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Project Database Properties

This form allows you to create or modify the Database Connection information which is required for any user to log in to Impact.

The form is accessed from the Environment options > Workstation > Database connections option or the Database connections button on the Database Connect form.

WARNING: You need to be very careful when configuring these settings, otherwise you may find that you can no longer connect to an Impact database.

Project Database Properties - General



Enter a unique name for the database.

TIP: If you choose an ODBC source first, its name is copied into here. It is simpler to manage multiple connections if the Name and ODBC Source name are the same.

Driver Type

From the drop-down list choose ODBC, ODBCDIRECT, ADO or HTTP.

You can find a description of HTTP access to Enterprise databases here.


This is the connection string for the data source.

New (ODBC only)

Press this button to create a new ODBC data source

TIP: Creating a System Data Source guarantees other users accessing the same workstation can share this same configuration, but this does require Windows administrative rights.

Examples (ODBCDIRECT only)

Press the down arrow to view various connection string examples required to set up the parameters for an ODBCDIRECT database connection.

The following examples are valid for Microsoft SQL:

SQL Server Authentication

  • Driver={SQL Server Native Client 11.0};Server=myServerAddress;Database=myDataBase\myInstance;Uid=myUsername;Pwd=myPassword;

Trusted Connection/Windows Authentication

  • Driver={SQL Server Native Client 11.0};Server=myServerAddress;Database=myDataBase\myInstance;Trusted_Connection=yes;

Equivalent key-value pair: "Integrated Security=SSPI" equals "Trusted_Connection=yes"

The ODBCDIRECT option allows you to enter a connection string that will be built dynamically without the need to first define an ODBC connection in the Windows 'ODBC Data Source Administrator'.

Setup (ADO only)

Press this button to set up the parameters for an ADO / OleDB database connection.


Primary Database Connection

If this option is enabled, users can use this connection to log into Impact; otherwise it can only be used for remote connections from the Project Browser. (Normally you would have at least one primary database connection.)

Automatically authenticate with LDAP

If you have LDAP enabled for the database, and if you wish any user on this workstation to automatically login using their network credentials (as opposed to separate Impact credentials) then you should enable this option. Doing so will suppress the Connect signing in form. 

This option will have no effect if there is more than one connection with Primary Database Connection enabled (because it will not be clear to which database the user will connect.). 

Never use configured HTTP proxy

Switch this option on if required.

Project Database Properties - Server

Native Server Login

If the database server requires authentication but does not store this in the connection string or configured data source, enter the User and Password here. Typically, this is needed for ODBC connections.

Database Driver Options

Connection timeout

This is the time a database operation will wait if the server is not responding.

Dead-lock timeout

This is the time a database operation will wait in the case of a dead-lock.

Packet Size

Adjusting the packet size allows for the transfer of large BLOB files. The default value for SQL Server is 4096 bytes, which allows a BLOB of approximately 65MB to be transmitted. The maximum packet size is 32,768, which means that the largest BLOB would be around 500MB.

Automatically reconnect if connection is lost or broken.

If this option is enabled Impact will create a new database connection after a timeout. This is the recommended setting.

Project Database Properties - Advanced

Connection Speed

To use Impact successfully across a slower Wide Area Network (WAN) connection requires some configuration.

Configuring these settings may have significant trade-offs between functionality and speed. You should consider each option carefully, and each is discussed below.

It is recommended that you configure separate Database Operation and Appearance settings to be used for WAN access rather than modifying any existing settings.

Configuration of the Database Connection Properties should be performed before connecting to the WAN database for the first time.

Low Speed Connection

This is the primary option that should be configured for WAN database connections. This option will affect many operations in Impact by caching various items to improve performance.

Specifically the items that are cached or affected are detailed below.

  • Database Setting Files - This option restricts how often database settings files are checked to see if they are up to date. The first time each file is accessed the version in the database is downloaded if required; after that each file is assumed to be up to date for the remainder of the database session.
  • Cached Files - During the database session template and symbol files are cached on the workstation. This means the first time you access these files they are read across the WAN; subsequent access to the same files is much quicker.
  • Cached Folders - The first time any folder is accessed the complete list of all folders is cached for the database session. This means if other users are adding folders they may not be visible to WAN users until they next connect.
    Holding the Shift key down while opening the Browser will force any cached folders to be refreshed. In addition if you create/rename/delete any folders then all folders will be refreshed.
  • Standards Counts - The number of standards within each folder is cached when first determined and used for the remainder of the database session. 
  • Cached Customers - The first time any customer is accessed the complete list of all customers is cached for the database session.
  • Opening Drawings - When using a file database (as opposed to a BLOB database) any drawing files that are opened are first copied onto the workstation. This is because the Windows file copy operations are much more efficient at reading the network file than Impact’s unzipping mechanism which reads the file in chunks.
  • MTS Counts - When running tools that use Master Tool Settings, they often check the number of available settings when first starting or building lists of settings. This can be time-consuming if multiple settings need to be checked or if they are checked regularly. With the Low speed connection option enabled these counts are stored when first read for the duration of the database session.
  • Thumbnail previews - When using a BLOB database this option prevents Impact from ever reading a BLOB drawing file to generate a thumbnail. If you are using a BLOB database over a WAN you should consider using the optional thumbnail columns.
  • Designing standards - When this option is enabled running standards never checks the user's list of working projects. This standards option is normally used by users who are creating standards and want to test those standards before they update them back to the database.
  • Installed standards - The names of all installed standards are cached for the duration of the database session. If new standards are installed while users are connected then these standards will not be excluded when viewing standards from Any new standards will be displayed in the Standards Browser and Design Components toolbox.
  • Last Advanced Query - When this option is enabled no check is made to determine if a lastQuery.ips file is available when checking the enable/disable state of the File -> Browser Query -> Last Query menu. If the menu is selected and no lastQuery.ips file exists then no action is performed.
  • Recent Projects List - Impact normally updates the user’s recent projects list even if the user is not displaying recent projects. This ensures that if the user switches on the recent projects list it is filled with recent projects. 

