Vault Professional 2024 - Managing PDF Markups

January 12, 2024 Hal Carruthers


Since the introduction in Vault Professional 2018 of utilizing the Vault Job Processor to create PDFs via a Vault Lifecycle state change, I have had multiple requests about using the Vault generated PDFs for review and approval markups. The desired objective is, upon setting the IDW/DWG file to a “Review” state, a PDF would be created and assigned to a unique Lifecycle. Designated users would have permission to markup these documents and store the markups in the Vault. Once the changes have been completed for the IDW/DWG file and it is “Released”, a new PDF is created and assigned to the matching “Released” state and revision character via the Job Processor. This workflow would provide one PDF record that tracks and stores the markup history of the changes made.


In earlier releases of Vault Professional, the Job Processor would not update an edited PDF record with a new PDF file.

To use PDF files as the markup document and retain historical copies in the Vault, the workflow is to create a copy of the PDF file, rename it, mark it up, add it to the Vault and then attach it to the original IDW/DW. This workflow requires multiple manual steps and results in two separate Vault records being maintained for the PDF file, one for the markups and one for the PDFs generated by the Job Processor.


The following outlines a general workflow that has been requested:

A workflow that allows the use of Vault Job Processor to generate PDF files as the IDW/DWG files are set to a “Review” and/or a “Released” states.

When DWF/DWG files are initially set to a “Review” state, a new PDF file is created, assigned a unique category, and set to a corresponding “Review” lifecycle state. During the review stage, copies of the PDF file are submitted to internal and/or external clients for review and approval.  Should there be the need to create markups to document required edits, designated users, such as Project Mangers, can transition the PDF file from the “Review” state to a “Markups” state and check out the PDF file for edits. Completed markups are then checked back into the Vault and appropriate team members are notified of pending changes.

The affected design documents are then updated and resubmitted to “Review” which again triggers the Job Processor to create a new PDF file and assign it to the “Review” state for final approvals.

When the design is finalized and the DWF/DWG files are transitioned to a “Release” state, the Job Processor will be triggered to create new PDF files and assign the corresponding “Release” state and revision character.

When revisions need to be created for released design files, designated users will transition the “Released” PDF to a “Markups” State. During the transition, the Primary revision value will be incremented to the next sequential value. The PDF file will be checked out, marked up, checked back into the Vault and appropriate team members are notified of pending changes.


The following configurations will be required:

PDF Configurations:

Make sure that the option “Sync Lifecycle State and Revision as Source” is active.

Users and Groups

The following users and groups are recommended for this process.

Job Processor – User account for using the Job Processor utility.

Project Mgr – Group of designated users (typically project managers) for reviewing and approving documents and revisions.

Engineering – Group of designated users for creating and editing design documents.

Administrator – Default Vault Administrator account

ADMINS – Group of Vault Administrators

Additional users and groups may be needed to comply with your document management workflows.

Category Creation

Create a custom Category for the PDF files (a copy of the Design Representation category could be used as a starting configuration).

Category Rules

Create a Category Rule to automatically assign the Category “Eng PDF” and its behaviors to the PDF files.

At a minimum this rule should have the following criteria:

Classification is Design Representation

Optional rule criteria to ensure that only PDF files are assigned:

File Name ends with .pdf


Create a unique Lifecycle and assign it to the Eng PDF Category

To support the PDF file setting “Sync Lifecycle State and Revision as Source” make sure that the names of the states for review and released match the state names of the Lifecycle used by the IDW/DWG files in their workflows.

Example of the design document Lifecycle states:

Lifecycle States

  • Initial Creation – This state is used to support the Job Processor’s procedure of initially creating a PDF file in the Vault.
  • Markups – This state is used to support the workflow of creating markups for the review process and for revisions of released documents.
  • ENG Review – This state is used to match the “ENG Review” state found in “ENG Document Release” lifecycle to support the PDF setting “Sync Lifecycle State and Revision as Source”.
  • Released – This state is used to match the “Released” state found in “ENG Document Release” lifecycle to support the PDF setting “Sync Lifecycle State and Revision as Source”.


  • Criteria – no criteria for all states
  • Actions – “Released” to “Markups” enable “Bump Primary Revision”. All other transitions have no Actions assigned.
  • Security – For the Lifecycle State transitions at a minimum only the Vault Administrator, Admins group & Job Processor accounts can transition between each state except for the transitions between “ENG Review” to “Markups” and “Released” to “Markups” which includes the Project Mgr group.

Note: You should adjust the Transition & Security settings to meet your overall document workflow needs and/or policies.


For the Security settings, the Project Manager only needs Modify access to the files in the “Markups” state.

Typical settings:

Category Configurations

Lifecycle – Assign the lifecycle created for PDF Review files.

Revision Schema - To support the “Sync Lifecycle State and Revision as Source” setting, Assign the Revision Schema that matches the schema assigned to your IDW/DWG files.


In the following image you can see the history of the PDF file.

Version 1 – PDF file initially created by the Job Processor

Versions 2 & 3 – Job Processor tasks

Version 4 – State change to markups by user

Version 5 – PDF marked up and checked into Vault

Version 6 – Job Processor creates a new PDF of updated IDW/DWG files for the “Review” state

Version 7 – Job Processor tasks

Version 9 – Job Processor creates a new PDF of “Release” IDW/DWG

Version 10 – User changes state to “Markups” Revision character is bumped

Version 11 - Job Processor creates a new PDF of updated IDW/DWG files for the “Review” state

Version 12 – Job Processor tasks

Version 13 – Job Processor creates a new PDF of revised and released IDW/DWG

About the Author

Hal Carruthers

Manufacturing Applications Expert<br><br>Hal has been working closely with clients since 1997 to develop and deliver integrated solutions utilizing Autodesk products including AutoCAD, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Mechanical, Inventor and Vault. His qualifications range from mechanical design engineering to pre-sales and post-sales consulting for the integration of mechanical software solutions. Hal has over 15 years of mechanical design experience in a variety of industry disciplines. He has worked as a Product Design Engineer to design, develop, fabricate and test new surgical instruments for use in Endoscopic and Open Surgery, specific applications for product use include: vessel ligation, wound closure, endoscopic instrumentation and specialty surgical devices. Hal has been awarded two U.S. Patents for medical devices he developed. Additionally during his tenure, Hal developed and maintained Engineering Documentation and CAD Standards and provided CAD product training and support for all users and new hires.

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