- Created by Anne Philippi, last modified on 31.03.2023
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Tips & Tricks 2023
After an installation of HELiOS, the Windows context menu has been extended by default by the menu item Save to HELiOS.
This makes it possible to save documents in the HELiOS database in connection with HELiOSScan in this simple way if the automatic transfer did not take place (e.g. by cancelling the document dialogue or due to an error).
Under certain circumstances this feature is not desired. Therefore, as of version 2801 of HELiOS, it is no longer automatically set up during a new installation. If the context menu entry is to be created in the process, you can activate the checkbox Create context menu entry in Windows Explorer for saving files in HELiOS in the General tab of the Extended settings installation step dialogue.
For update installations of older versions, the option is active and can be deactivated at the same point if desired.
In result lists, the column Index up-to-dateness shows you via a symbol whether it is the most recent version index of a HELiOS object. If so, this is marked by a green dot, otherwise by an orange one.
If the column is not currently displayed, you only have to add the attribute Index up-to-dateness (Attribute name: "UI_DocumentNewerIndex" ) via the result list configuration.
When importing the HELiOS standard database with the HELiOS Database Creator, please note that its path on the installation DVD has changed.
As of HELiOS 2023 Service Pack 1, you will find the database there at ...\Databases\en.
Tips & Tricks 2022
If you are working with a HELiOS-MS Office or HELiOS-Outlook interface, you can add file attachments via the HELiOS menu item Attach document when creating an e-mail.
There is another easy way to add a HELiOS document as an attachment to an e-mail, for example if you see it already listed elsewhere, e.g. in a result list of HELiOS Desktop:
Mark the desired document with a right-click and choosePreselect document in the context menu.
In the HELiOS menu of an e-mail in edited mode, below Attach document you will find the further menu item Attach preselected document.
Click on it and the document marked elsewhere will be directly attached to the e-mail.
The file is named with the internal HELiOS file name (stored in the database attribute "HEL_Filename").
As with the new options for attribute mappings when generating file names for exporting files, you can also configure the output file name by means of an attribute mapping when printing neutral formats in files (e.g. when outputting PDFs via the HELiOS Spooler).
When saving SZA files to HELiOS, the HiCAD sheet structure is now also transferred to HELiOS. This contains the number of sheets and for each sheet the sheet type, the sheet number and the sheet name. The sheet structure of SZA documents is displayed in the model structure of the document master and in the revised Print dialogue.
Please note that when HiCAD is started, a message is displayed, informing you that the sheet structures must be added for inventory data. This can only be done with administrator rights. The adding may take longer, but can be interrupted at any time and continued later. This applies to the following HiCAD versions:
- HiCAD 2021: As of Version 2601.6
- HiCAD 2022: As of Version 2702.3
- HiCAD 2023: As of Version 2800.0
As of HELiOS 2023 (V 2800), the new HELiOS Server Monitor is available - a tool with which users can continuously monitor the server applications and will be informed if errors occur:
- Small separate installation for targeted distribution.
- Tray icon with status display and separate notification in case of errors.
- Initially monitoring of the Vault Server and Spooler.
- In addition to basic accessibility of the server application, errors are also displayed at runtime. For the Spooler, these are, e.g., failed jobs in the queue.
The output via the spooler (as of HELiOS 2022 SP1) has been extended by the following formats:
ToPs GEO (*.geo) and
Navisworks (*.nwc and *.nwd)
However, the export as .nwd file is only possible if a licensed version of Navisworks is available on the Spooler server.
With the Navisworks export via the Spooler - as with other formats - the entire model drawing is exported.
The ToPs GEO export only exports sheet developments or developments of sheets that exist in the drawing.
In the Database configuration of the HELiOS Options you will find the new setting Allow assignments of objects to read-only projects.
In principle, further objects can also be added to read-only projects (e.g. by Drag&Drop) if this option is set to Yes (default setting).
To prevent this, you can set No via the pull-down menu. This also prevents the creation or assignment of sub-projects. Editing or object assignments below sub-projects of a read-only project that are not themselves read-only are still possible, however.
To simplify work in different languages with HELiOS, you have the possibility in the Mask Editor to create multilingual text objects and to manage translated texts in a dictionary (as of HELiOS 2021).
On the left in the Mask Editor you will find the tab Dictionary texts.
All text keys that apply to the active mask are displayed here. By clicking on a corresponding text key, you can display all the dictionary texts available in the system and also change them manually by clicking in a field. In doing so, the "default texts" of HELiOS are replaced by your individual adaptations.
