1. ProjectWise Explorer Interface
  2. Check In / Check Out Documents
  3. Creating New Documents
  4. Document Versions
  5. Document Properties
  6. Searching

1. ProjectWise Explorer Interface


The ProjectWise explorer interface is broken up into four primary sections; Toolbar, Datasource Tree, Documents Window, and Preview Pane. Although it may initially appear similar to a traditional Windows Explorer view, you will quickly discover that it works very differently. Many of these differences are explained within the "Understanding ProjectWise" document.

Toolbar Area

The upper most section of the window is home to various buttons and text fields. The most commonly used include the search field, address field and local document organizer.

Datasource Tree

The left pane of the tree presented as a semi-traditional folder navigation tree, similar in many ways to the old Windows Explorer. Most users will only see the Ghafari datasource within the tree; however, some projects may require connecting to other internal or external datasources.

Documents Window

The documents window will display a list of the known document records associated with the selected project, folder, or the results of any executed search query. This is the primary window where you will interact with the document records completing operations such as "Check Out", "Check In", making new version, exporting, copying, and other document related tasks.

Preview Pane

The preview pane displays extended information about items that are currently selected. This includes document, project and folder properties, photo previews and access controls.

Note: The preview pane can be toggled on and off by selecting View > Preview Pane from the top menu bar.


Although many different toolbars exist within ProjectWise only a few are on by default; the Standard toolbar (items 1,2 & 3), the Search toolbar (item 4), the Navigation toolbar (item 5) and the Address toolbar (item 6).

  1. Standard Toolbar - Document Buttons

    • - Launches the new document wizard

    • - Opens the currently selected document

    • - Shows the properties of the selected document
  2. Standard toolbar - Local Document Organizer

    • - Launches the Local Document Organizer, which shows all of the documents you have checked out.
  3. Standard toolbar - View Settings

    • - Changes the display of the documents pane, similar in function to Windows Explorer.
    • Note: The display setting is most useful when viewing folders of images, switching to thumbnail will allow you to quickly browse through many images.
  4. Search toolbar

    • - Will launch either the Search Form or Search Builder.
    • - Quick search bar, just enter text and hit "Enter" to perform a quick full text search.
    • Note: ProjectWise offers very powerful full document and properties text searching. More information can be found in the Search and Sorting page.
  5. Navigation toolbar

    • - Similar to buttons found in Windows Explorer; back, forward, browse up.
  6. Address toolbar

    • - The address bar shows the currently selected document record, project, or folder. Right clicking on the address will allow you to copy links which can be sent through email.

Datasource Tree

The Datasource Tree allows you to navigate the structure of all datasources to which you are connected. Each datasource represents a different ProjectWise network. Within Ghafari, you will typically only have access to one datasource. It will begin with "Ghafari Projects -" and end with the name of your connecting server.

Although somewhat similar, do not confuse datasources with traditional network drives. A datasource is not pointing to a single network resource; rather it points to a complete network of servers that extend beyond any one location.

Documents Folder

The first folder found under any datasource will always be "Documents". This is the location of all document records stored within the document management system and all project-related data.

Within the Documents folder, there are Folder and Project objects. Each is used for different purposes and can be recognized by its unique icon.

Projects are special folders that contain information specific to a project. They carry project-unique information such as Applications, States, Permissions and Saved Searches.
Folders are used to organize information within projects in a manner similar to Windows Explorer. Folders also carry properties such as Permissions, Workflow & States and Storage location.

Other Root Objects

 Custom Folders
Custom folders can be used to collect shortcuts to commonly used folders, projects and documents.
Messages are used to communicate with other ProjectWise users. Messages may also be sent by the system in response to certain events, such as a file update. This functionality is seldom used within Ghafari.
 Saved Searches Folder
Saved Searches are used to store the criteria for a search query. These are often setup by project administrators for easy access to common searches and are found within Projects.

Documents Window

The documents window displays all document records found within the Folder, Project or Saved Search currently selected within the Document Tree. It is up to the user to decide which information is displayed, and which columns are visible. Ghafari has set up a default view for all new users.

