The Blog is Moving!

Posted in Flare, MadCap Software, Tech Comm on April 28, 2011 by Mike

This blog has had a pretty good run, but for various reasons it is being moved off of the WordPress servers and onto the MadCap Software servers. The new home for the blog is .

There are multiple reasons for this.

First, I have always struggled with the limitations of the WordPress hosting preventing me from including MadCap Mimic demos/tutorials/recordings. By moving to our own servers I will now be able to include much more dynamic content.

Second, with my travel schedule being heavy March through May, and then also heavy September through November, this blog was a bit sporadic with heavy posting at times and then little activity while I was on the road. Moving to the MadCap servers will enable me to include guest posters from R&D, Tech Support, etc. to keep the information coming when I am unavailable.

Finally, being under a common MadCap software address ( ) it will be much easer for people to find.

In any case, the blog is not dead, or gone, or anything else, it has simply moved to a better home. Please join me at the new location (don’t forget to update your bookmarks/links) for the latest MadCap Software information.


Mike Hamilton
MadCap Software

MadCap Flare 7 is here!

Posted in Flare, MadCap Software, Tech Comm on March 1, 2011 by Mike

MadCap Software is excited to announce the latest release of MadCap Flare.

Flare 7 redefines the industry again with advanced authoring features, expanded content management support and compliance for government accessibility standards. With this latest release, MadCap Software remains committed to satisfying the technical communication needs of our customers throughout the world representing thousands of companies across dozens of industries.

Flare 7 now features:

  • Direct SharePoint and Subversion integration
  • External resources mapping (no source control required)
  • Vector graphic support for EPS, PS and SVG files
  • Built-in equation editor supporting Mathematical Markup Language (MathML)
  • QR Code generation (bridge the gap between print and online/mobile documentation)
  • Enhanced track changes workflow
  • CHM Import and Remote CHM Linking
  • Table row sorting and merging
  • Improved review and contribution workflow with new MadCap Contributor
  • Accessibility support for 508 Compliance and WCAG
  • Plus much, much more!

What the community is saying about Flare 7:

“With change tracking and enhanced table functionality among its many new features, we see Flare 7 as further vindication of our decision to migrate from Adobe FrameMaker.” -Dr. Adrian Morse, Picis, Inc.

“Flare 7 is easily the most versatile and capable authoring tool that I’ve used. MadCap clearly listens to their customers, and their support is second to none.” -David Lee, Sage Ltd.

“Flare is already the best information development tool out there, and now it’s the leader of the pack in accessibility.” -Eddie VanArsdall, founder of VanArsdall InfoDesign

“MadCap Flare 7 addresses the needs of very small to global-scale companies.” -Ed Marshall, founder of Marshall Documentation Consulting

To learn more about the many new feature of Flare 7, visit:

To download your free trial, visit:

MadCap Road Show 2011 update

Posted in Flare, MadCap Software, Tech Comm on February 17, 2011 by Mike

As promised, here are the MadCap Road Show 2011 cities, dates, and venues.

Long Beach, CA March 13th The Westin Long Beach
Austin, TX March 28th Hilton Austin Airport
Atlanta, GA March 30th Hilton Atlanta
Orlando, FL April 1st Hilton Orlando
Vancouver, B.C. April 4th Hilton Vancouver Airport
Seattle, WA April 6th Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center
Portland, OR April 8th Marriott Portland City Center
San Francisco, CA April 11th Hilton San Francisco Union Square
Toronto, ON April 18th Hyatt Regency Toronto
Louisville, KY April 20th The Seelbach Hilton Louisville
Chicago, IL April 22nd Hilton Chicago
Denver, CO May 6th Grand Hyatt Denver
Boston, MA May 23rd Hilton Boston/Dedham
New York, NY May 25th Hilton Newark Penn Station
Philadelphia, PA May 26th Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue
Washington D.C. May 27th Capital Hilton

Road Show 2011

Posted in Flare, MadCap Software, Tech Comm on January 17, 2011 by Mike

The MadCap road show was such a hit last year that we are doing it again in 2011. Except this year the tour will be expanded to 16 cities.

We will also be kicking off the start of the MadCap road show in Long Beach in conjunction with the WritersUA trade show. We heard from many people that it was tough to get time away from the office for more than one event per year. By launching our road show on March 13 in Long Beach people can attend both events without any extra time out of the office.

If you won’t be in Long Beach then don’t worry as we will be visiting the following cities between now and the end of May:

Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Louisville, New York/Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington D.C.

