Recent Updates

Flatter Files continues to add new features on a regular basis based on customer feedback. Small improvements are made weekly and quite regularly very significant enhancements are made that greatly enhance Flatter Files as a whole. Lots of new stuff has been added since the last update. Below is a quick summary of the most recent updates.

Change Orders

If you are uploading Change Orders to Flatter Files, then you can now connect the Change Orders to the Drawings. This will result in searches for a Change Order number returning both the Change Order and the Drawings referenced by the Change Order. In addition, searches for the Drawing number will result in both the Drawing and the related Change Order.

Configuration is completed from within your Company Settings. Details on how to configure can be found in the documentation. If you are updating an existing account with Drawings and Change Orders already uploaded, then only new Change Orders will be properly linked. If you would like to link existing Change Orders, then either increment the revision or delete the existing Change Order such that the Flatter Files Uploader re-uploads the Change Order.

Change Order Settings

BOM Table Export

Flatter Files now support extracting BOM and Cut List Tables from your SOLIDWORKS drawings. If enabled, each table contained in the drawing will be exported to a CSV file that can easily be downloaded or viewed. Enabling this functionality can be done in the same manner that Generic CAD files are enabled. In addition, to the existing options such as STEP, IGES and many others there is a new type called CSV of BOM. Enabling the CSV of BOM option will create and upload the CSV file for each BOM or Cut List table contained in the drawing.

View Sub Menu

Once the CSV files have been uploaded, they can easily be downloaded in the same manner that the Generic CAD files can be downloaded. In addition, they can be viewed directly by simply right clicking on the item, displaying the View submenu and selecting the option titled BOM as shown in the image above. This will open a new tab with the resulting table view shown below.

View Sub Menu

User Group Profile Settings

User Group functionality has been expanded such that User Groups can now be used to assign settings to a User. The User settings for a User Group can be applied to any User, even Users that are not part of the User Group. This provides tremendous flexibility and makes it infinitely easier to update large groups of users by simply modifying the User Settings for the User Group instead of having to modify each individual User’s unique settings. Details on how to manage User Group Profile Settings can be found here in the documentation.

Add User Group Window Add User Group Window

Local Exports

The Flatter Files Uploader now includes an additional file type option that allows you to specify if you would like to copy specific files being uploaded to a local folder. Once you have enabled the option, then you must specify the file types to export and the folder to export the files to.

File Type Options

Keep in mind, only file types being uploaded to Flatter Files will be possible to save locally. Consider a scenario where you have configured native source DXF files to be uploaded and native source SOLIDWORKS files. In addition, you have selected SOLIDWORKS files to also have a DXF file uploaded. If you then entered DXF to be exported locally, then each native DXF file will be exported locally and each created DXF file from the SW source file will be exported locally. This results in a DXF file for each item uploaded to Flatter Files. In addition, if you entered a STEP file to be exported locally but didn’t specify that the SW files should have a STEP file created then there won’t be any STEP files exported since none exist.

Annotations Video

We recently created a new video that highlights the ability to annotate drawings in Flatter Files. This video specifically highlights the new ability to send an annotated drawing directly to a specific user or users. The video is shown below.

As you can tell from this post, we believe in continuous improvement and listen closely to what our customers need. Feel free to let us know what you think of these updates and if you have any questions or enhancement requests, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].


Web App Annotations

Flatter Files has been updated to support the creation of annotations directly from within the Web Application. Thus, you can now mark up your drawings and documents directly on any desktop or laptop computer without any additional software. This greatly enhances the ability to collect feedback and review design documents.

Marking up a drawing from within the Web Application couldn’t be simpler. To get started, click the Annotation button and select the option Create Annotation. This will display a Toolbar with various annotation types. Use the Toolbar to complete the mark up and then click Save at the bottom of the Toolbar. A save dialog window will appear with additional options. When you click Submit the annotation will be saved.

Web App Create Annotation

For more details, please check out the corresponding documentation. In addition, if you have any questions or need help, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].


SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard

Flatter Files has been updated to integrate with SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard. PDM Standard is the replacement for SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM moving forward. Each seat of SOLIDWORKS Professional and Premium includes a seat of PDM Standard. PDM Standard is a limited version of SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional (formerly EPDM). Thus, it is built on the same technology as PDM Professional and functions in much the same way with the exception of a few capabilities.

One of the more significant limitations is that PDM Standard blocks access to the API, Tasks, and the ability to run Add-Ins. In addition, it does not have built in support for auto generating PDFs. Thus, Flatter Files is the only commercially available method for auto generating PDFs and making the PDFs easily accessible to your viewers.

It has been roughly three years since we first added integration with PDM Professional (EPDM). Since then we have found that the combination of PDM and Flatter Files creates the ultimate digital workflow for companies. As new revisions are added to your PDM vault, Flatter Files automatically processes the new revisions, creates a PDF, optionally creates any generic CAD format (STEP, DXF, etc…) and uploads it along with the item’s property data to the Flatter Files cloud. The latest revision along with previous revisions are then easily accessible within the Flatter Files web application and mobile applications. In addition, any external suppliers that have access to the updated items are notified via email such that they always have access to the latest revisions for the items they need.