When editing existing text elements or creating new ones in masks, you can always work multilingually. To do this, just click on the Use multilingual button for a corresponding text object in the Properties window under Annotation.
When copying and pasting attribute values via the clipboard - also across different applications, e.g. from HELiOS and an ERP system or Microsoft Word - unit categories of (FLOAT) attributes will be considered as follows as of HiCAD 2022 SP2:
- The context menu function Copy attribute value copies a value to the clipboard as it is displayed in the result list. If the corresponding result list column also contains the unit (such as cm or inches), then this is also copied.
- When pasting the value into a target attribute with a different base unit by right-clicking and selecting Paste attribute value, the value will be converted accordingly.
Copying and pasting works according to the "WYSIWYG" principle. The value may not be copied with the highest accuracy. That means: If there is a higher number of decimal places on the side of the source attribute value than are displayed in an attribute field (without unit category) of the result list, then the value is displayed accordingly, rounded up after the decimal point if required.
Pasting a HELiOS source attribute value of 123.456 grams (FLOAT attribute of the category Mass, display unit: g), which is displayed in the corresponding result list field with 2 decimal places "123.46 g", into a field of the category Mass with the display unit kg with 3 decimal places, will be taken as the target attribute value in the corresponding display unit (0.123456 kilograms) and displayed in the result list as "0.123 kg".
Click here for more information.
With the help of HELiOS's derivation functions, existing objects can be used as the basis for new objects. This means that you copy all master data and, if applicable, also links of a HELiOS object into a new object of the same type - with a different name.
From HELiOS 2022 SP2 onwards this can also be applied to project and folder structures. The functions Derive project, without content... or Derive folders, without content... create an exact copy of the corresponding project or folder under a new name. All contents of the object such as sub-structures, linked documents, etc. are taken over if required.
Derive project, without content dialogue
In addition, you have the option of specifically including or excluding individual contents or sub-structures of a project or folder structure in the derivation.
Selection and auto-selection of sub-folders (excerpt)
The selection logic automatically takes hierarchies and dependencies into account. If, for example, when deriving a project, a folder is selected that is assigned to different places in the project tree, then the folder is automatically selected at all corresponding places. Project and folder attributes can be changed before the derivation and the workflow can be selected automatically or individually for the projects/folders.
Workflow selection (excerpt)
Note that folders created via workflow management action lists or containing subfolders created via action lists cannot be derived. Such automatically created folders are therefore directly excluded from the display of the structure tree. In addition, no workflow objects (documents, articles, etc.) are created via action lists for checkmarked folders during derivation.
When working with HELiOS, there are various ways and possibilities to fill in database attributes and corresponding fields of the interface with init values.
For example, you can use the possibility of individual initialisations of fields in masks via the Mask Editor:
Attribute fields can also be initialised with automatically transferred entries during operations such as indexing or derivation, which you can set via the Attribute Editor.
Through corresponding settings in EDBSETUP, attribute fields can also be initialized via action lists.
Therefore, it is important to observe a prioritisation sequence in which already initialized attributes may be overwritten by the automated initialisation of another action.
The following list should be read in such a way that the next step can override the previous one:
Initialisation in the Mask Editor
Initialisation by content of an original object during indexing or derivation, definable in the Attribute Editor
Action list initialisation using EDBSETUP
External initialisation, e.g. through API functions or indirectly from interfaced applications such as HiCAD
Initialisation of certain attributes predefined by HELiOS, e.g. the creation date or the creator of a data record
KST initialisations, if corresponding customer-specific adaptations of HELiOS exist
This means: Manually assigned init values for certain fields in the Mask Editor may be overridden, if a certain automated initialisation is provided in the Attribute Editor for a certain operation where a new object emerges from the original one, or if a certain initialisation is set at a certain workflow step. In turn, a workflow action list from EDBSETUP may also override initialisations through the attribute editor. Attribute mapping with an external application such as HiCAD may overwrite initialisations previously set by HELiOS. While certain data, such as dates set at creation and user credentials, are fixed, changes written to database fields by KST functions can in turn overwrite content initialised by HELiOS.
Since times of more than 30 minutes may occur when processing very large HiCAD .SZA files via the Spooler, the possibility has been created to set the duration for a timeout, i.e. to set when a process in a loop is to be aborted. For this purpose, the switch <timeout_minutes>30</timeout_minutes> is available in the system file AddIn.Hicad.Config.xml (as of HELiOS 2022 SP1).
Updating Inventor drawing views
Autodesk Inventor updates drawing views first after opening a drawing. In previous HELiOS spooler versions, this could result in some views being exported to PDF as raster graphics, as the PDF output started before the update was complete in Inventor.
