In cold strip or foil rolling, flatness control is an integral part of modern mill. This paper introduces two typical flatness control systems, pattern recognisation flatness control system and multivariable flatness control. It is found that the latter is effective and has wider application fields. The FEM models of its core parameters, flatness actuator efficiency, are constructed. Influencing factors, such as the rolling force, bending force as well as the tilting force are discussed. Control strategies are proposed for foil rolling. The results demonstrate that the control strategies can reduce flatness error and improve flatness quality. © (2013) Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland.