New Feature: Print Stamp

Flatter Files now supports the ability to stamp the PDF when printing. There are three options for the content in the stamp. The first option is to stamp the current date and user name. This will mean anytime you view the printed drawing you will know exactly when it was printed and who printed it. The second option is to stamp custom text that the user enters onto the print. The third option is to include both the current date, user name, and custom text.

To enable the option to stamp your prints, an Administrator must first go to Dashboard > Settings > Company > Print Stamp Settings and enable the option shown in the image below.

Print Stamp Settings

Once enabled, when a user clicks to print the item they will be prompted to ask if they want to stamp the item or not. If you would like, you can make the stamp required for Viewers by enabling the “Require Stamp For Viewers” option. You can also make the stamp required for all users by enabling the “Require Stamp For All Users” option. When creating a stamp, Flatter Files allows you to control exactly where it is placed on the drawing and the size. To control these settings simply click the button titled “Default Settings” which will display the settings shown in the image below.

Print Stamp Settings

Most of the settings control placement, size, color and are self explanatory. The last two settings control the type of print stamp. If you simply want to stamp the date and user name then enable the “Stamp Date and User Name” option. To add custom text then enable the option to “Stamp Custom Text” which will display an optional text input that allows you to define a template for the custom text. For example, if you enter “Job Number:” then the text stamped on the drawing will be “Job Number:” and the additional custom text that they enter. The text entered will also be placed as the label of the prompt to enter the custom text. This is shown in the image below on the left. If the Template Text input is blank, then only what the user enters when prompted will be stamped on the drawing.

Both types of print stamps can be added to the drawing by simply enabling both options. The resulting stamp will have the print date, user name, and custom text entered.

Print Stamp Prompt

The images above show the prompts that will be displayed when a user clicks print. The one of the left asks the user to enter the appropriate text for stamping and the prompt on the right will be shown when only the date and user name are being stamped on the drawing. At any point, the user can control the placement of the stamp by clicking the “Configure” button from within the prompt. This doesn’t allow them to change the type of print stamp but it does allow them to customize how the stamp looks and its location since sometimes different settings may be necessary for specific drawings.

The prompt above won’t be shown if the user is a viewer, the setting to require them to stamp the drawing is enabled, and the stamp type is to only stamp the drawing with date and user name. Basically there is nothing for the user to do so the stamp is simply added without the prompt. Otherwise, if the stamp is not required for viewers then the prompt will always be shown such that it can be skipped if necessary.

Examples of the different stamp types are shown below. If you have any questions or enhancement requests, please contact us at [email protected].


Date and User Name
Print Stamp Result
Custom Text
Print Stamp Result
Custom Text, Date, and User Name
Print Stamp Result

New Feature: My Libraries

Flatter Files now supports user Libraries. On the left side of the web application you should see a new category called “My Libraries.” If you click on that you should see a Library called “My List.” This Library is a user specific Library that no one else can view and provides a useful way for users to create specific lists of items that they need to access. Items can easily be added or removed and multiple user Libraries can be created by each user.

My libraries

To add items to one of your Libraries, simply drag and drop items into it. If you would like to add more than one item at a time, then select all of the items and drag the selection to the Library. To remove items from your Library, select the items you want to remove, right click on one of the items, go to Modify, and click “Remove From Library.”

The “My List” Library can be renamed and additional Libraries can be added. To rename the Library, simply right click on it and click “Edit.” Enter the new name and click Submit. To add additional Libraries, right click and click “Add Library” or “Add Sub Library.” Enter an appropriate name and click Submit.

If you have any questions or enhancement requests, please contact us at [email protected].


Recent Updates

Flatter Files development is continuous and is based on customer feedback. We listen to our customers and then prioritize the development based on the feedback. Thus, if you have any feedback please pass it along. Below is a quick summary of some of the most recent updates that have been added to Flatter Files.

External share access can now be limited based on specific IP addresses. If someone tries to access the shared item from an IP address that isn’t listed then access will be denied. To enter multiple IP addresses separate them using a comma. In addition, you can enter a range using a dash. This will make the shared link significantly more secure but will require you to work with your external suppliers to find out the specific IP address or addresses that they use to connect to the interent. The new setting is shown in the image below.

Copy Result Link

For quite some time, you have been able to link directly to any item in Flatter Files. This makes it quite easy to share a specific item with your colleagues as well as integrate Flatter Files with other software. For example, you might place a link to an item on Flatter Files in an Excel document. Assuming the user has access to that item, then the link will just work. Recently we have updated the internal links to be more flexible such that instead of using the unique Flatter Files link you can instead create a link to an item using a property value. Essentially you can link to any property name and value and assuming an item matches that query it will displayed in the link. The link methodology is shown below:

https://www.flatterfiles.com/v/view?link=YES&prop={name}&val={value}

You simply replace {name} with the property name and {value} with the property value. For example, the link below will return the item with Part Number C-7745621:

https://www.flatterfiles.com/v/view?link=YES&prop=part&val=C-7745621

If you are using SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional or Standard then you can also link to the item using the corresponding PDM ID as shown below:

https://www.flatterfiles.com/v/view?link=YES&prop=pdmID&val=333

The above functionality is just an option to make the links more flexible. The standard method for linking to an item on Flatter Files is to simply right click the item and choose the option to copy the link.

Links can also be created that will display more than one item at a time. There are two options for creating a multiple item link. You can simply select multiple items and then right click, navigate to Copy Link and then choose Selected Items. This will create a unique link for this specific list of items that can then be shared with other users within your companies account.

The second option, is to simply right click a library and click Copy Link. This will create a link directly to the Library right clicked. When a user clicks the link, they will be navigated automatically to the Library. The advantage of the Library link is that as items are added or removed from the Library the resulting link is also automatically updated since the link simply displays the current items in the Library.

