Extensions to Existing Features
Word Import Enhancements
- Authors who need to insert a screen shot in a
Word document often just capture the screen and paste it into the document, but
never save the screen as an image file.
This means Flare doesn’t know what to
call the image file on import so it uses a random number for the file name,
such as 0600001.jpg – technically correct but not very helpful.
V. 11 partly fixes this. It names the pasted-in (embedded) image file after the name of the topic in which that image appeared. So Flare calls an embedded image in a Texas topic Texas. jpg, for example. This is a partial solution because if a topic has many embedded images, Flare creates multiple images files with names like Texas.jpg, Texas1.jpg, etc. Authors still have to figure out which image is which, but images being named after the topics that contain them simplifies the search.
- Word authors who create tables usually calculate
the number of rows required, then add a row for the column heads. Flare can
designate a row specifically as a header and format that row using the Header
settings in the Table Stylesheet editor. However, when you import the Word
document into Flare, it has no defined
header row. The solution has been to open Flare’s Table Properties dialog box
and change the Number of Header Rows from 0 to 1. You then have to move the
headings in the original heading row into the new, defined Header row and
delete the old and now empty original header row. Easy but cumbersome.
V. 11 fixes this. It can automatically convert the first row of a Word table to a Flare Header row. You’ll still have to clean up tables that have multi-line headers but single-header row tables will import far more easily. This feature is on the Options tab of the Word Import editor.
- They’re “aware of” their target title and change their wording if the title changes. For example, say you create a cross-reference to a topic called Grinder. The cross-reference wording will say ‘See “Grinder”’. If you then change the target topic title to Hoagie, the cross-reference wording automatically updates itself to ‘See “Hoagie”’. This eliminates the manual editing needed if you use traditional hyperlinks to point to a target topic whose title may change.
- They can change their format to a page reference when output to a print format. For example, a hyperlink like ‘See “Grinder”’ is fine as a clickable link in online output or a print output viewed online, such as an on-screen PDF. However, if readers print the PDF, the link obviously doesn’t work – the reader can’t tell what page the link pointed to. This means the reader has to refer to the table of contents or index to locate the target of the reference. But with a cross-reference, the format automatically changes from a hyperlink-style like ‘See”Grinder”’ to a print style like ‘See “Grinder” on page 45’.
So what’s new with cross-references in v. 11?
YouTube and Vimeo Movie Insertion Through the Flare Interface
Interesting, Intriguing, and Sometimes Unexpected New Features
TopNav HTML5 Output
- TopNav looks cool but may not work for projects that have many level 1 TOC headings because too many headings will visually clutter the TopNav output.
- TopNav adds many skin options. Using those options calls for more deliberate planning than the traditional tri-pane.
- By breaking away from the traditional, documentation-related tri-pane look, TopNav may allow technical communicators to move into new publishing areas beyond traditional help.
U3D 3D Model Import
- Customizable keyboard shortcuts, a boon to accelerator key users.
- Git integration, extending Flare’s version control system support.
- Advanced page layout control, allowing very complex layouts for print output.
- An image positioning feature that lets authors control how images fit within text without having to work with float properties in a CSS.
- A global spelling dictionary that can be shared across multiple projects.
- Building multiple targets in the background while continuing to work in the foreground.
- And many more…
About the Author
Neil is certified by MadCap Software in Flare and Mimic, and by various other vendors. He is the author of “Advanced Features of MadCap Flare 10” (and earlier versions) and “Creating Mobile Apps Without Coding”, mobile app creation for non-programmers.