Extension issue with Firefox 51

The latest version of Firefox (version 51.0) which was recently released in late January included a change that caused the Flatter Files Extension to no longer work. The breaking change they made also results in the automatic update of the extension from working. As soon as we realized this issue we prioritized development and quickly resolved the issue. Unfortunately, due to the automatic update being broken you must install a new version of the Flatter Files Extension manually by downloading and running the installer located at https://www.flatterfiles.com/extension. We apologize for this inconvenience and will ensure moving forward that the extension is tested with each version of Firefox before it is released.

The Flatter Files Extension is used to print with Adobe Reader and view content in local applications. Once installed, it will work in both Chrome and Firefox providing you with a consistent print experience and easy access to viewing your content in local applications.

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

Office 365 Integration

One of the most popular features of Flatter Files is the ability to automatically notify both internal users and external suppliers when a drawing has been updated with a new revision.

Today, we are excited to announce that we have integrated with Office 365 such that Flatter Files accounts can be configured to use a customers Office 365 account for sending emails. Once setup, the emails will originate from your actual Office 365 account. They will even be shown in the Sent Items folder for the particular user account that was used to send each email.

For example, the Office 365 user account for the user that shares an item externally will be used to send all of the emails that pertain to that particular share. Both the original share creation emails as well as revision update emails will all be sent from that users account. The resulting emails will show up in the Sent Items for that particular user in Outlook.

This functionality significantly improves your company branding when sending emails to your suppliers. In addition, internal emails will arrive much quicker since they are being sent and received on the same domain.

More Details

The user sending the email must be part of your Office 365 domain and they must have a functioning mailbox. Otherwise, Flatter Files will continue to use an existing 3rd party method to send the emails for that user.

Flatter Files will locate the correct user based on a matching email address between the Office 365 user and the Flatter Files user. If that doesn’t match then it will attempt to match the user based on the first and last name.

Internal new revision emails will be sent from the mailbox of the user logged into the Uploader that uploaded the new revision assuming there is a matching Outlook mailbox to use. It is recommended that a dedicated mailbox account be used by the Uploader such that the Sent Items folder for a regular user isn’t cluttered with these automatic emails.

If anything causes Flatter Files to either not find a matching Office 365 user account or if simply an error occurs during the process then the existing 3rd party email provider will be used to send the email.


Configuring this functionality is quite simple although your Office 365 admin will need to be involved. Just follow the steps outlined below:

Office 365 Setting

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

View In...

A few months ago we released the Flatter Files Extension which made it possible to print with Adobe Reader from Chrome. Recently we added support for Firefox starting with Firefox version 50 such that Adobe Reader can be used to print from both Chrome and Firefox. This has been very beneficial because both Chrome and Firefox have inconsistencies when printing from the browser where as Adobe Reader has no such issues. The technology developed to enable this local printing capability has now been expanded to support local viewing. This allows you to open the PDF, Native, and generic CAD files that have been uploaded to Flatter Files locally with a single click. Previously, users would have to download the file and then open it in the appropriate application.

There are now three new options, View In Adobe Reader, View In eDrawings, and View In Native App. All three options are now part of a new View submenu shown when you click the download button. Instead of just getting a list of files to download when you click Download, the menu below is initially shown.

Download Menu

The same download options are still shown in the Download submenu when you hover the mouse over Download. This is shown on the left below. However, if you hover over the View option the new View submenu is shown which includes the new options. This is shown on the right below.

Download Menu View Menu

The View In Adobe Reader option is pretty straightforward. The PDF currently displayed in Flatter Files will be opened locally using Adobe Reader.

The View In Native App option is only included if corresponding native files have been uploaded per your Uploader configuration. If they have been uploaded then clicking the option will open the native file locally using the default application assigned to that file type. For example, if it is a SOLIDWORKS file then SOLIDWORKS will be used or if the native file type is a Word document then Word will be used if it is installed. Keep in mind that for both cases the correct application must be installed locally. Otherwise Windows will ask what application you would like to use to open the file.

The View In eDrawings option will display options to open the supported Native and Generic CAD files in eDrawings. eDrawings 2017 added support for opening STEP and IGES files so those options will be listed if they have been uploaded per your Uploader configuration. In addition, eDrawings supports opening DXF, DWG, and STL which will each be listed if they exist for the item. If you have uploaded the Native SOLIDWORKS files or uploaded eDrawings files as the Native file type then a Drawing and Model option will be listed. The eDrawings submenu is shown in the image below. Keep in mind, that eDrawings must be installed on the local machine for this functionality to work. If it isn’t installed the user will be prompted to download it.

Download Menu

The ability to open the generic CAD files directly in eDrawings is a very unique and beneficial capability. For example, if a user wants to view the corresponding STEP file for an item, they can now simply click the download button, proceed to the View In eDrawings option, select STEP and automatically eDrawings will be opened with the appropriate STEP file.

Download Menu

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

Sharing Updates

One of the more popular features of Flatter Files is the ability share links with specific email addresses. Even as the items are updated with new revisions or properties, the same password protected link will continue to display the most recent version of the items contained within it. This functionality is most frequently used for automatic distribution of your content to your suppliers such that they always have access to up to date drawing information.

Recently we have added a couple of new enhancements for sharing items externally. These are discussed in detail below.

Library Share

An entire Library can now easily be shared. A benefit of sharing a Library directly instead of just selecting the items from within the Library is that the share will automatically be updated as the corresponding Library has items added or removed from it. This makes it very simple to share an entire product line or job specific drawings with a supplier even if the list of drawings required is evolving.

To share the Library, Simply right click on the Library and select the option “Share External” as shown in the image below. This will then display the same share dialog as shown above. Unlike when sharing selected items, a Library share isn’t created automatically due to the potential large volume of items that can be shared all at once. Therefore, when you submit the share it won’t show up immediately in My Shared Items but will eventually. You can also click “Refresh” in the web app to check for when it has been added.