With this option enabled Impact also displays additional messages in the status bar to inform the user when lengthy operations are being performed. In addition the Save form displays a progress as the initial project is saved.

WARNING: With 'Low speed connection' checked, several operations in Impact also do not occur:-

Users' recent history lists are never updated.
Documents are treated as read-only and cannot be updated; you cannot add new documents either.
The Standards > Options - Check working projects for user running standard option is ignored.
Thumbnail generation does not occur.

If you switch this option on you will be presented with a warning message when selecting Ok.

Cache thumbnails on workstation

Impact displays thumbnails for many items such as Standards, Design Components and Symbols within the Browser, Standards Browser and Design Component toolbox.

These thumbnails are actually stored as a bitmap (.bmp) file within the header of an Impact drawing file (.ipd file), and automatically generated whenever the drawing itself is saved. When using a slower connection these thumbnails must be read from the drawing across the network. 

When using a BLOB database both the ODBC and ADO drivers support a partial BLOB reading mechanism that only reads the first few hundred KB’s from a drawing BLOB. For large drawings of many MB’s this means the complete drawing BLOB is not streamed across the network just to read a thumbnail.

To significantly improve thumbnail performance when using a WAN you should use this option to cache thumbnail .jpg files on the workstation. Each thumbnail .jpg is cached between database sessions and only requires a few KB’s of space for each thumbnail.

This option can be used for all types of databases including file and BLOB databases. It can also be used for databases hosted on the LAN or the WAN. Using on a LAN will reduce the amount of network traffic when users are browsing items in the database.

Cache component files on workstation

This option improves performance by caching often used template, symbol, standard and design component drawing files on the workstation. 

These files are cached on first use and kept between database sessions. This means subsequent access to these component files is significantly improved. Normal project files are not cached on the workstation using this mechanism.

Each drawing file typically requires a few hundred KB’s, so depending on the number of items cached this will require a reasonable amount of disk space. For a WAN this will outweigh the significant amount of network traffic required to read drawing files all the time.

This option can be used with file and BLOB databases. It can also be used for databases hosted on the LAN or the WAN. Using it on a LAN will reduce the amount of network traffic when users are accessing items in the database.

Cache often used internal queries

Impact uses a few database queries many times during a session to access Master Tool Settings. 

Typically opening and using these queries across a WAN takes a few seconds every time they are required. For some tools this can result in a significant delay while being used. 

This option improves performance by keeping some often used database queries allocated and reusing them as required. The advantage is that these queries don’t have to be opened and prepared before each use.

Using this option on a workstation may allocate additional resources on your database server for the duration of the database session. As such you should evaluate the performance gained versus the additional resources required by your database server before using this option.

Check user messages

Impact has an internal messaging system that can be used to deliver messages directly to the desktop of Impact users. If users are connected these messages are displayed immediately, or if they are not currently connected they are displayed when the user next connects.

Impact normally checks for available user messages every 20 seconds by determining if a userMessages.ips file exists. For a WAN this check can result in Impact appearing to be sluggish or unresponsive. 

If you do not intend to use the messaging system or are using a WAN you should increase the duration that Impact checks for user messages.

Remote Connection Options

Do not display items until refresh is pressed

This option affects the operation of the Project Browser

When clicking on folders the list of items within that folder are normally displayed immediately. With this option enabled no items are displayed until the user presses the Refresh button.

Do not display customers list in the browser

This option affects the operation of the Project Browser.

Instead of displaying all customers below the Customer node in the browser tree view the Customer node displays a single Select Customer... node. This enables the user to select a single customer using the Customer Database Window (DBW) to view customer projects.

Group the customers using first letter

The option affects the operation of the Project Browser.

Rather than displaying a large list of customers underneath the Customer node, this option creates a node for each first letter used. Then, underneath each first letter node a list of customers beginning with the letter is displayed.

This option can be used with the Database Operation -> Display -> Customers options.

Project Database Properties - Paths

Specify the following paths by highlighting the item and pressing Change:

BLOB Geometry Cache - location of the cache files.

BLOB Settings Cache - location of the cache files.

Database - location of database configuration files.

Database Projects - normally a sub-folder Drawings of the Database folder.

Graphic Images (optional) - recommended if the users intend to use inserted images (see Graphics).

Help (optional) - recommended repository for this User Guide and other online manuals.

Macros (optional) - recommended if the users intend to run macros (see Notes On Macro Tools ).

Maintenance Logs (mandatory) - log files are created here (see Database Administration).

Reports (optional) - recommended if the users intend to use database reports (see Database Window Items).

Users (mandatory) - normally a sub-folder Users of the Database folder.

TIP: If you set the Database path first, several other paths are automatically set to their usual locations. (They are normally sub-folders of the Database folder.)

Project database Properties - Auto-SQL

You can perform automatic SQL statements when connecting to or disconnecting from a database.


From the drop-down list select either At Connect or At Disconnect.

Enter the required SQL statements in the free-form text box.

Related topics: Impact Options - Workstation Options

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