ActivInspire, the software that many teachers use to present on their Promethean smartboards, creates presentation files called flipcharts. Flipchart filenames have the suffix .flipchart and look like this when viewed on your desktop:


When uploaded to Google Drive, however, the .filpchart files look like this.


And when you try to open .flipchart files from Drive, you get this error message:


While it might seem like .flipchart files are totally incompatible with Google Drive, there are at two ways you can open .flipchart files that are stored in Google Drive. While this article will focus on .flipchart files, these tactics will work with any exotic filetype that Google Drive can't open natively like Microsoft Office Documents, GPX files, Adobe Creative Suite files, or anything else that can be opened by an application you have on your computer.


Option 1: Download It

1. Navigate to your flipchart file in Google Drive and right-click on it. Choose 'Download' from the context menu:


2. Your download will begin. Depending on the size of your flipchart file and the speed of your internet connection, this may take anywhere from a second to a few minutes. Use a wired connection (ethernet cable) to get faster download speeds. When the download is finished, you'll see a notification in your browser.


3. You can open the downloaded file by clicking on the notification in your browser (shown above), or by navigating to your computer's Downloads folder and double-clicking on your downloaded file:


This is the simplest way to view and edit a .flipchart document, but it has some drawbacks. If you make any edits to the file you downloaded, those changes won't be saved in Google Drive. After making changes, you'll need to save the file, upload it back to Drive, then delete the previous version. This actually isn't as hard as it sounds (you can do it in less than 30 seconds) BUT it's still an extra step that not everyone is going to want to take. 



This brings us to: 


Option 2: Google Drive File Stream + Open from ActivInspire

For Options 2, you'll need to first download and Install Google Drive File Stream (tutorial).


All set? OK here we go:

1. Open ActivInspire on your Computer.

2. Reveal the File menu and select 'Open' (or use the keyboard shortcut CTL + O).

3. View your Google Drive files by navigating "This PC"  the the left-hand sidebar, then double-clicking on "Google Drive File Stream":



4. Navigate through your Google Drive folders until you find your document, then double-click on it:


That's it.


Now, what's great about Option 2 is that any edits you make will be saved when you close the file. There's none of this 'save it, then change the name, then upload it' business. Or, more accurately, Google Drive File Stream handles all of that work for you, in the background.