Autodesk Vault offers several methods and workflows for finding files, understanding your data, and organizing your work. Let’s take a look at each.
- Basic search – This search essentially searches the file name and all the properties where the “Basic Search” option is turned on in the properties administration area. This can be a very broad search if you use a lot of different properties in Vault. Many people will use this to see if they can start getting some relevant results, and then will use one of the other more advanced search types if the basic search returns too many results.
- Criteria search – This is my preferred search for narrowing down a set of results to just what I am looking for. The criteria search lets you start with a basic search, but then lets you refine the results by entering values for specific properties. As an example, you could search for a document created by a specific user, within the last 6 months, for a specific project, and with the word “collet” in one of the other properties. This should result in a very targeted result, and works well when you remember that you created something a while back, but just can’t remember the file name or where it was saved.
- Advanced search – The advanced search is even more structured than the criteria search. It allows for the same level of refinement for results, but is in a more rigid interface in its own window. There are separate tabs for the basic search, advanced search and options. Unfortunately, the basic and advanced options can’t be combined into a single search like with the criteria search. The big advantage of the advanced search is in the ability to save a “search folder,” which I’ll explain next.
- Search folders – Search folders are saved from the advanced search interface, and allow you to reuse search criteria in a very fast and easy to use manner. When a search is saved as a folder, it shows up in the folder list on the left of the Vault client interface. You can simply pick on one of these search folders to display an updated list of all that search’s results. I commonly use this to display all the files I still have checked out to me. As a manager, this is also a good folder to make sure other users are consistently remembering to check in their files as well.