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.

New Video


When using a solid modeling CAD package such as Autodesk Inventor or SolidWorks, Flatter Files is able to automatically create all of your assemblies using the model data.  This saves an enormous amount of time and has become the most popular feature of our private beta testers.   Up to this point, the resulting assembly hierarchies could not be modified in any way since they match the model data unless the assembly was copied and no longer synced to the model data.  In addition, only model data that included a matching uploaded drawing was included.  It was determined that the flexibility to be able to manually add any existing drawing where the missing drawing should exist would greatly improve the assemblies.  Thus, Placeholders have been created to do exactly this.

Before I dive into the details, I want to point out the most common case where this will be very helpful.  It is very common that when modeling a part there will be many purchased items that you will want to include.  Many times you will download a model from the vendor and include it in your model or you will simply create a model of it yourself.  This is very useful to have in the model but the viewers of your drawings need a specification sheet for the item or a simple graphic showing its general dimensions.  This information is also typically obtained from the vendor.  You can now include this information by simply uploading a PDF of this information and adding it to the location that the placeholder exists.  Since you added the item in the model, a Placeholder will now exist in the hierarchy for each of these purchased items.

The first view that appears after logging into Flatter Files is shown below.  All of your Top Assemblies can be found in the Folders view which is located in the bottom half of the left navigation bar.  As you can see in the image, there are currently three Top Assemblies located in the folder Uploaded Assemblies.

When you click on a Top Assembly, the view transitions to show the hierarchy specific for that Top Assembly.   This next image shows a close up of the resulting hierarchy.

Now that you are viewing this hierarchy, you can simply select any item in the hierarchy to display the complete assembly.  By clicking on a specific item within the hierarchy the assembly view will navigate to the particular page containing that drawing within the assembly.  A button now appears that is labeled with the Edit button.  By clicking this, you now proceed into edit mode which is shown in the image below.

As you can see in the image, a new item within the hierarchy appears that is labeled as a placeholder.  This items appears exactly as it does in the model that it was uploaded from.  For this particular item though there was not a matching drawing.  Therefore, it is displayed as a placeholder in the edit mode.  Any drawing in your library can now be dragged onto the Placeholder item.  The image highlights the drawing that is added to the hierarchy at the location of the placeholder.

Once you drag the appropriate drawing on the placeholder the assembly will be updated.  You now simply click the Done button and the new hierarchy is displayed.  The item that has been added is highlighted in the image below.

To remove the item that was added, simply right click and select Delete.  This removes the added that was added but does not remove the placeholder.  You can easily add another item for the placeholder by simply repeating the steps described above.

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