  1. Folder ID

    • The Folder ID column displays the Folder or Project's unique ID and is host to two important icons. The first icon indicates your rights to the file. For example, a small pencil icon denotes that you have the ability to check out and edit the file. A pad lock means the file is currently checked out by another user. For additional information on the different icons, see "Working with Files". The second icon shows the application with which the file is associated.
    • Warning! File associations within ProjectWise are very different from traditional Windows associations. Every user must understand these differences and properly manage file associations within projects. For more information on file associations within ProjectWise see "Understanding ProjectWise" and "Working with Applications".
  2. File Name

    • Displays the file name as stored in the document record.
  3. Out to

    • Tells you which user has currently checked out the document.
    • Note: If you request that a user check in a document, you will need to refresh your view to see that it has been checked in. You can refresh your view by pressing F5.
  4. File Updated

    • This displays the update time file attribute when the file was last checked in. This is not the same as the last time the file was checked in and relies somewhat on the unpredictable nature of the Windows file system. It serves as a quick reference. If you need to obtain the real dates and times, consult the Audit Trail.
  5. Version

    • Displays the version of the current file. Within Ghafari, versions are typically tracked using the ProjectWise default of sequential letters. However, users are free to name versions as appropriate for the project.
  6. Description

    • Shows the description field for the document record. All files stored within the primary folders are expected to have descriptions associated with them. Every user, whether the creator of the document or not, is expected to fill in missing descriptions when noticed. Having accurate and meaningful descriptions help to make ProjectWise a powerful tool for Ghafari.
    • Note: Some projects within Ghafari adopt a standard for description that is used to help find documents quickly. The most common is a four letter discipline code.
  7. State

    • Lists the current state of the file. States are used by Ghafari on larger projects with external (non-Ghafari) users and are a way of establishing ownership of individual files to eliminate mistakes of users editing someone else's file.

Icons in the Documents Window

Within the documents window, there are two icons for each document record. The first icon indicates the document's status or permission. The second indicates the document's type or association. The association icon will vary based on the application that will open when the file is double-clicked or opened in some other way.

Status and Permission icons

Icon Description
Read / Write - The pencil icon indicates that the document is checked in, and you have permission to modify the document's properties (Read and Write privileges) and/or you have permission to edit the document's attached file (File Read and File Write privileges).
Read Only - The open book icon indicates that you have read-only access to the document, either because you have neither Write nor File Write privileges for this document, or possibly because the document is a version.
Locked - Document is either checked out, or has been exported, by another user. You can still open this document as read-only.
Checked Out - Document is checked out to you.
Exported - Document has been exported by you.
Final Status of a Document - Someone has set Final Status on this document and it can no longer be edited.

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2. Check In / Check Out Documents

When a team member wants to edit a document, they can check it out of ProjectWise (PW). When they check out a document, it is placed into their working directory on their local C:\ drive and the corresponding PW record is marked accordingly. This places the checked out document at the full disposal of the team member. When a document is checked out, other team members can view the document but they CANNOT make changes to it. At any time when the document is checked out, a team member can update the server copy so other team members can reference the latest information. When the team member is finished with the document, it is checked back into PW.

Local DMS Folder

Creating and understanding the local DMS folder

ProjectWise requires a storage location on your local machine to manage data called the Local DMS Folder. This is where all local data is stored and managed by ProjectWise.

The first time you log into ProjectWise, you will be prompted to create a local DMS folder and establish its location. You may select any location on your local drive to which you have write access. Take note of this location, as this is the directory ProjectWise will use to store data.

Checking Out Documents

To check out a document, the document must be checked in, and you must have permissions for that document (which is represented by a small pencil icon next to the file). Checking out a document downloads a copy of the document to your working directory for you to edit, and also locks the document so that no other user can check it out or export it until you check it back in.

After you check out a document, its icon will change to a check mark . Other users will see a lock icon . Other users can copy out locked documents or open them as read-only. The most common way to check out a document is to double-click the document. This will check out the document and open it in the associated application.

Checking In Checked Out Documents

When a team member is finished with a checked out document, he / she should (save changes if desired) exit the document and then check it into ProjectWise. In most cases, PW will Auto-Prompt the team member for input when a document is closed.

