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File Manager

NOTE: The below article details this feature for our customers utilizing our Kahua for Owner’s and Kahua for GC’s applications, which excludes custom workflow or configuration. Specific customer configuration, customers utilizing other versions of these applications, or custom application features may differ in functionality or processes to those outlined below. For more details on training guides specific to your company, please check with your company IT or Domain Administrator prior to submitting a request to Kahua Support. 


The File Manager app allows you to store all project information such as documents, spreadsheets, and images in Kahua and share them with others. This app provides a standardized folder structure for maintaining project files.   There is no storage limit and sub-folders can be created as needed. File manager provides users the ability to:

  • View files 
  • Add files 
  • Move and rename files
  • Copy, delete and edit files
  • Download files 
  • Send files via email
  • Send files for eSignature 
  • Lock/Unlock files 
  • Add markups 
  • View file history 
  • Create sub-folders
  • Set notifications for changes to documents 
  • Run reports 
  • View files on a mobile device 

Note: You can access and interact with project files and folders directly through Windows Explorer without having to log in to Kahua using the Local Files functionality.

Folder operations are accessed from the left pane, and file operations from the middle pane. Upon clicking on a specific folder or file on the right, a third pane will appear with a rendered view of the file that was selected. Note that if the file is not rendered yet (recently uploaded and still rendering) or is not a supported file type to be rendered, the third pane will show the file metadata instead.

  1. Navigate to the project you need to work in.
  2. Select File Manager from the App launcher. The project folder structure is displayed in the left pane.
  3. Click on a folder in the left pane to display the folder contents in the middle pane.
  4. Click on a file in the middle pane to see the rendered PDF of the selected file in a third pane on the right. By clicking on the tab 'Details', the file metadata will be displayed as well. Users may toggle between the 'Viewer' and 'Details' tab at any time. Note that if the Viewer tab is greyed out; the file is either unable to render due to an unsupported format or is in process of rendering.
  5. To close the third pane, click X in the top right of the pane.

Alternate File Structure Views – Thumbnail View and ‘Flat’ File View

In Kahua, users may desire to view files in a folder structure in two alternative views. These views may be helpful to end users as they search for a particular file in their project’s structure:

  • Thumbnail View: When viewing contents in a folder, users can toggle to Thumbnail View in order to display thumbnail images of the rendered files. To do so, click on the image/thumbnail icon next to the search icon above the list of files in a folder. See below screenshot for detail. To toggle back to the standard list view, click on the icon to the right of the thumbnail icon (List view icon).

Note: Hovering over a file will display the file name directly below it. Clicking on a file will display the detail pane on the far right, just as if you click on a file in the standard list view.

  • 'Flat' File View: When projects have a deep folder structure, but a user wishes to view all contents within a folder structure (or within a specific parent folder and its children), Kahua allows users to toggle to a specific ‘flat’ view. Users will see a dropdown list of views on the far right of the middle pane (file list pane). See screenshot below for placement of this drop down list. The list will allow users to select a flat view based on type of folder (File, Media or Drawing). Selecting this will display a list of all files in any sub-folders within the folder structure based on the folder you are currently in, regardless if they are nested in sub-folders or not. This allows for ease of file review and search. At any time, users can toggle back to the standard view in which you are able to see just the contents in that particular folder.

Working with Folders 

If a user has the appropriate permission, they can create their folder structure, sub-folders can also be created within a base folder to meet the needs of a project.

  1. In the left most pane, highlight the folder where you want a sub-folder and click New Folder. When prompted, enter the name of your new folder in the Name field and click Save.
  2. Click the carrot next to a folder to expand the folder structure and access sub folders.To see the properties of a folder, right-click on a folder in the left pane and select Properties. Access folder Properties to set folder permissions, notifications, and configuration.

When you copy a folder, the system creates a copy of that folder along with its contents. The newly created folder has the same name as the original folder. Right click on the folder name to rename it if desired. 