To improve the quality of the output at this point, you can set a configurable amount of time for HELiOS to wait for any updates to views. This is done via the switches
- <update_drawing_views_after_load> and
in the configuration file AddIn.Inventor.Config.xml.
If HELiOS detects that all views are up to date before the set time period has elapsed, the print or PDF output is carried out earlier.
In HELiOS Desktop and the Multi-CAD interfaces, documents can also be loaded using the Open, with options function, which offers specific options for different file types. For example, documents can be opened with write protection (if they are to be loaded for viewing only and not for editing), additional options can be specified for reduced loading of HiCAD drawings, or attribute updates can be made directly when loading assemblies from Inventor or SOLIDWORKS.
With HELiOS 2022, the function has been significantly extended once again:
- Call via button directly from result lists
- Control of attribute and index updates (if required, deviating from the default settings in the respective interface). This improves performance, especially in situations where documents are only to be opened for viewing.
- In Autodesk Inventor, support for express mode for assemblies and for postponing the update of drawings (performance options).
Please note that the PDF preview in the HELiOS Desktop no longer works with Acrobat Reader DC from Version 2021.011.20039.
As an alternative, we recommend using Foxit Reader. Before installing it, you must uninstall Acrobat Reader DC. You may also have to adjust the configuration file hel_preview.ini if Acrobat Reader was explicitly defined for PDF preview there.6
Tips & Tricks 2021
The new Revision index for model structure function (as of HELiOS 2022) is used to version HELiOS documents or parts and assemblies based on the CAD model structure, as with the New in HELiOS input dialogue or the Derived drawing function.
You can select for each document whether you want to index only this document or whether the link to an article should be taken over or broken up.
You now have the option of setting whether or not the Classification tab should be displayed in the respective search window for documents or articles (or in the combined search window):
In the HELiOS Options dialogue window, open the General tab and, under Find, activate the Show Classification tab in Find document/article dialogue checkbox.
The checkbox is deactivated by default.
When opening locally modified files from the HELiOS Workspace for which a newer version exists on the server, a corresponding message will be displayed. If you click OK in the message window, the local change is discarded and the server state of the file is reloaded and opened. If you click Cancel, the local version from the workspace is opened. If there is a new server version for files that have not been changed locally and are opened from the workspace, the newer server version is automatically loaded.
This is not only the case with the MultiCAD interfaces, but also with other applications coupled with HELiOS, such as Office.
In the Help menu of the HELiOS Desktop and the mask editor you will find the new Upload file into the ISD File Centre... function. With the help of this function you can upload files directly from HELiOS into the ISD File Centre, e.g. in connection with the ISD Support for an already existing support ticket.
Discontinuation of the ISD.PDM.API
Before carrying out a HELiOS update for an older HiCAD version, please note that from HELiOS 2022 omwards, the previous ISD.PDM.API will be discontinued and replaced by the new API from Helios.Interface. If you use customisations that use functionalities from the previous ISD.PDM.API, you must update the customisations to the new API before carrying out the HELiOS update. If you use customisations that use functionalities from the HiCAD API, you should ensure that the HiCAD version used is at least version 2502.5 or 2601.1 or newer. If you are unsure whether you are using corresponding adaptations, please talk to your administrator or contact the ISD in case of doubt.
The HELiOS.Interface API is an API independent of HiCAD with which you can conveniently create, search for or change objects such as Projects, Documents and Articles. Workflow editing can also be facilitated with the API.
Example for creating an article master
var session = HiPDM.PdmClrInterface.Instance.CurrentSession;
var creator = ApiFactory.CreateInstance<Helios.Interface.Actions.Creation.IApiEntityCreator>();
var element = ApiFactory.CreateInstance<Helios.Interface.Attributes.IApiElementDataFactory>();
var objecttyp = ApiFactory.CreateInstance<IApiObjectTypeFactory>();
var defaultValues = new List<Helios.Interface.Attributes.Data.IApiElementData>();
var meta = query.GetDBAttributeMeta(session, "HEL_SACHNUMMER", objecttyp.CreateArticle());
var data = element.CreateStringElementData("Meine Artikelnr", meta);
var wfQuery = ApiFactory.CreateInstance<IApiWorkflowQuery>();
var workflow = wfQuery.TryGetWorkflowFromName(session, objecttyp.CreateArticle(), "Bauteil (R)");
var param = creator.CreateCreateArticleContext(session, null, null, null, defaultValues.ToArray(), workflow);
var result = creator.CreateArticle(param);
Working with the API does not require an additional module, but it does require participation in a training course and programming knowledge.
