To unleash the full potential of miniPDM, you can link it to an Access database file. It is a requirement if you want to share settings with multiple users, use the Serial Number Generator and/or if you want to use the Advanced Component Properties but miniPDM can be partially used without it.
You can either create yourself a blank Access file or download one here. The file name does not matter but it is advised to keep an explicit name to not loose the file somewhere in a network drive.
miniPDM will automatically create the necessary tables if the file is blank.
If you don’t intend to use miniPDM in a multi-user environment, you can place the file anywhere in your local drive.
If you plan to use miniPDM with multiple users, you should place it in a network drive in a location where people can read/write on the file.
If you have SolidWorks PDM, don’t place this file in the Vault because you won’t be able to check it in/out on demand for other users to access it.
miniPDM also stores some keys in the registry for versioning and in order to have the Excel add-in and the SolidWorks add-in to communicate with each other.
For the curious, the keys are stored there:
If a new version of miniPDM requires an update of the database structure, the program will also update it.
In the case multiple users use the same database file, if one user updates its miniPDM version, the database will be inaccessible to other users until they also update to the same version to insure consistency of the data.
By design, Access files tend to grow and slower over time, not only because more data is added but also because the information gets fragmented. To resolve this issue, you should run from time to time a tool provided with Access.
In the ribbon, select DATABASE TOOLS and then click on Compact and Repair Database.
Note that this tool can be run only if no one else is connected to the database.