Sharing Folders

Kahua File Manager allows you to share folders of project documents with external parties outside of your domain. The person you choose to share folders/files with needs to be a Kahua user. Defined permission levels within your Kahua project give the external Kahua user a certain level access to the folder you choose to share.

Note: A Kahua User in another company domain, which must be an account with a paid license, will be able to access a share to have access to the File Manager folders/files. Internal users, to your company domain, will have access to the folder/files depending on the individual’s access and permissions levels to that project.   

  1. Verify you are in the correct project where you want to share folders. Navigate to File Manager from the App Launcher.  
  2. Select the Folder in the left pane that you want to share.  Note: All sub-folders and files in the selected folder will be shared.   
  3. Click More. Then click Sharing.
  4. In the middle pane, you will see the details of any shared folders already created. Click Add to create a new share. Note: You can terminate any active shares here, by selecting the share and clicking End Share.
  5. The share form will show what folder you are sharing. You will then choose to share with a Company or Group. 
  6. Select the predefined Permission Level you want the Company or Group to have in relation to the shared folder. Note: The Share form indicates the permissions being given when you select the level.
  7. Select the contact to Send Invite To.
  8. Checking Allow Copy allows the User to keep a static copy of the folder once the share is terminated. It is unchecked by default.
  9. You may Filter the share on specific attributes, if needed.
  10. Click Send Invitation.

How to Access the Share as an External User

This section applies to your industry partners; those external to your Kahua domain.

  1. As an external Kahua User in your own Kahua domain, you will receive a task to accept the Share. Navigate to the Sharing Invitation task.  
  2. Select a corresponding Project or create a new Project on your domain. Once the project is selected or created, Click Accept. Note: The first person to accept a share for a project determines where all shares for this project will be stored in your domain. You may not move 'shares' to a different project after accepting. They must be terminated and re-initiated to you if you accept to the wrong project.
  3. Navigate to the project where you accepted the Share. Access the File Manager application.
  4. Click the drop-down arrow next to File Manager to show a list of all shared folders. Click the folder name to access all shared files and folders. Note: The orange icon next to the folder name means it is an active share.  If the icon is gray the share has been terminated.
  5. Note: Depending on the permission level given during the Share will determine what actions you are able to do within the share.

Working with Files 

Kahua File Manager organizes files into folders. To perform an action on a file, select the folder that contains the file in the left most pane. Expand the folder structure if necessary, by clicking the expand folder arrow to expose sub folders.

Adding a File

There are multiple ways to add files to a Kahua folder.

  1. Drag and drop into the folder from your desktop. When dragging the file into your folder make sure you are dropping it in the appropriate place in Kahua. The right side of the screen where files can be seen is the appropriate location to drop files. You cannot drop files directly into another folder in the structure. 
  2. Of course, you can always simply click Add Files at the top of your Kahua screen. Find the appropriate file and select to add.
  3. Lastly, if you have Local Files turned on in your account settings, you can add a file by adding files into file explorer. This will sync the file into Kahua the next time you launch and sign into Kahua. 

File Versioning 

Kahua maintains versions of uploaded files automatically. To upload a file as a new version:

  1. Select the folder that contains the file in the left pane.
  2. In the middle pane, click Add Files.
  3. Browse to the folder on your computer, select the file and click Open.

Note: To create a new version, the uploaded file must have the exact same file name as the target file in the folder.  The file also cannot be open.

  1.  Add comments in the Comments field and select users in the Notify the following box to send a message alert that the file has been uploaded
  2. Note the version number in the file properties on the right pane and click OK.
  3. Kahua recognizes that there is a file of the same name already in the folder, and prompts the user to create the new version, or to cancel the action and skip the upload. Click OK.
  4. File is uploaded and the version increments. Note: Only the current version of a file will display in the log view. To access an earlier version of a file, select the earlier version in the Versions section of the file properties.

Sending Files from File Manager 

Files in File Manager can be sent to both Kahua Users and external parties.

