Flare Tips

Looking for some tips and tricks for using Flare? You’ve come to the right place. If you have a tip you’d like to share or if you have a question, just send us an e-mail.

General tips

Formatting (CSS) tips

Also, check out our CSS tips.

WebHelp tips


HMTL Help (CHM) tips


Word, FrameMaker, and PDF tips


Finding more information

General Tips 

Adding words to the dictionary

If you need to add multiple words to your Flare dictionary, you can open it in Notepad and paste in as many words as you need.

To add multiple words to your dictionary:

  1. Open Notepad, Word, or another text editor.
  2. Select File > Open.
  3. Browse to the following folder: C:\Program Files\MadCap Software\MadCap Flare v3\Flare.app\Resources\SSCE\ssceam.tlx (for US English).
  4. Add terms (one per line).
  5. Save the file with the same name and the tlx extension.

Applying a condition tag to a table row

You can apply a condition tag to a table row and exclude the entire row when you build a target. The tricky part is making sure you select the entire row.

To apply a condition tag to a table row:

  1. Open a topic.
  2. Right-click inside the row and select Select > Row.
  3. Select Format > Conditions.
  4. Select a condition tag.
  5. Click OK.

Importing HTML Files

Flare does not include an "Import HTML File" command. To import an HTML file, just copy it to your Content folder. It will be converted to XHTML when you open it in Flare. In fact, you can copy an entire folder of HTML files (or any other file types) into your content folder and they will automatically appear in the Content Editor inside Flare.

Inserting Special Characters

Flare’s "quick character" feature that allows you to add special characters such as the copyright symbol, em and en dashes, and non-breaking spaces. You can select a quick character using the Quick Character button in the XML editor toolbar or by selecting Insert>Character. The non-breaking space even has a keyboard shortcut: Shift+Space.

Opening a Topic in the Code Editor

Flare makes it a little tricky to find the Code Editor (Flare’s version of RoboHelp’s TrueCode tab). To open a topic in the code editor, right-click the topic and select Open with>Internal Editor

Rearranging table rows

You can use drag and drop to rearrange table rows–if you know where to click!

To rearrange table rows:

  1. Click inside a table.
  2. Open the table row bar if it is not open. It will appear on the left, and each row will be numbered.
  3. Click a row’s number and drag the row to a new location. A blue arrow will appear to show you where the row will move.
  4. Release the mouse button. The row should move to the new location.

Using a Variable in a TOC Entry

You can use variables in your TOC book and page names–you just need to know the code Flare uses to insert a variable.

To use a variable in a TOC entry:

  1. Open your TOC.
  2. Create a new book or page or right-click a book or page and select Properties.
  3. On the Basic tab, type the following text for the Label: mcvariable:variablesetname.variablename where "variablesetname" is the name of your variable set and "variablename" is the name of the variable (for example, "CompanyName").

The variable’s definition will not appear in the TOC editor, but it will appear when you create a target.

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Formatting (CSS) Tips


Creating Character Styles

You can create character styles to format text within a block of content, such as a paragraph, heading, table, or list. For example, you can use a character style to boldface this phrase within this sentence. If you use a character style rather than inline formatting, you can update the formatting when needed. Inline formatting can be very difficult to update.

To create a character style:

  1. Open your stylesheet.
  2. Select the span tag.
  3. Click Add Class.
  4. Type a name for the character style class.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Format the new character style as desired.

To apply a character style:

  1. Open a topic.
  2. Highlight any content.
  3. Select a character style from the drop-down style list.

Continuing Numbered Lists

If you need to include a nested bulleted list or a paragraph inside a numbered list, you will probably want to continue numbering after the nested information. To continue step numbering, position your cursor inside the second group of numbered steps, click the List Actions button in the Formatting toolbar, and select Continue Sequence.

Formatting Nested Lists

Nested lists, such as a bulleted list inside a numbered list, can be formatted using styles. For example, a bulleted list (which is called an unordered list or "ul") inside a numbered list (ordered list or "ol") would be formatted using "ol ul." Flare calls "ol ul" a complex selector, and all of the nested list combinations (ol ol, ol ul, ul ol, and ul ul) are listed in the Complex Selectors group. To view the complex selectors, open your stylesheet and click Advanced View. The Complex Selectors group is near the top of the list.

