I’m sure you remember the days of storing large prints in flat-files or the binders full of B-size sheets gaurded ever so preciously by the office admistrator’s glaring eye. Those days are (almost?) gone, but now we’re left to stacks of file folders on a network drive, available to be accessed only when we’re in the office and only when we’re logged into the data management system. FlatterFiles.com is changing that, turning the physical flat-file digital and making access to your documents just as easy as it should be.

Flatter Files

Our passionate PLM compatriot Adam just mentioned that PLM should be more like Google. Flatter files takes a step in that direction and knocks down the complicated mess of managing files, making them mobile and accessible, while also keeping the secure. You get revision history, revision control, external sharing, search and product assemblies that keeps all the information together.

“Flatter Files consists of a web application that will provide access to view and mange your content, a desktop application that will automatically keep your content up to date, and mobile applications for viewing your content on the go. The result is a better way to effectively control and provide access to all of your important content.”

We talked with Chris Vaught, founder of CMV Technologies and creator of Flatter Files to find out more.

What’s the idea and inspiration behind Flatter Files?
Basically, the thought is that there should be a more seamless method for organizations to communicate and control their drawings and other important documents and that this process should be separate from the actual design work. The design of Flatter Files was inspired by the traditional flat file cabinet systems that organizations have used in the past. Instead of printing and placing the item in the cabinet the designers simply use the Flatter Files Uploader application to ensure all of the lastest content is uploaded to the cloud.

What file formats does it support?
Currently it supports AutoCAD, Inventor, SolidWorks, Visio, Word and PowerPoint.

How does Flatter Files work?
Flatter Files uses an Uploader application installed on your computer. When the Uploader Application performs an upload it creates a PDF representing your drawing or document and uploads it. “It also uploads the actual drawing or document file as well as the PDF. The actual file is archived such that each revision that you create will include the actual file at that point in time. This allows you to download the file for a previous revision at any point in the future. To download the appropriate file, just right-click the item and click “Download”. A zip file containing the appropriate file will be downloaded.

What other information does it upload?
I also upload the associated property data and for Inventor and SolidWorks files the assembly hierarchy is also uploaded. You must have the appropriate application installed on your computer for the file type you plan to upload. For example, if you are uploading SolidWorks files then you must have SolidWorks installed since I use it to create the PDF and access the data.

Flatter Flies is currently in beta, with a multi-level pricing structure starting at $50/month for 5 creators that have data encryption and unlimited viewing and file sharing. iPhone and iPad apps are available in the iTunes App store. Here’s a quick video overview of the product and a few images to show you more.

YouTube video


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.