The formatting for system date attributes can now (as of HELiOS 2021 SP1) be controlled via a new database option. For user-defined date attributes, the setting controls the default display.
As of HELiOS 2021 SP! parts from the clipboard (e.g. by means of CTRL+C) can be placed very efficiently into an assembly by means of a new function. The performance advantage compared to the normal insert function (CTRL+V) is particularly noticeable when inserting a very large number of parts simultaneously.
In addition to being able to draw a frame around elements to visually group them together, you can also insert actual group boxes into masks whose elements behave in a grouped manner.
This also allows, for example, that moving and positioning group boxes affects all associated elements. Elements in a group frame must have been marked for this in each case.
Also, group boxes can contain header icons.
If an SZA file is opened via the Vault Server, which is locked there for writing, then it cannot be saved later either.
When opening such a file, HiCAD displays a corresponding warning message:
If you select Yes, the file will be opened in read mode. If you select No, the opening of the file will be cancelled.
If an attempt is made to save a file opened in read mode, the following message appears:
When deleting articles, their use in HELiOS product structures is checked. If there are articles in product structures whose header is not to be deleted, a CAD relevance check is also carried out for them.
If articles were entered exclusively non-CAD-relevant in product structures (whereby they can be deleted and simultaneously removed from all shoring), you will receive a warning message with the option to confirm a respective deletion for the corresponding articles (and thus also the deletion of all existing shoring in product structures).
The prerequisite is, of course, that the logged-in user has the appropriate authorisation for the process.
As of HELiOS 2021 (Version 2600.0), the following versions of MultiCAD interfaces are no longer supported:
- AutoCAD (Mechanical) 2016 and 2017,
- Inventor 2016 and 2017,
- Navisworks 2016 and 2017,
- SOLIDWORKS 2016 and 2017.
If you use HiCAD in conjunction with HELiOS, the settings for part exchange from the HELiOS Database Options on the HiCAD tab were previously taken into account when exchanging referenced parts. These settings can now be found in the Configuration Editor at System settings > Referencing in the HELiOS section.
For users with a HiCAD version before 2021 SP1 (2601), the Options in HELiOS are still available.
As of HiCAD 2021 the new test Non-BOM-relevant parts with HELiOS article master is available in the Design Checker .
If a model drawing contains parts with article master data, some of which are BOM-relevant and some of which are not, there may be problems when transferring the product structure to HELiOS. With the new test, all parts can be found that have an article master but are not BOM-relevant.
When transferring model drawings with the New in HELiOS function, suppressed parts in SOLIDWORKS are also taken into account.
Suppressed parts are indicated as such and regularly offered for transfer to HELiOS.
Parts which are suppressed by SOLIDWORKS due to missing references are also marked accordingly in the dialogue.
Please note that when transferring parts to HELiOS, their file path changes, as transferred parts are located in the HELiOS workspace directory. This may mean that when suppressions are removed later, the previous file paths can no longer be restored and you have to break up the corresponding references manually in this case.
As of HELiOS 2021, the HELiOS Options dialogues of the different HELiOS interfaces have been standardized. For this purpose, the previous options dialogue from the HELiOS Desktop was extended. In addition, the import and export of options has been extended so that the (new) options from the HELiOS interfaces can also be exchanged between different workplaces or distributed during the installation.
Click here for further information.
The following notes regarding FIG-FGA conversion are irrelevant if HELiOS is used in conjunction with the HELiOS Vault Server.
Since HiCAD 2017 we support FGA as figure format (before that FIG). As of HiCAD/HELiOS 2021 or HELiOS 2021 as an update for HiCAD 2019/2020, we require that all figures stored using HELiOS have previously been converted to the new FGA format. To convert existing 2-D FIG files, the tool Converter_FIG_To_FGA.exe is available in the exe directory of the HiCAD installation.
If there are still unconverted FIG files in the HELiOS document database at the time of the database update to HELiOS 2600.0, you will be informed of the outstanding conversion of these files before the database update. In this case, the conversion must be carried out before or at the latest directly after the update using Converter_FIG_To_FGA.exe.
As of HELiOS 2022 (Version number 2700.0), a 32 Bit installation for HELiOS and the HELiOS Viewer will no longer be available. However, the interface to 32 Bit applications such as Office will still be possible and is not affected by the discontinuation of the 32 Bit installation of HELiOS.
In order to delete objects in the HELiOS, certain conditions must be met (authorization to delete, no active editing, no current export, no old index, no referencing in other structures, etc.). With HELiOS 2020 Sp2 the deletion has been extended as follows:
- When deleting several objects simultaneously, the deletion is done in an optimal order with respect to existing references in model or product structures.
