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.
Print with Adobe Reader
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Create Public Link
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.
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.”
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.
Specific Revision Links
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.
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.
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.
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].
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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].
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.
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].
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].
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.
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.
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.
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.