Check In Options:

Check In - Checks the document back into ProjectWise. Any saved changes will now be available to other team members.

Update Server Copy - Updates the server's copy of the document but keeps the file checked out for further editing.

Free - Releases the lock you have on the file without updating the server copy. This should only be used when you have mistakenly saved changes. You will lose any changes to the document when you select free.

Cancel - Does nothing and closes the Check-in dialogue box. You will still have the file checked out and locked.

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3. Creating New Documents

New documents can be created using ProjectWise Explorer. You can import an existing file from the Windows environment or you can copy an existing file from the PW Exp environment. You can also create files directly in ProjectWise from within integrated applications. You should note that all documents contained within a folder must have a unique document name and file name within that folder.

Create a File by Drag-and-Drop

The easiest way to create a new document in ProjectWise Explorer is to "Drag-and-Drop" the file from a local source (such as your desktop) directly into the ProjectWise window. You can drop files to either the Datasource Tree or the Document Window.


If you "Drag-and-Drop" production AutoCAD files with X-References into ProjectWise Explorer, you must re-establish the reference paths. This can be done manually or through the ProjectWise "Scan References and Link Sets" wizard. This is an advanced process and those new to ProjectWise should request assistance.

Create a File by Copy

Another commonly used technique for creating new documents in ProjectWise Explorer is to Copy an existing document located within the ProjectWise environment. Simply right-click on an existing document and select "Copy..." from the menu.

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4. Document Versions

A key feature of ProjectWise is version control, which is the ability to store and manage multiple versions of the same document. Through version control, you can create new documents based on existing documents while preserving the originals. When you create a new version of a document, the original document automatically becomes a read-only document, maintaining the condition it was last in before versioning and protecting it from further modification. Since creating versions retains the original document, you can always go back and review previous versions of a document, or if necessary, you can restore an older version to become the active version of the document.

Below are two views of the same folder, The first does not show the document's versions, while the second does.

Show All Versions Off

Show All Versions On

Controlling Version Display

To toggle versions on and off, select Tools > Options > Settings Tab > Document List > Show All Versions, which is used to control the display of versions in the documents window. When this setting is on, all document versions are shown. When this setting is off, only the active version displays.

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5. Document Properties

ProjectWise stores far more information about documents than a traditional file system. These properties are accessible in a number of different ways from within ProjectWise.

To access properties not shown in the document window you may either view them within the Preview Pane, press the spacebar, or right-click and select "Properties" from the menu.

The Audit Trail

The document audit trail provides you with a list of all activities that have taken place for the selected document. An audit trail record is created as an action takes place. You can view a document's audit trail report by selecting the "Audit Trail" tab on the "Document Properties" dialogue box. You can customize the report, print it or save it to a file.

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6. Searching

From the search toolbar, users can launch one of the search dialogues to create, run and, if necessary, save their search. Users can also use "Quick Search" with its, "Google-like" search field in the Search toolbar. Most users will find that quick search works better and faster than the advanced search tools.

Quick Searches

To perform a quick search simply type your search into the toolbar field and hit enter. This will perform a search based on your current location in the Datasource Tree.

Quick Search Filters

By default, a quick search will search all content, both file / folder properties as well as the text contained within the documents. This behavior can be changed by clicking on the small magnifying glass icon in the search box.

All Content - Will search both document / folder properties, as well as the text within the documents.

Full Text Search - Will search only the text within the documents.

Document and Folder Properties - Will search only the document and folder properties.

Quick Search Locations

By default, a quick search will begin searching in the folder or project currently selected in the Datasource Tree. This can be changed by right-clicking anywhere within the quick search box and setting the desired option in the menu.

Advanced Searches

ProjectWise supports very advanced searching. These searches can be saved and even made public for other users. Users interested in this ability are encouraged to review the help documentation provided with ProjectWise Explorer.

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7. Wrapping Up

You should now be ready to work with ProjectWise. Please do not share your user name. If your company requires additional users, please contact Ghafari. You are responsible for all activity associated with your user name, and sharing login credentials between users is not permitted.

If you have any issues or questions, please contact the Ghafari employee who provided your account information.

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