Viewer Video

Flatter Files provides a platform for publishing all of your organizations important drawings and documents to everyone within your organization such that communication is greatly improved.  The following video demonstrates how to find and view drawings and documents using the Flatter Files web application.

Uploader Application

The Flatter Files Uploader application is one of the key components to Flatter Files.  The uploader can be installed on multiple computers.  You configure the application by selecting which file types you would like to upload and which folders should be uploaded.   In addition, you select when the uploads should occur.

The uploader application is a windows only application that has a minimal user interface.  The entire menu is accessed at all times through the task bar.  The menu that appears once you have logged in is shown below:

The uploader uses the CAD or document programs installed on the same computer to create the appropriate PDF that will be uploaded to Flatter Files.  For example, this means that .dwg files can only be uploaded if the appropriate version of AutoCAD needed to access those files exists on that same computer.  This applies to all of the currently supported file types:

File Type
Program Required
.dwg, .dxf
.sldrw, .drw
.doc, .docx
.ppt, .pptx

As you can see, multiple file types and programs are supported.  More will be added as needed.  If you are a potential customer and would like support for an additional program and file type, please email [email protected].

Each folder that you add to the upload list, must contain at least one file type that will be uploaded.  The folder can contain multiple file types if necessary.  All subfolders will be included in the upload unless the folder is named "oldversions."  If you select a file type for the folder and the appropriate program cannot be found on the same computer (or an appropriate license isn't available) then those files will be skipped during the upload.

AutoCAD files contain an additional step.  If you are familiar with AutoCAD you will understand that you can print different layouts and/or model space.  Therefore, the uploader application will ask you to specify what you would like to use to create the uploaded item.  This can be separately configured for each folder such that if the settings are different for different files then simply separate the files into different folders.

Once the folders are configured, you must select when the uploads should occur.  There are three options:

1.  Watch the folders and anytime a change occurs to the files, automatically upload the change.  This is not recommended if you are using a computer that is also being used to perform other tasks.

2.  Uploads should occur on a regular schedule.  For example every hour or every 4 hours.

3.  Manually tell the application when uploads should occur.  Once the application is running, you simple navigate to the menu and select "Start" anytime you want an upload to occur.

So what does the uploader do exactly?

First, it looks at all of the files in your configured upload folders and determines which have changed since the last upload.  If the file has changed, it creates a temporary PDF using the appropriate program for that file type and uploads the PDF along with file to Flatter Files.  It also looks for any property data associated with the file and uploads it as well.  If the CAD package is a 3D modeling package (Inventor, SolidWorks) then it also uploads the associated assembly data and appropriate model files.

The result of the uploader application is that thousands of drawing and documents can be uploaded automatically and they can be kept completely up to date with nearly zero effort once properly configured.

What does the uploader not do?

The uploader does not modify your drawings or documents on your computer in any way.  This means that if you delete an item from Flatter Files using the web application, the uploader does NOT also delete it from your computer.

Preview Images

A big part of Flatter Files is just making it easier to find the drawings you need.  Many times you aren't sure about the part number or description but if you see the drawing then you know whether it is the correct drawing or not.  To help make this process of locating the drawing even easier Flatter Files now includes preview images.  These are small thumbnails of the first page of the drawing/document/assembly that are displayed along the right side of the library.

The preview image for the item that is currently selected is full brightness, while the other preview images are semi transparent such that it is easy to identify the correct preview.  By scrolling to and selecting any item in the regular property view, the appropriate preview image will be displayed.  In addition, you can scroll through the preview images and by selecting any preview image the appropriate item in the property library is located and selected.   Once you have located the item you are interested in, you simply double click the item and it will be displayed in the full pdf viewer as usual.

When you search for a drawing the preview images are also updated to only include previews for the resulting items that matched the search.  This is really convenient when searching by description and a handful of items are returned.  Instead of having to double click on each item and view it to determine if it is the correct item you can simply scroll through the previews to quickly find the item you are looking for.

Preview images are just another way that Flatter Files greatly improves searching for and locating the drawings you need.

Documents & Attachments

Flatter Files now supports documents.  Documents can be specifications, procedures, reports, manuals, presentations or any other type of document that you would like to store on Flatter Files.

Once a document has been uploaded, it can be attached to a drawing or a drawing can be attached to a document.  Documents function in exactly the same manner as a drawing.  Just like with a drawing, documents are checked in and out, revisions are saved, and documents can be placed into Assemblies.

As you can see in the image below.  A new category called Documents has been added to the Library.  The document library is searchable in the same manner as the drawing library.

Documents can be uploaded both manually or automatically.  Either way, you simply select to upload documents instead of drawings.  As with drawings, if you manually upload documents then only PDF files can be uploaded.  If using the Flatter Files Uploader then both Word and PowerPoint documents can be uploaded along with any of the drawing file formats currently supported by the Uploader.

Each drawing or document can contain attachments.  A drawing can have documents attached to it and documents can have drawings attached to it.  Attachments have been added to the right click menu.  The current attachments are listed along with the ability to add or delete the attachments.  The new right click menu is shown in the image below.

When viewing a drawing or document a new option for attachments now exists in the menu bar.  If you click the attachment button a view will appear that displays the corresponding attachments for the item being viewed.  If you click on an attachment item, it will then be displayed in the viewer.

With this update, Flatter Files is now even more capable of providing a comprehensive document control solution for companies.  All of your documents everywhere you go, easily searchable, always up to date, and externally sharable via link. 

iPad Application

Flatter Files now also includes an iPad application to go along with the iPhone application.  As with the iPhone App, it is not yet in the App Store but our private beta testers can use the application.  This app takes advantage of the larger screen but the functionality is the same as the iPhone.

Viewing a drawing on an iPad is a great experience.

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