MadCap Flare 10

Review by Pam Coca

It is a well-established fact that MadCap Flare users are more groupies than ordinary users. Most of us spent so much time in the trenches fighting for software support or trying to do things that the software couldn’t, that when we discovered Flare, we celebrated and immediately became umbilically attached to our rescuer. It seems that is the case whether we started with Flare 7 or Flare 9 or Flare anything. Finally: software that does what we tell it to do. What a concept!

So it shouldn’t be a surprise when the company that makes the product listens to our list of ridiculous desires and delivers on them. But it is. Each and every version of Flare blows away the last. And Flare 10 is no exception.

One of the reasons Flare groupies adore the product is the ability to have all our content housed and worked on in a single location (think re-use/re-purpose) and then to be able to publish it to whatever media we want from there. But what if we could have that content automatically resize itself to fit the output medium; as in tablets and cell phones. Yes, you heard me. The industry catchphrase is “responsive output” and Flare 10 has it. The HTML5 skins in Flare 10 allow you to deliver device appropriate output to your users!

There is even an interactive preview so you can click each medium and see what it will look like. If there is something you aren’t happy with…just turn on the highlight button. Then click an item you might want to change to see its style in the left panel.

And on the subject of how things look in Flare, the start page has a whole new look and there are 20 new project templates that I bet you never thought you’d see in Flare. There are templates for multi-page brochures, eBooks, and more. Some are print only, some are online only and some are for both. I was lucky enough to get one of Nita Beck’s handouts at MadWorld 2014. Flare groupie, Nita supplied her audience with tri-fold brochures (for PC and for Mac) containing lists of Flare 10 shortcuts.  Nita said, “To create the brochures, I started with the Flare 10 factory template called 3Fold_Brochure. Then it was very easy to adapt it for my own needs.” Nita + Flare 10 = awesome. The brochures are fabulous! [http://beck-communications.com]

Slideshows are another newbie in Flare 10. Turn your project into a slideshow or put a slideshow in your project. Find and Replace has been updated to include whole word searches and the ability to save the searches as csv files. Quick Find and Quick Replace widgets integrated into the text editor let you search for text in the file that is open. Flare 10 lets you use Open Type fonts so you can match your marketing materials to your technical docs (PC or Mac). You can rotate body frames and add rounded borders to jazz up your user guides, use the new wizard for importing HTML files into a new project as well as an existing one, automatically re-size Capture callouts in the new project to make sure all of the text is seen; the list goes on and on and on.

Personally, I think this version of Flare has the most changes, enhancements and features of any previous version. These guys must stay up night just thinking of ways to please us. Rock on MadCap!

By Tom Aldous

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