Talking Vault – 2 Men and a Vault – Part 2

Part 2 of Talking Vault

Comparing Vault to Microsoft Windows Explorer

The challenge

We are using Windows Explorer to compare and contrast with Autodesk Vault, as it is the nearest and most regularly used alternative to Vault. Windows Explorer gives us some information about the files/items; folder structure, files type and when it was saved. But it doesn’t tell you where that item is currently in use and therefore what other drawings and models would change as a result. So, for example, if we were to drill a hole through a part in order to complete another design, but that item is already being used on another assembly, suddenly we have changed potentially numerous other designs that relied on that part to be as it was. Ultimately, changing the other designs.

Therefore, we need to find out where else it is used. If it is a fairly basic change it may not affect all other designs. However, if the design intent is being changed, then knowing that it is used on other assemblies becomes much more important and something a design engineer would want to know about.

Checking that a file isn’t being used in another assembly, using Windows Explorer, creates a lot of extra work, especially if the file isn’t located within the scope of the current project or has been renamed. And it won’t tell you who changed the file and what they changed the file to.

Using Vault

Inventor will tell the user that an assembly is made up of sub-assemblies, which in turn contain numerous components, so it is possible to track the components involved in an assembly within Inventor Professional. However, without Vault there is no indication of where else that component/ assembly has been used previously.

Vault Basic is part of Inventor and it looks after the files for you, but that’s about it. Professional allows access to other areas of the business outside of the drawing office. Vault Professional and Work Group are licensed products and provide users with access to view and manipulate the data, if you have the rights to do so.

So firstly, we need to make Vault aware of the files, checking in, create a drawing and filing it once finished with. The next time this drawing is required a copy is available, a blueprint. By copying these files to Vault we have effectively locked it away and snap-shotted the data at that point in time. The view you get within Vault is very similar to Windows Outlook and similar in terms of navigation/usability.


  • Parts can be linked
  • Without Vault it could take a long time to find where a part is currently being used
  • Every change you make and commit back to Vault sits on top of what was already there, it doesn’t override it
  • It is also useful for ‘what-if’ design scenarios
  • Taking ownership of the file can be done whilst that file is still being used (in read-only mode)
  • The history tab will show us a record of all the changes that have been made.

For more information about Vault and how it could benefit your business contact us.

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