Like all styles, complex selectors inherit properties from their parent selector. For example, if you set bulleted lists (using the ul selector) to use a round bullet, nested bulleted lists (such as ol ul) will also use a round bullet. If you want to use a square bullet for nested bulleted lists, just change the list-style-type property (in the List group) to square. Remember to change the list-style-type property for both ol ul (bulleted lists inside numbered lists) and ul ul (bulleted lists inside bulleted lists).

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WebHelp Tips

Adding an Email Toolbar Button

  1. Open a WebHelp skin.
  2. Select the Styles tab.
  3. Select the ToolbarItem style group.
  4. Click Add Class and type a name for the class, such as "Email."
  5. Open the Basic property group.
  6. Select Icon, PressedIcon, and HoverIcon images.
  7. Type a Tooltip, such as "Send an email."
  8. Open the Type property group.
  9. Set the OnClick value to:

where "<email address>" is the recipient’s email address, "<subjectofemail>" is the subject of the email, and "<bodyofemail>" is default text for the email’s body. You don’t need to include the "<" or ">" characters.

Adding the "Mark of the Web"

Flare allows you to add the "Mark of the Web" (MoTW) to your WebHelp files so that they will run locally in Internet Explorer. The MoTW basically tricks Internet Explorer into thinking that an HTML file is running from the web. To add the MoTW to your WebHelp files:

  1. Open your WebHelp target in Flare.
  2. Click the Advanced tab.
  3. Select Insert Mark of the Web.

Changing the Accordion Item Order

  1. Open the <skinname>.flskn file in Notepad. The skin file is stored in the \project name\project\skins folder.
  2. Change the following line:

Changing the Logo in the Toolbar

The default WebHelp toolbar includes a "MadCap" logo on the far right. You can remove this logo or replace it with your own logo.

To remove or replace the MadCap logo:

  1. Open your skin.
  2. Open the ToolbarItem style group.
  3. Select the Logo style.
  4. Change the Logo property. To remove the logo, select (none). To change the icon, select an image in the list or select Browse for Image.

If you replace the logo, try to use an image that is 24px tall (the same size as the MadCap logo). By default, the toolbar is 28px tall, so your image will be cropped if it is too tall. If you want to use a larger image, you’ll need to change the toolbar’s height and you might want to change the toolbar’s background.

To increase the toolbar’s height and change the background:

  1. Open the Frame style group.
  2. Select the Toolbar style.
  3. Change the Height property. Your toolbar should be slightly taller than your logo image.
  4. Change the BackgroundGradient property.

Enabling Active Content In Internet Explorer

You can set up Internet Explorer to not block active content when you open an HTML file on your PC. Active content can include JavaScript, ActiveX controls, and Flash movies. You can see a screenshot of the active content error message at www.ga.gov.au/image_cache/GA5159.jpg. To allow active content:

  1. Select Tools > Internet Options.
  2. Click the Advanced tab.
  3. Select Allow Active Content to run in files on My Computer.
  4. Click OK.  

WebHelp Examples

Want to see some sample WebHelp systems? Check out forums.madcapsoftware.com/viewtopic.php?t=1015

WebHelp Skin Gallery

You can download and customize Flare skins at www.madcapsoftware.com/downloads/flareskingallery.aspx

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HTML Help (CHM) Tips

Unblocking HTML Help Files

  1. Right-click an HTML Help file and select Properties.
  2. Click Unblock.

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Word, FrameMaker, and PDF Tips

Including a TOC, index, and glossary in print documents

By default, Flare does not include your TOC, index, or glossary when you create print documentation. You can create topics that represent your TOC, index, and glossary and then specify their content, formatting, and position in the printed document.

To include a TOC, index, and/or glossary in print documentation:

  1. Create a new topic. I name my new topics "printTOC," "printIndex," and "printGlossary."
  2. Open your new topic.
  3. Change the topic’s heading as needed.
  4. Delete the default body text.
  5. Select Insert > Proxy > TOC Proxy (or Index Proxy or Glossary Proxy).
  6. Open your TOC.
  7. Add a page in your TOC that links to the printTOC, printIndex, or printGlossary topic.
  8. Assign a printOnly tag to your topic and exclude it when you create online help.

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Finding More Information About Flare


The forums are a great place to post questions. Flare technical support and other users constantly monitor the forums and provide help. See forums.madcapsoftware.com

Knowledge Base

The knowledge base has in-depth articles about Flare features. See kb.madcapsoftware.com

Getting Started Guide

The Getting Started guide provides basic information about using Flare and an overview of the latest new features. See MadCap’s Flare Getting Started guide.

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