Share Library

Set Specific Revision

By default, the shared link always will display the latest revision when accessing an item. Sometimes though it might be useful to share a specific revision. Once the item is set to a specific revision it will always display that specific revision unless you manually change it back to using the latest revision. Therefore, if the item is updated with a new revision it will not automatically be displayed from within the shared link since you have set it to a previous revision.

To set an item to a specific revision, right click on the item from within the Item List and select “Set to Specific Revision.” A dialog will appear that allows you to select the revision. Select the appropriate revision and then click Submit. This will change the Item List revision value from “Latest” to the revision that you selected.

Item List Right Click

Reminder Emails

One of the best parts of sharing items externally using Flatter Files, is that the recipient can automatically receive emails anytime any of the shared items are updated with a revision. Flatter Files now supports the ability to automatically send reminder emails if the recipient does not access the link. The reminder emails can be sent daily or weekly. The share options are shown below with the new reminder option enabled.

Item List Right Click

Share Settings

If you enable automatic emails when a share item is updated with a new revision, the email is normally sent at midnight Central Daylight Time. This is done such that the supplier only receives a summary email at the end of each day that contains all of the updates throughout the day. If you would prefer to send the update email as soon as any update occurs then enable the new option “Send share updates immediately after upload.” If this is enabled, then as soon as the Uploader finishes updating an item that has been shared externally the appropriate update email will be sent. This setting is located in the Company settings and is shown in the image below.

Share Settings

When a share is created, only the person that creates the share can manage it under My Shared Items. Often times though you will want to add the share to a user group such that your colleagues can also manage the shared link. To automate this process, you can now desinate that the share be added to a specific user group. The options include the ability to add it to the User Groups for the User that is creating the shared item as shown in the image above.

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

Recent Updates

Flatter Files development is continuous and is based on customer feedback. We have been adding so many new features and capabilities that we have fallen way behind on updating everyone via this blog regarding all the new features. Below is a quick summary of the most recent updates.

When printing with Google Chrome, sometimes the result does not match the PDF shown. This is primarily due to a bug in Chrome when handling dashed lines. To ensure an accurate print, Flatter Files allows you to now use Adobe Reader to print your drawings when using Chrome. This requires the installation of the Flatter Files Chrome Extension and a small host application. Details regarding how this works can be found in the printing documentation.

Print Option

Large Preview Images

When an item is uploaded to Flatter Files, a preview image is automatically generated. Recently we made a change to this process to create a preview image that is approximately 4 times larger. That means you can now widen the preview image list on the right and the images will become much larger making it easier to determine if you have located the correct item. A greatly enlarged preview image is shown below.

Large Preview Images

Property Download

All of your uploaded Property data for each item can now be easily downloaded. Simply select the items, then right click and navigate to the Download submenu. Then select the new option “Properties.” This will download a CSV file containing all of the property data for the items that can easily be opened in Excel.

Download Properties

Search Enhancements

When you search for an item, you can now easily link to the specific search results. Simply enter you query and display the search results. Then right click on “LIBRARY” and select “Copy Result Link.” The resulting link is effectively a bookmark to that search and is only valid if the user is able to login to the account.

Copy Result Link

If a search result list contains items from multiple Libraries it is now very easy to limit the search result to a specific Library. Simply right click on the Library heading and select “Filter By Library” or even easier simply double click the Library heading. This will perform a new search that returns all of the items matching the query and contained within that specific Library.

Library Filter

Flatter Files can now be used to make some of your documentation publicly available. You must first create an external shared link. Once the external link has been created, simply right click on the item in your “My Shared Items” library and select the option “Create Public Link” as shown in the image below. You can then copy the resulting Public Link and anyone that you send the link to will be able to access the items without logging in.

Create Public Link

PDM Reference Attachments

Flatter Files has long supported item Attachments where one item is linked to another item. Previously these could only be set up manually. If you are using Flatter Files in conjunction with SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard or PDM Professional (EPDM) they can now be created automatically based on your PDM references. The PDM Reference configuration options are shown below. To enable this feature simply enable the option titled “If reference is being uploaded as item make it an attachment.”

PDM Reference Configuration

Hide Assembly Views

Flatter Files now includes a new User setting such that your Assembly Views can be totally hidden from specific Users. Simply display the User settings and check the option titled “Hide Assembly Views.” The option is the last option in the right column as shown in the image below.

User Options

Flatter Files by default always display the latest revision. In addition, when you link to a specific item in Flatter Files it has historically always shown the latest revision. Access to the previous revisions after the latest revision was shown is a simple User option. Now, you can link to a specific rev and even as new revs are created the link will continue to display that specific revision instead of the latest revision. To facilitate this functionality, the “Copy Link” option in the right click menu has been updated to provide two options. The first option is “Latest Revision” and the second option is “Specific Revision.” If Specific Revision is selected then a prompt will appear that allows you to designate the revision you would like to link to.

Specific Rev Links

Delete Specific Revision

If an item is uploaded from a PDM system, typically all of the existing revisions are uploaded. Flatter Files now supports the ability to delete a specific revision. For historical revisions, once the revision is deleted it won’t be re-uploaded. If the revision is the latest revision then the Uploader will re-upload the revision again. This makes it quick and easy to troubleshoot an upload issue or test different settings.

Delete Specific Revision

Select Users not in a Group

If you are actively using User Groups to control User settings then often times it would be useful to determine which users don’t belong to any Groups. You can now do this by right clicking on the “All” User Group and selecting the option “Select Users Without a Group.” You can then scroll through the list of Users and each User not in a group will be selected such that they are easy to identify.

Select Users Not in a Group

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].

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