MadCap Flare some simple tips & tricks (12)


A few more tips and tricks from my own experience:

Error 10086

Flare can come up with the most outrageous error codes. Output format is never the issue. It can happen when you want to create a Word, PDF, HTML or DITA output.

It hit me when i wanted to create an HTML5 output. Below some tips which might also work for other output formats.

  • Does the error message go with a proper explanation, so you at least know in which direction you should search? Mine came up with a very handy “one or more errors” leaving me in the middle of the desert.
  • Look for links pointing outside your project file – i solved mine; did not work. It could solve your problem when you get rid of these links.
  • Missing linked… (table style , source file)…normally will not solve your issue.
  • Move the Output folder to your desktop. Rebuild..and this solved a few people their issue. Not mine though.
  • Check for very lengthy file names. Flare can handle only paths up to 255 characters.
  • Check if the name of your output target is not too long. Shorten it.
    This actually solved my issue.

Indent for dummies (1)

Look at the example below. Here definitely something went wrong with the indentation.

indent wrong

But then, it is easy to fix.

  1. Right-click the p paragraph. The Paragraph Properties window opens.
    First line indent naar 0
  2. Set the First line indent: to 0 as this causes the problem. Indentation gone.

Indent for dummies (2)

Assume you have a list and want to add a picture that should align with the text. It could look like the picture below:


Going into the TextEditor it will look like this (left picture):

vb2   htmlcode1

Moving the

below the

will do the trick as seen in the right picture.


The indent buttons on the ribbon are useless here.

Minimised online help content

Assuming you have a list of features or parameters that look quite okay in a PDF, but should be minimised in an online help output. The example is list of questions, still to be filled in. We achieve this by using expanding text.

  1. Hightlight the first question.
  2. Select Insert – Text – Expanding text on the ribbon. The selected line changes to:
  3. Copy the answer and paste it between the brackets. The line changes to:
  4. I have treated the other paragraphs in the same way.
  5. Change the look and feel of the output by accessing your stylesheet
    • Select Content Explorer – Resources – Stylesheet and open the stylesheet.
    • Select All Styles in the drop=down box,
    • Search for MadCap/expandingHead and Madcap/expandingBody.
    • You could change the color for hover or the font. In the example we set the hover color to red.
    • Save and leave the stylesheet.
  6. Run the target. It looks like shown below (left) with a hover on the first question and with expanding text (right),
    hover readexpanding1
  7. Now we minimise the whole text by using Drop down text.
  8. I selected the first heading and clicked Insert on the ribbon and the arrow next to Drop-Down Text in the Text column on the ribbon.
  9. From the drop-down list I selected Drop-Down Text.
    It looked like in the picture below:
  10. Cut and paste what you want as drop-down text on the spot of (This is a Drop-down text). Best is to delete the text and paste your text in its place.
  11. Click Save.
  12. Run the output.
    The result with one drop-down expanded will look like this.

This is how I minimised 4 pages of PDF output in one page of HTML output in a help file.

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