- If objects cannot be deleted, the corresponding causes are collected and displayed in a result dialogue.
Tips & Tricks 2020
If you are working with a HELiOS-MS Office interface, since HELiOS 2020 SP2 an Options dialogue is also available for this, as already known from the HELiOS-MultiCAD interfaces.
In addition to Settings for the Workspace and for Attribute assignments, you can also prevent the HELiOS login dialogue from being shown at each start of an Office application by activating the option Automatic HELiOS login when starting the Office application under Settings for the Documents.
When you start Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Outlook, you are then automatically logged on in this application with the active HELiOS user.
When customizing the HELiOS user interface with the Mask Editor, you can transfer the format of a specific control element to another, or a multiple selection of mask elements, with just a few mouse clicks.To do this, first left-click to select the element whose format is to be applied (this element is shown in a pink frame) and then hold down the CTRL key and select the other element(s) in the active mask to which the format is to be applied (these elements are shown in dark blue frames).
Then, click on Transfer format (in the Formatting function group of the Mask Editor Ribbon) to apply the formatting to all other elements (e.g., background colour, font formatting) of the first selected element.
Please note that this also applies to update installations.
Further information can also be found in the Installation Notes - HELiOS 2020 manual.
To avoid having to switch between keyboard (entering the search criteria) and mouse (initiating the search) when searching for a specific object in the HELiOS Database (Document, Article, Project, Folder, ...), you can also use the F3 key to perform the search.
You must therefore click on Find with the mouse in the corresponding, active search mask, but you can also execute the search using the keyboard with F3 for manually entered criteria.
In the context menu and in the detail window ribbon of a HELiOS document, you will find the new function Open, with options under General .(as of HELiOS 2020).
If the document is an HiCAD drawing file (SZA format), an extended dialogue with additional options for reduced loading appears. This means that you can optionally select how to proceed when loading with isolated points. You can also activate the Open, read-only checkbox in this dialogue if the document should only be loaded for viewing and not for editing.
As of HELiOS 2020 SP1 the documents displayed in the Workspace can now be filtered so that only the directly opened documents are displayed.
If there are many documents that are open at the same time, this makes the Workspace available to you in linked applications clearer.
The identifiers for standard parts and semi-finished products, which HELiOS needs for the recognition of corresponding parts in the Inventor or SOLIDWORKS interface, are stored in the document master as of HELiOS 2020.
The current data management at the document master offers many advantages, because this method of working also allows the management of standard parts without a linked article master, allows the linking of several standard parts with an article master (e.g. for handling older data and for semi-finished product documents) iand also allows for semi-finished products the recognition of parts by the length of a semi-finished product.
- In the context of the update to the 2020 version, the existing identifiers must be migrated.
- Please observe the related notes regarding update installations of the HELiOS interface in the HELiOS Installation guide.
In the context menu and in the detail window ribbon of a HELiOS document, you will find the new function
Open, with options
If the document is an HiCAD drawing file (SZA format), an extended dialogue with additional options for reduced loading appears. This means that you can optionally select how to proceed when loading with isolated points:
With HELiOS 2020 (version 2500) you will find a new Mask Editor on the Admin Tools tab of the HELiOS Desktop, which has been adapted to the latest state of the art with a modern Look & Feel and thus offers some innovations and advantages compared to the previous version.
In addition to a modern Ribbon design, which also supports operation at high resolutions, this has laid the foundation for further expansion of the masks and the Editor in 2020.
Due to the complete revision of the Mask Editor in HELiOS 2020, the previous mask format has been changed from .MSK to .XML. In addition, mask files are now managed outside the installation directory, resulting in some changes in the system architecture that Administrators must consider:
- The masks of older versions (before V 2500.0) that were previously stored in the SYS directory of the installation are automatically converted to the new XML format in case of an update installation and stored at %Programdata%.
- The new masks at %Programdata% should not be overwritten under any circumstances, as these represent the "delivery status", which will be updated by later update installations. If masks are edited and changed with the Mask Editor, you must store and call them at %Appdata%.
In previous versions, existing article masters of semi-finished products were not transferred to HiCAD when inserting attached parts such as Steel Engineering connections, stairs, railings, element installations, profile installations etc.
From HiCAD 2019 onwards this behaviour can be changed via a setting in the Configuration Editor: At PDM > HiCAD-HELiOS Interface you can find the parameter Add semi-finished product article when loading. The ISD default setting is No, i.e. the article master of semi-finished products will not be transferred.
For example, when transferring article masters of semi-finished products from user-defined catalogues, set the parameter to Yes.