The result of integrating Flatter Files with your PDM system is a much more efficient workflow for distributing your drawings to your internal viewers and external suppliers. In addition, the integration results in unlimited Viewers, ability to mark up drawings, Assembly Views and much more.

A step by step tutorial has been created for integrating Flatter Files with PDM Standard. In addition, if you have any questions or need help getting started please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].


Access Stats

Flatter Files was updated in early 2014 with the ability for companies to view when their external shared links had been accessed. Each specific link allowed you to view each time the link had been accessed. This proved to be very popular but recently it became obvious that more detail could be added to really make this feature even better. Thus, today we are happy to announce that the Access Stats have been completely overhauled and are now even more powerful.

Each user that can share items externally and can access the stats will now see a new item under My Shared Items called Access Stats. Clicking this will display a new comprehensive list of stats for all of your Shared Items that you can manage. Every action possible with each Shared Link is now listed individually such that you can view exactly what was accessed and when. The new Access Stats page is shown below.

Share Item Access Table

Each stat that is displayed contains multiple properties. This includes the action that occurred, the file type accessed, and the specific item properties. The possible Actions are Login, View, and Download. A Login only contains the email address and date since no item has been accessed yet. If a duplicate entry occurs the duplicate is not displayed.

The list of access stats are fully searchable. Simply enter a value into the search box at the top right and click enter. All properties are searched and the results are displayed. The image below shows a sample search for all items that have a Download action.

Shared Item Search

If you would like to view all of the Access Stats for a specific item, simply navigate to My Shared Items, right click the Shared Item and select “Access Stats.” This will automatically display the Access Stats page but instead of displaying all of the stats it will only show the stats for the right clicked Shared Item. An example of the stats for a specific Shared Item are shown in the image below.

Shared Item Access

As you can see, Access Stats are very powerful and allow you to see exactly when and what your suppliers are accessing. This makes your content more secure and improves supplier management. For full details, please view the documentation for the new Access Stats.


Recent Updates

Flatter Files continues to improve and over the last month multiple features have been added that greatly enhance the usability. Below is a quick summary of the updates.

Batch Printing

Being able to print more than one item at a time has been a popular request recently. Doing this in the web application using a traditional method of sending multiple items to the printer is not possible. Thus, implementing batch printing requires that a new PDF is generated on the server containing all of the items you would like to print.

To batch print multiple items, simply select more than one item, right click, and then select Print. A message will then be displayed indicating that your multi item print will be available shortly. Once the PDF is ready, it will be opened automatically in your browser. In Chrome the Print dialog will automatically be displayed and when finished the tab will automatically be closed. If using another browser you will likely need to manually click the print button once viewing the new PDF.

Right Click Print

Email Notifications

Previously Flatter Files supported the ability for individual users to receive an email anytime a new item or new revision was added to Flatter Files. This was useful, but especially for larger companies there is a need to be able to limit which items a user receive emails for based on which Library it is located within. This allows the user to only receive update emails that are pertinent to their department or products. Flatter Files now supports this by allowing you to configure which Libraries each user should receive email notifications from. Configuration for this is found under user options.

The email that is sent for this notification has also been updated. It now contains a link directly to a list containing all of the items updated. In addition, the formatting of the list of items have been updated to improve readability. A sample email is shown below:

Email Notification

Recently Updated Items

Previously, when you first logged into the web application the contents of your first Library was displayed. Instead of displaying the same thing each time, the web application will now display the most recently updated items. Thus, all of your items containing new revisions should be easily accessible as soon as you login. These items are sorted such that the absolute most recent item will appear at the very top of the list.

View Uploader Messages in Web App

When the Uploader Application is running it continually updates the current status to a message log such that the user can stay informed and understand what is being uploaded. Often times the Uploader is located on a computer that you are not regularly using. Historically if you wanted to check on the status, you had to to either remote access into the computer or sit down in front of it. Now, you can simply view the messages within the web application. Both Administrators and Creator users can view this within the web app. In addition, viewers can have it enabled within their user options.

To enable web viewing of the uploader messages you must enable the option within the Uploader settings. The option is listed first in the image below.

Uploader Settings

To view the messages, go to your Dashboard and click the Uploader Status option. The resulting view is shown below. The messages are organized into discrete uploads. Each upload can be selected at which point the messages will be displayed. If the upload is active and you display the messages, new messages will appear automatically. To see new uploads though you will need to click the web app’s refresh button at the top.

Uploader Status

If an error occurs, the upload will be marked as having an error. In addition, the user that is logged into the Uploader will automatically receive an email notification indicating that an error occurred during the upload.

As you can tell from this post, we believe in continuous improvement and listen closely to what our customers need. Feel free to let us know what you think of these updates and if you have an questions or enhancement requests please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].


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