Tech Write Tips

July 12, 2006

Flare 3: Custom Layout – How do you use yours?

Filed under: Madcap Flare,Tip,Tool — AndyR @ 12:35 pm

This is the third in a series of post about how to get the most out of Madcap Flare. We’ve look at Reporting and  Topic Titles, now a little post about the flexible user configurable layout.

flare_layout.gifPictured on the right, using a screen portrait of course, is my current setup for producing help with Flare. After experimenting with a few different models, this seem to be the most productive for me. It is achieved as follows:

  1. Open Flare.
  2. Open a project.
  3. Click the Primary tab title to select it.
  4. Select Window | Floating, to float the Primary toc.
  5. Drag the Primary Toc over the left pane, likely to be the content explorer.
  6. Drop it on the the right arrow which appears to tile it on the right.
  7. Ensure Document Dock is on via the Window menu.
  8. Open a topic, which will open in the document dock.
  9. Drag the document dock to the right and drop it onto the left arrow that appears over the start page so the at tiles to the left.

You can now view the Content Explorer (for direct access to the files), the Primary TOC to manage the help and edit in the Document Dock.

Additionally you can sent topics to the far right pane by pressing shift control-D.

Let me know if you agree, but for me this is a very productive workspace which minimises both navigation and page sawpping.


  1. I use dual monitors… and even with the second I find real-estate hard to come by in Flare. For me, I have the Primary/TOC and any documents open on the left monitor, and the right monitor is nothing but a mess of palettes.

    I’m still experimenting around, but so far, my rough layout is like this:
    Primary TOC | Document(s) | Content Explorer | All other palettes
    Note that my documents are “sandwiched” in between the Primary TOC and the Content Explorer palettes, for quick access to the topics.

    I still have a long way to go before I get “comfortable” with Flare… but I do enjoy the new trend of allowing users to configure their own GUIs. Especially since dual-monitors are quickly becoming the standard.

    Comment by theMonkey — July 12, 2006 @ 5:40 pm | Reply

  2. Hmmm… the wordpress comments interface altered the format of my post above. Ignore the pipes and dashes.

    For clarification, the first two items (toc and docs) are on my left monitor, the latter two are on my right.

    Comment by theMonkey — July 12, 2006 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

  3. I like your layout!
    However, what happens when you re-start Flare? Do you manually have to arrange the windows in order to get the same layout again or is your layout properly saved and reloaded? If yes, could you tell me how you get the reload thing working? I can arrange the windows like you described but after a restart of Flare I get only about 50% of the layout back.


    Comment by Arnd Winter — July 20, 2006 @ 11:29 am | Reply

  4. I do have to redo the layout when I startup Flare first thing in the morning. This is an issue they are aware of.

    Comment by techwritetips — July 24, 2006 @ 6:27 am | Reply

  5. I have the Content Explorer and the XML editor open at most times, nothing else. Whenever I need somthing I open it, do the work, then close it. I cannot stand cluttered interfaces with all these different panes and then some extra floating around. I created a quick launch shortcut to the help so that I do not have to access help as “embedded help”, which in my opinion is a suboptimal implementation. I want the topic editor (XML or text) to have as much space as possible.

    Comment by RamonS — August 22, 2006 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

  6. […] As mentioned previously , now that many of us have been using Flare for some time, we have spent considerable time diggin around and ticking out our Flare workspace to best fit our working practice. […]

    Pingback by Tech Write Tips » Flare 6: Customise Your Environment — August 24, 2006 @ 12:39 pm | Reply

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