Both methods of creating multiple item links are shown below.

Copy Result Link

Match Folder Structure

When uploading content to Flatter Files using the Uploader application, historically the configuration has required that you select a target Library on Flatter Files that the item will be placed in. Over the years a configuration option was added such that you could link specific sub folders to specific Libraries on Flatter Files. This still required you to manually create the Libraries needed on Flatter Files before hand and then manually connect the local folders to the correct Library. For most customers this methodology has proven to be adequate but some would like to simply simulate the local folder structure on Flatter Files. The Uploader has been updated to support this matching. Instead of selecting a specific upload Library or Libraries, you instead set the Upload Library equal to Match Folder Structure. This setting will instruct the Uploader to automatically create the necessary Libraries to match to folder structure of the items being uploaded.

Match Folder Structure

The result is each item uploaded will be placed in a corresponding Library and sub-Libraries that match the location of the folder structure of the item locally. In addition, as items are moved locally the corresponding Libraries will be updated on Flatter Files. Once items have been uploaded to Flatter Files, the items can still be added to additional Libraries just like all other uploaded items.

Local Property Export

Anytime the Uploader application uploads an item to Flatter Files, you can have it save any of the files being uploaded (PDF, STEP, IGES, etc) to a local folder. Now in addition to the files, you can save a XML and/or CSV file containing all of the property data that is being uploaded. A single property file for each uploaded item will be saved. In addition, there is an option to also save a daily summary CSV file containing all of the properties for all of the items uploaded each day. The summary filename takes the form shown below.

UpdateSummary-Year-Month-Day.csv

This automatic property export is quite useful for integrating your content with other software applications. In addition to this automatic export, you can also at any point select items on Flatter Files and click to download the properties for those items into a CSV file.

PDM Shared Paths

If you are uploading content from SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional or Standard, the Uploader application will now record if a file has been shared within PDM to additional locations. Each location is recorded by the Uploader and stored as property data. When viewing the properties for the resulting item there will be an option to view the paths. In addition, all of the paths will be included in the search index such that a search for any of the shared paths will return the item.

PDM Shared Paths

As you can see, it has been a busy few months adding new features and capabilities to Flatter Files. If you have any questions or enhancement requests, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].


PDM Professional Add-in

Flatter Files now includes an add-in for SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional (EPDM) that allows you to view the item on Flatter Files with a single click directly from your PDM Vault.

As shown in the image below, you simply right click any file in PDM Professional. The add-in will then display a “View in Flatter Files” option. Selecting this option will open the appropriate Flatter Files item in your browser. If the item selected is a part or assembly file, then the add-in will attempt to locate the corresponding parent drawing and open it directly in Flatter Files.

Flatter Files PDM Menu

Obviously the majority of your users likely won’t have access to PDM Professional so this add-in won’t impact them, but for Designers, Engineers, Reviewers, and anyone else actively using PDM Professional this provides a very useful shortcut for viewing an item in Flatter Files. For example, if you are designing a part and want to view an existing drawing for reference purposes. This add-in provides a much quicker method to view the drawing versus loading the full drawing in SOLIDWORKS.

Another potential use case is when you decide you want to mark up an item that you are currently viewing in PDM. Simply view the item in Flatter Files and then you can mark the item up right in the browser without any additional software.

Installation

Installing the add-in is quite simple. The latest version of the Flatter Files Uploader application includes the add-in as part of its installation directory. Open the SOLIDWORKS PDM Administration application and log into your vault. Right click on “Add-ins” and select the option “New Add-in…” as shown in the image below.

Flatter Files PDM Menu

This will load a file browser. Browse to the Flatter Files Uploader installation directory (C:\Program Files (x86)\Flatter Files Uploader) and select the file named “FlatterFilesPDMAddIn.dll.” Click “Open” at which point the Add-in information page is displayed as shown in the image below.

Flatter Files PDM Menu

Click “OK” which will cause a warning message regarding add-in updates to be displayed. Click “OK” to dismiss the warning message. At this point, you should now have a new entry under Add-ins called FlatterFilesPDMAddIn. When you return to your vault view in Windows Explorer, right clicking on a file should show the “View in Flatter Files” option. Clicking this option will display the corresponding file or files in Flatter Files. If the file does not yet exist on Flatter Files, then a message indicating that the item does not exist will be shown.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].


Office 365 Single Sign On Tutorial

Flatter Files can be integrated with Office 365 such that users will login to Flatter Files using the same credentials used to login to their Office 365 account. This simplifies the management of passwords for users, improves security, and allows you to give bulk access to user groups in your Office 365 directory without having to manually create each individual user account in Flatter Files. When a new user logs into Flatter Files for the first time using Office 365, all existing Flatter Files Admin accounts will receive an email at which point the Admin can update the users settings as appropriate. If a user is removed from your Office 365 directory they will also automatically no longer be able to access Flatter Files.

This integration is known as Single Sign On which is facilitated by a standard protocol called SAML 2.0. Flatter Files has supported SSO via SAML 2.0 for many years and we have customers that use this implementation with many online identity directories. As Office 365 has become more and more popular, many of our customers without even realizing it can take advantage of the benefits of SSO without any additional software or expense since Office 365 includes Azure Active Directory. Azure Active Directory can be setup to sync with your local Active Directory instance but it can also be used to provide SSO access to Flatter Files as well as any other application that supports the SAML 2.0 protocol.

Flatter Files documentation has included detail SAML configuration details for many years but to make it absolutely as simple as possible to get started, we have now created a detailed tutorial for integrating Single Sign On with Office 365.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].


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