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.

Revision Control

This is the second post in follow up to the single sentence summary post.

Revision control in the context of Flatter Files is focused on providing a review process and revision history that actually improves the workflow instead of merely causing paperwork hurdles that result in decreased productivity.  When editing begins, the drawing is checked out.  The CAD professional can either do this manually with one click or it can be done automatically when the drawing is first saved.  When a drawing is checked out, anyone viewing the drawing will be notified that it is checked out.  Once editing is finished and the drawing is automatically uploaded the CAD Professional simply checks the drawing in and selects a reviewer.  The reviewer is them sent a review notification.  Once the reviewer accepts the drawing a new revision is created.  The revisions are permanently saved and anytime a drawing is being reviewed all previous versions can be viewed by a simple click.

See this post for further details regarding the overall workflow for the CAD Professional.

Automatic Drawing Uploads

In the one sentence summary post, I mention four features that are key to the Flatter Files product.  The next few posts will briefly describe each of these features in a single paragraph.

Automatic drawing uploads will keep your drawings up to date without having to manually upload them.  A desktop application is installed onto at least one computer that has access to your drawings and access to your CAD software.  The application runs entirely in the background and it's main purpose is to convert your drawings to a PDF file using your CAD software and upload the resulting PDF along with appropriate drawing properties to the web application.  This process can be configured to occur every time a file changes, on a schedule, or only when you the user manually tells it to.  The new version of the PDF file that is uploaded is not displayed to viewers until the drawing revision is approved.

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