Daily workflow with Workbench

After you've  got your projects into your Workbench account and invited your team, you're ready to use GrabCAD to collaborate.

In this article we will cover:


Using previous versions of a file

When you save a new version of a file, this typically overwrites the last version you had saved, with no way to recover a version from the past. When your files are in sync with GrabCAD Workbench, you never lose an old version. You can view, download, and restore any version of a file that has been uploaded to the project. Here's how:

When you make changes to your files, there is no reason to change their names to mark them as the latest design. Simply save them with "Save" then upload your changes to the Workbench project.  To view old versions, click "Open Project" to go to the Workbench project online.

While viewing the file click on the blue or purple box next to the file name to bring up the version history

  • View - opens the old version of the file in the viewer
  • Restore - creates a new version that is a copy of the old version 
  • Download - begins the download of the old file into your browser's default downloads location
  • Mark As Revision - Marks the older version as a revision. You can also include assembly components. 
  • Add to Partner Space - Adds the older version to a selected Partner Space. You can also include assembly components.

In the picture above, one can see that Roger, while viewing V3, restored V2. This created V4 as a copy of V2. The team will receive the update on their Desktop Apps and download V4. 

You can also look at a 3D comparison between versions of a file by using the Compare tool in the top of the viewer.

Pro/E and Creo Version Handling

GrabCAD accounts for Pro/E and Creo file's automatic version handling by renaming the file to have ".1" after the file extension. This way, each time you upload a new file to GrabCAD it is the new "latest" version. Previous versions are available in the version history window as above.


When your assembly is ready to go to the next phase, you can mark the assembly and all its components as a revision. Use "Mark as Revision" from the File Options menu.

Revisions are a label applied to a specific version of a file. They do not create new versions or change the file in any way. You can also use the Mark As Revision option to update new versions to Partner Spaces if they are already in the Partner Space, as shown above. 

Using the version history, you can also mark a revision on an older version of a file. 

Note: Marking a revision on GrabCAD does not update the revision in the title block of your drawings or in the metadata of your files. 


What are locks?

Locks are a file status that lets the team know you are working on a file. Lock status is shown in the Workbench project online. The statuses are:

  • Unlocked
  • Locked by you - shown by a gold lock symbol
  • Locked by a teammate - shown by a gray lock symbol

Although another user on the project can download, open, or save a new version of the file, the other user will be prompted to unlock the file first if they try to upload a new version. See  more about unlocking a file

Locking for SolidWorks users

Using the Workbench Desktop App add-in for SolidWorks, you can do everything you need to from within SolidWorks

Let's say you're working on one part within an assembly. When you open SolidWorks, select the project in the GrabCAD add-in and click on "Local Folder" to bring you to the list of files.
To let your teammates know you're working on the file, lock the file from the Command Manager ribbon. 
If one of your teammates also has this file open they will see a notification: 

When you are done working, save your changes and unlock the file. 
The add-in will show you have changes to upload. Upload your new versions using the right-side add-in tab. 

If your coworkers have an assembly open that references your part, they will get a notification that a new version is available. They can click to load the new version of your files into their window.

If you need to release files to partners, restore an old version, or comment on a file, click on the Workbench cloud button to go to the project in your browser.

Locking for other CAD systems

Uploading and downloading take place from within the Desktop App. File locking is accomplished via the web interface.

To see which files your team is working on, check out the list of files in the Workbench project. Click on "Open Project" from the Desktop App to go straight there. Check the lock status of the file you want to work on, and if it is unlocked, lock it by clicking on the lock or by right clicking on the file. You can lock an assembly along with its components, however components in a  Common Parts Library project cannot be locked in this way.

Go to your project folder on your computer by clicking "Open Folder" in the Desktop App and open the file you want to work on.
When you're done editing the file, save it and upload your new version using the Desktop App
Click on "Open Project" and unlock the file from Workbench online by clicking the lock icon or by right clicking on the file.

Unlocking a locked file

If you need to work on a file that is locked by a teammate, you can unlock that file in either the Desktop App or the Workbench project online. This is useful if a team member leaves a project or goes on vacation.

  • When you unlock a file that was locked by someone else, you will have to add a message to the project stating why: 
  • The whole team will receive a notification about this comment

This keeps the team moving forward while promoting responsible behavior and full transparency without the need for an IT administrator to get involved.

You can also unlock a file after saving a new version using the Desktop App by clicking the red lock icon:

Resolving file conflicts

When your team is not properly using file locking, there can be conflicts between your local files and the files in the project on Workbench. Conflicts occur when:

  • You modify a file and save it without first downloading the latest version
  • Your teammate uploads a new version of a file you are working on before you upload your changes
  • You accidentally save a new version of a file a coworker has updated to the project

Conflicts are resolved from the desktop app download panel: 

You have to choose what to do with the conflicting versions in either the Download or Upload screens. The red text underneath the files explains what is happening when you select or conflict file or not. 

In order to decide which version you want to keep, hit "Open Project" on the Desktop App to view the conflicting file on Workbench. The best way to avoid conflicts is to lock files when you are working on them.

Note: if you are unsure which version is more important, it is safer to upload your version. You can always restore an old version on Workbench, but if you overwrite your local file you may permanently lose work. 

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