10 and improved since then. 

Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

You are quite correct!
We have to turn file sharing off on One Drive so WGM will function, our Office is installed locally and One Drive is there but we don't share on Engineering computers, Google Drive is prohibited here, and our Dropbox is an internal operation.

So many connections one has to be concerned about - ugh.  

🙂  James

Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions


this may explain why in my company they have told me WDI does not work and they are not using it.

This is really a shame because it was a very productive tool. Being able to link the attributes from Windchill into Word and Excel, helped a lot in template creation, reducing human error and simply reduced the number of time one had to write the same information.

I have used it successfully with 9.0 and welcomed the improvement of 10 in another company.

It is a shame than with all the vendors moving into the clouds, we end users, have to end up with less functionalities.

Another example is the main application. Be it SAP, Office or here Windchill.  The on premise is still more powerfull than the cloud version.

It have read somewhere but I cannot recall PSE (Product Structure Explorer) is not available on the cloud. So what do you do if you have developed people and processes to use it and then you migrate Windchill to the cloud ?

Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

That "office365 is all cloud now" caught my attention. It isn't. Why I'm touchy about it is that PTC seems to be confused about this too  🙂

We have O365 Business local Click-to-run installation. Our IT says that's the only option for Business.

Official WDI compatibility matrices say nothing about it being incompatible.

Then there's this:


In March 2019 it said (before that something else, but that I don't have a copy of..).

  • Microsoft Office 365 with a local Microsoft Office Click-to-run installation
    • Supported as of Windchill PDMLink 11.1 M010

Now it says

  • Microsoft Office 365 with a local Microsoft Office Click-to-run installation (ProPlus)
    • Supported as of Windchill PDMLink 11.0 M030 CPS16 and 11.1 M010


Maybe this pushed a fix we need since a year ago to appear in a 11.0 CPS,

but now it says "(ProPlus)". Why, I don't know and don't get answered, but after extensive testing will give it a shot and see how far we can live this time until another MS Office update breaks it. I'm positive we start looking for other means of document management when that happens.


We have document name, number, state etc. mapped from Windchill to Word & Excel templates. Despite the shortcomings mentioned also in this thread WDI would be great when it works, but the reliability just isn't there.


Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

Hi Thanks for this. very informative. Effectively there is ground to be confused....

I'll ask for some test to be done in my company and see if there is a way to enable DTI again.



Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

One has to wonder how long it will be before PTC stops developing DTI and obsoletes it all together.

Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

True! I remember that PTC had some presentation around 4 years ago, where they wanted to sync documents like dropbox. So they are stored locally and if they are being changed on server, they would also being changed locally.

Since this, nothing, and I mean nothing has been changed. I hope, and I really do hope, that PTC will present something new in Windchill 12. Otherwise I'm pretty sure more and more customer will export their documents and stores them in Sharepoint. With Thingworx, PTC has even created a platform to reunite documents and articles... So what is the advantage to store the documents in Windchill (next to the change and release process)? 


Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

Though I detest DTI, we still put a lot of documents in Windchill.  With all the issues we were having with DTI and the fact that every CPS you have to reinstall it, I removed the capability.  I was thinking of seeing if it was improved at all in 11.2.


Being able to create an approval process is a definitely a plus.  Making documents reference documents of wtParts.  The index search functionality.  Once source for engineers to go to.  We are going to start to look at the new functionality of document classification in 11.2.

Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

@BrianToussaint wrote:

... and the fact that every CPS you have to reinstall it ...

I wonder why this is the case.  PTC has figured out how to keep the Windchill Workgroup Manager functioning across multiple CPS versions.  What is it about DTI that requires it to be recut with every CPS?  Maybe it should be unbundled from Windchill and have it's own separate installer, lifecycle, and download (on  Does anyone know which PM owns this?  It would be interesting to get their perspective...

Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

"Being able to create an approval process is a definitely a plus.  Making documents reference documents of wtParts.  The index search functionality.  Once source for engineers to go to."


And one source for all organisation to go to. For example all drawings & specs for an assembly our purchasing used to spend 4 hours to collect from network drives. Now that all specs are wtDoc, go to structure, Add to Package with the appropriate baseline filter and it's 10 min everything in a zip (let's not go into how user friendly that is 😄  ).

It's not only a plus, it's a must.

It's very difficult to understand why effective document management would not be of high priority to maintain & develop in what's supposed to be world class PDM/PLM.


If WDI fails / is scrapped, we'll start updating manually all the id, state, etc, but still have wtDoc. Other solutions, please educate me.


Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

I would also be very disappointed if WDI is discontinued.

OK, there are still bugs but generally it increase productivity and understanding of what a document is vs what a file is.

I have developed processes where a skeleton of a BOM is created which includes auto generation of new parts (when required) with their related new documents. You can quickly then at the beginning of a project measure how much work is to be done before releasing the new structure and put KPI in place. Tasks are assigned to the new objects and people just need to check out, download, enter their value (which is not about creating table, header etc.. with version, number name etc...) and check it back in.

Without the WDI, it would not only take longer but also could be source of mistake


The number of companies I saw where you see Windchill saying Revision D,  the file name v6 and the file Version B,  you clearly do not know what is what.


Come on PTC; you can do better 🙂


Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions

Are there any tricks to managing Windchill Document Templates using WDI? Once I classify the document as a Windchill 'Document Template' it seems to disappear from the WDI making it VERY difficult to prelink the template to the Windchill attributes using WDI.

Re: Windchill Desktop Integration Questions


you find your templates through the navigator tree structure on the left by going to the Product / Organisation / Site and selecting Templates. Note the levels, it's probably not the best option to have templates managed on Product level.


Once there select from the drop-down "Document templates". Then it's like editing any document with WDI, download it and use the Windchill tools in Word or Excel. The functionality to add attributes is "Insert". Once done checkin and enable the latest to be used as template for "New Document from Template".


In theory it's about like that, I just wrote that how I remember it is... It's striking how badly these procedures are documented, ie. it seems there's none from PTC. In PTC University there's a fairly ok course about the basic use of WDI, but nothing about managing templates. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Maybe in some admin documentation I haven't read well enough.


And, there's always something. Last time I dared to touch my templates it looked like I was not able to add attributes to the latest iteration the way I used to. No idea why. Having these experiences I must say I admire what Chris wrote, processes for auto-creation of documents... wow.