Sending a File as an Attachment: 

  1. Select a file in the log.
  2. Click Send in the menu bar then click Send File to launch a message editor.  The selected file is attached to the message.
  3. Select the recipients in the message window and compose your message and click Send.

Sending a Link to a File or Folder: 

If your file(s) are too large to send through email, you can send a link to a file or an entire folder, so the recipient can download the file from Kahua. 

  1. Select the file in the log or if you need to send a whole folder, select the folder in the left pane that needs to be sent.
    • For a File: Select the file, click Send then Send Link.  The body of the message contains a hyperlink to the file in Kahua.
    • For a Folder: Select a folder in the left pane, right click on the folder or select More. Click Send Link.  Note: Only the files in the selected folder will be sent in the link.  No sub folders will be sent.
  2. Select recipients in the message window and compose your message, then click Send

Note: To send a file or folder to a person not in Kahua, type his/her email address and press the enter key. 

Sending Files for e-signature Using DocuSign: 

You can send a file for eSignature to other Kahua users using DocuSign. Users of Kahua automatically have access to DocuSign to execute the eSignature process (which is invoked from within Kahua File Manager). Users must have a Kahua standard license and access to File Manager to invoke this process.

  1. In the left pane, select the folder where the file resides.
  2. In the middle pane select the File to be sent for signature.
  3. Click Send and then click Send for eSignature.
  4. Select the first and last name of the recipient in the Recipients field.
  5. Update the other fields, as necessary.
  6. Click Send. An email is sent to the recipient notifying them to open, review and sign the document. Once the document has been signed, the sender receives a message that the document has been signed. A PDF of the signed document is attached with “.esigned” appended to the original document name.
  7. Select the signed PDF attachment and click Save to save a copy of the signed document to a file in File Manager. Note: because the signed document has “esigned” appended to the name, the document will be saved as a new document, not a new version of the original file.


  • Check the Copy to Communications box (found throughout Kahua in any message) to add a copy of your message in the project's Communications log.
  • If the configuration option Allow Anonymous File Access is enabled, the hyperlink in the message will take the user to a web page where the file can be downloaded. This allows non-Kahua users to download content from Kahua File Manager. 

Other File Manager Actions 

  1. Folder actions when right clicking on the folder.
    • Copy – Copy selected file to another folder in File Manager.
    • Move – Move the selected file to another folder in File Manager.  Note: Files can only be moved within your project.
    • Rename – Rename the selected file in File Manager.  Note: because file versioning is based on the file name, the Rename action must be used to keep all previous versions of the file together.
    • Delete – Delete selected file from File Manager. Note: Deleted files can be restored from the Recycling Bin.  Contact your Kahua Administrator.
    • History – Display the complete history of actions performed on selected file.
    • Send Link – Send a message with a link to the file.
    • Properties – Edit descriptive information about the folder.
      1. Additional file actions:
        • Open - Will download the file to your local files (if enabled in your settings) and open a local version of the file that you make make edits in (in native application, such as Word, Excel, etc.). Saving this file will then save a new version directly to Kahua. 
        • Move - Move the selected file to another folder in File Manager. Note: Files can only be moved within your project.
        • Copy - Copy selected file to another folder in File Manager (within your project).
        • Rename - rename the selected file. Note: Because file versioning is based upon the file name, the Rename action must be used to keep all previous versions of the file together if you plan to update the name. 
        • Lock / Unlock - Lock the file, preventing other users from uploading a new version while you are working in the file. The file History will display who locked the file. Ensure to unlock upon re-upload of your next version. 
        • Download - Download the file locally.
        • Lock and Download - Initiates a download of the file locally, and locks simultaneously 
        • Markup - Launches the selected file in Kahua markup tool. The user may select to launch in Bluebeam as well once in the markup view. Note: If choosing not to use Kahua's markup tools, the user must have a Bluebeam license. Once a file is marked up in either Kahua markups, or Bluebeam, all further markups on that file must take place in that same system. 

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