iPhone Application

Flatter Files now includes an iPhone application.  The application is not yet in the App Store since we are still in private beta but our beta testers are able to use the app.  The fundamental purpose of Flatter Files is to help CAD users communicate their drawings more efficiently to viewers and viewing drawings on a mobile device will make the communication even better.

The iPhone application is ideal for viewing any drawing or assembly.  The same search capability exists as in the web application.  The application also allows for reviewing of drawings and you can share the drawings externally.

New Feature: Assemblies View

A new library view has been added to Flatter Files that displays all of your assemblies in the same manner that Drawings displays all of your drawings.  As you can see in the image below, you simply select on Assemblies on the left hand side of the screen and the new view is displayed.

This new Assemblies view displays each and every assembly.  This includes both top assemblies and sub assemblies.  By simply selecting on the item, the entire assembly is displayed.  This will include every drawing that is included in the hierarchy of the assembly.  The display interface matches the Drawings interface.

The existing assembly view has been renamed to Folders.  In this view you will still see a listing of all of your top assemblies, which are grouped into folders.  If you click on a top assembly the hierarchy of that assembly will be displayed as before.  You can also get to this hierarchy by right clicking on any assembly in the new Assemblies view and select View Hierarchy as shown in the image below.

Once View Hierarchy is selected the corresponding top assembly is displayed in the Folders view.  For example, the assembly BD-0004 was right clicked and View Hierarchy was selected in the image above.  The image below shows the resulting hierarchy in the folder view and highlights the corresponding assembly that was right clicked.

The new Assemblies view provides a single location for you to search and locate assemblies.  This greatly reduces the amount of work needed to find, share, or copy assemblies.

Problems Solved

Flatter Files was designed specifically to solve actual problems that companies face all the time with regard to drawings.  Here are a few of the common problems and an overview of how Flatter Files solves each problem.

Where is that drawing?  

Flatter Files provides a single destination for all of your drawings that is searchable.  So if someone in production or sales or marketing or anyone else in your organization needs to see a drawing they now have a central place containing all of your drawings.  Just log into Flatter Files and start searching.  Every property of the drawing is searchable and search results can be limited to certain properties.

What do you mean this is the wrong revision?  It is the one you gave me. 

Every organization that uses drawings eventually runs into the latest revision problem.  Someone within your organization mistakenly uses the wrong version of the drawing.  Many times you send an email with the newer version but when they need the drawing they forgot about that latest email and instead use the drawing that was last printed.  Flatter Files fixes this problem by removing the need to email a drawing by providing a central place where drawings are always viewed.  Users can still print the drawings, but every time they need a drawing instead of searching for a drawing in their file system or email they can log into Flatter Files, locate the drawing and know that it is the latest revision.  As an added bonus, if the drawing is currently being modified, the viewer will be notified.

Can you send me all of the drawings for this product?  

Rarely when viewing a drawing do you just view a single drawing.  Instead you need a group of drawings as identified on a bill of materials.  Flatter Files groups your drawings into assemblies such that you simply locate the top assembly and then all of the drawings needed are shown inside that assembly in a single view.  The best part is that anytime any of the drawings contained in the assembly are modified, the assembly view is updated such that you never actually have to update the assembly.  Just revise the drawings and the assembly will always contain the latest revisions.

I converted a drawing to PDF and sent it externally to another company but now I am going to update it.  I guess I have to send it again?

With Flatter Files, drawings are shared via a link and associated password.  No more sending a drawing each time you change it via email.  Instead, simply send the link and password and from then on anytime they visit the link the latest version is shown.  Both drawings and assemblies can be shared.  If a drawing is checked out, the external viewer is also notified.

External Sharing

This is the last follow up post to the single sentence summary post.  This post will summarize link based external sharing.

External sharing from within Flatter Files provides a method for sharing to someone outside your organization a password protected link to the drawing that always contains the latest version.  Typical sharing now requires you to send an email with a pdf of the drawing.  If the drawing changes, you must send the drawing again.  Sharing a drawing with an external link provides a way for you to no longer worry about them having the latest version.  In addition, if the drawing is checked out the viewer will be notified when viewing the drawing.  External sharing works with both drawings and assemblies.


This is the third post in follow up to the single sentence summary post where I am summarizing the key features of Flatter Files.  This post will summarize assemblies.

Assemblies are a collection of drawings that provide a simple way to organize all of the individual drawings needed to complete a task.   The result is a single view of all of the drawings needed such that you don't have to look up each drawing contained in the bill of materials.  Each drawing in the assembly is automatically updated anytime a drawing is revised such that you never have to worry about ensuring your assembly contains the latest version of each drawing.

See this post for a detailed discussion of assemblies.

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