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Working Remotely With Design Master

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

Q: I am going to be working remotely on Design Master projects that involve multiple users. What remote setup can my company use that will ensure the integrity of our project files?

A: If you use Electrical for Revit, you have nothing to worry about. Design Master data within the project will sync the same way as other Revit data. When working on your one-line diagram drawing and database, follow the information below.

If you use our AutoCAD software, we have three solutions based upon our experiences and those of our customers, which are detailed below.

WARNING: You can use a cloud-based service to store project files, but do not attempt to synchronize them. The sync process will corrupt your project database.

Method 1: Remote Desktop

Our recommendation is to keep all work computers and servers at the office and access them from your home computer using a remote desktop program. This way, there is no change in the network infrastructure and files will be maintained the same as if you were still at the office.

For a free remote desktop solution, some customers have reported success with the Chrome Remote Desktop app.

We also recommend TeamViewer, a subscription service that we use to both work remotely and offer remote support to customers.

Method 2: Virtual Private Network (VPN)

You can set up a VPN to access your office network from home.

We cannot guarantee success with this method or advise you on how to implement it. Some customers have used it successfully, while others had persistent corruption issues. You will need to try it for yourself to see if it will work for your company. Attempt this method at your own risk.

Method 3: Merge Project

If you’re using Design Master Electrical, HVAC, or Plumbing, you can use our Merge Project command to sync the project files.

Using this method, everyone works on a local copy of the project, with one person’s copy designated as the “master project.” That person can then use the Merge Project command from the master project to pull in the work everyone else has done:

Here are some tips to minimize problems when using this method:

  • Each person needs to work in a separate drawing of the project. Each drawing is merged to the master project in its entirety; if you have two versions of the same drawing, only one set of changes can be carried over.
  • Only make changes to non-drawing-specific properties in the master project. Examples include but are not limited to:
    • Adding, removing, or modifying device definitions in the project schedule.
    • Modifying distribution equipment definitions.
    • Changing project options, including sizing criteria for conduits, wires, ducts, pipes, etc.
  • Communicate with your team members, especially about work that can affect what they’re doing. One example is when circuiting devices in Design Master Electrical. While the Merge Project command can help resolve conflicts if different sets of devices are connected to the same circuits, it is often easier to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place.

Merging is a delicate process, which is why we create a backup whenever you run the command. If something goes wrong during the merge, you can restore the project using the steps in our Restoring a Database From a Backup article.

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