Comparing two large BOMs in Innovator is pain. I want a better compare tool that is not the Structure Browser !!!

Hi community,

I like Innovator, but there is one feature that I miss since years. A proper compare tool!! Comparing is an ESSENTIAL daily task when working BOMs (or similar) data. Innovator offers a couple of options (red line mode, structure browser), but they only are of little help.

Obstacles when using the current structure browser:

1. It compares everything, even ItemTypes you don´t need (OOTB behavior, this one is customizable)
2. It cannot compare quantities
3. It cannot show you "just the difference" between two BOMs
4. It cannot compare EBOM to MBOM (this one is harder so solve and MPP offers us alternative views so I see it as 'nice-to-have' feature)

The following image shows my real-life experience with a large BOM. Notice that I already customized the structure browser, like using custom Part renderings to include the name. But as you can see, the tool is still pretty much useless. 

Does anyone know a better compare options? I see multiple solutions:

1. Use something custom for comparing BOMs
2. Improve the existing tool
3. Aras provides something completely new. The sad truth is: Aras already HAS (!) a better compare tool. But it´s only available for a few large accounts. Even when I was a regular subscriber, the tool was completely out of reach.

Does any one has another idea or already uses a better compare tool?

My 2022th goal was to get a bug fix for this one: This issue should be solved with Innovator 23.
Due to this post I discovered a new innovative way to bring ideas to the roadmap. With perseverance and tenacity! So this is my new big project: I want a better compare tool in Innovator in 2023 (or earlier)!

Any help to get a better compare option is highly appreciated!!! 

Best regards!


  • Commented for better reach. 

    Some additional reasons why we need this feature -> Supplier collaboration! Aras talked a lot about this topic in the past webinars. And I agree! Using Innovator for suppliers collaboration has a lot of benefits. It helps to transfer accurate and up-to-date data and reduce emails communication. 

    So since a while I use Innovator to share BOM information and other data with suppliers. User´s like the platform and it does the job well! I spent a lot of time to make it a easy-to-use Innovator instance. It serves a lot of topics (not just BOM management) and is a nice reference instance for the flexibility of Innovator.
    But each single time when I introduce new suppliers to the platform, at a certain moment I will receive this question: "When you send us new data, how can I compare this data to the previous versions?"

    And I am always embarrassed to answer this question cause the only answer is: There a few ways and none of them works great. 

    But don´t worry, people of course found a solution! Some of them download the data or create Excel reports and use "Beyond Compare" to make a differential view.

    Of course this works, but it hurts my PLM soul! We all want to get rid of Excel and Zip files transferred by email. Users should not be forced to leave the Innovator client to get some specific information. But without proper compare tool, Aras forces user back to use "file folders" and "Excel" just by design! 

  • I think it will help Aras if I post some inspiring images. 

    This is how a randomly chosen other PLM vendor solves comparing:

    Note the hint for "EASILY see quantity changes." 

  • I agree the built in redline mode and structure browser are lacking and ultimately slow down the peer review process. It forced us to develop an excel solution where we have to copy and paste the BOMs from a SQL Server Reporting Services Report. While this works, it is a band-aid solution and the solution should exist within Aras.

  • In the first post 10 month ago I said that I want a better compare tool in 2023. And I will get my compare tool in 2023.

    But we actually forgot the purpose of this community section -> working together to solve stuff. Aras will probably need 347+ steering committee board meetings until they finally decide to bring the topic to the roadmap for Innovator 717.

    I don´t want to wait that long. Let´s build our own tool! And we don´t even have to start from the scratch. I discovered this project on GitHub:

    It´s a compare tool for Innovator! Don't let the looks fool you. The project was written against Innovator 11 so it has the iconic Innovator 11 design vibes that will burn your eyes. But in general the project still works, even in latest Innovator versions.

    I am right now playing around with the project and test a few enhancement ideas. E.g. design update to Innovator 12+, multilevel-support and alternative ways to display the compare view (full screen instead of relationship).

    Maybe somebody else has further ideas? 



    Anyone who is interested in this topic, please also click "I have this question too" in the top right corner. Maybe it helps to highlight the topic a bit.