We are still working to lock down the specific venues in each city. Once that is done exact dates will be posted here and on the MadCap Software web site. For more information you can visit the MadCap Software Road Show 2011 page on our main site.

MadCap Software | 2010 Year In Review

Posted in Flare, MadCap Software, Tech Comm on January 4, 2011 by Mike


The MadPak ML (Multilingual) product suite launches, featuring the industry’s first fully integrated translation environment tool (TeNT) and authoring solution, MadCap Lingo.


MadCap Software announces MadCamp in La Jolla, CA, MadCap Roadshow dates across the US, Canada and Europe.


MadCap Flare V6 launches to the best reception of any version of Flare yet. New capabilities include:

  • Dedicated publishing for mobile devices (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows, etc.)
  • Windows 7 support (32 and 64 bit)
  • Batch and/or scheduled publishing
  • A new PDF engine
  • Expanded multimedia support
  • Enhanced collaboration, workflow and publishing
  • Tightened integration with Microsoft Team Foundation Server
  • Much more…

Several support products were also updated. X-Edit V2, for document contribution and review, adds multiple file review and Flare V6 support.  Analyzer V3, for reporting on and recommending improvements to documentation projects, adds LinkViewer and tighter integration with Flare V6.  Echo V2, for dynamic audio integration, adds improved OS support.  Blaze V3, the alternative to Adobe FrameMaker for long print documents, adds a new PDF engine and improved usability. 

The MadCap Roadshow kicks off the west coast dates in San Diego, with San Jose, Portland and Vancouver, BC to follow.  MadCap Software attends the WritersUA Conference in Seattle, WA. 

Case Study: Carnegie Mellon University instructors use MadCap Flare to teach software documentation best practices (read full case study).


Case Study: MadCap Flare’s single-sourcing and platform-independent web output let Thinking Windows bring online Help to water meter readers using GPS-based mobile application in less than 30 days (read full case study). 


MadCap Software attends the 57th Annual STC Summit in Dallas, TX.  The MadCap Roadshow kicks off the east coast dates in Chicago, with Boston, Rochester, Orlando and Atlanta to follow

Case Study: Citing the need to replace the aging RoboHelp for the firm’s technical communication needs, Technical Expressions selects MadCap Flare for its standards-based authoring environment and ability to deliver highly consistent, best-in-class documentation while reducing project costs and time for clients (read full case study).   


 MadCap Feedback Server V3 launches with email notifications, new statistical reporting and improved OS support.

MadNewz, a quarterly newsletter written expressly by MadCap customers, launches. Chris Sullivan writes “FLARE SINGLE-SOURCING: MY TEN BEST PRACTICES” and presents a one-hour webinar (read the article).  The Writers Block and MadCap Software form alliance to address the growing opportunity in the corporate information management and technical communications space in India.

Case Study: Argo Translation uses MadCap Lingo and Flare to optimize localization consistency and cut project time by over 20 percent (read full case study). . 


Alchemy Software Development and Madcap Software release new technology solution, Alchemy Publisher 3.0 with enhanced support for Flare V6.


Madcap Software increases second quarter revenues by 37 percent year-over-year while increasing headcount 48 percent, powered by strong demand for Madcap’s state-of-the-art technical communications software (read full press release).


MadCap Lingo V4 launches with an updated Project Packager, a new alignment  utility, Microsoft PowerPoint support, and a completely redesigned Translation Editor. 

MadCap Software attends LavaCon in San Diego, CA.  MadCap Software launches the MadCap Flare – Your RoboHelp Replacement campaign offering competitive upgrade pricing (read more).

Eddie VanArsdall writes the September MadNewz article, “TEN TIPS FOR IMPORTING FRAMEMAKER CONTENT INTO FLARE,” and presents a one-hour webinar (read the article). 

Case Study: Picis Replaces Adobe® RoboHelp® and FrameMaker® with MadCap Flare to streamline workflows across Picis Business Groups and to create a consistent brand online and in print (read the full case study). 


MadCap Mimic V5 launches, featuring full motion video, integrated playback controls, and enhanced recording options. 

MadCap Software attends Localization World in Seattle, WA. 

Case Study: Modern XML architecture and user-friendly interface of MadCap Flare enables Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences students to successfully create state-of-the-art online documentation (read full case study).


MadCap Software attends both the largest technical communication show in Europe, TEKOM, held in Germany, and the 12th Annual STC India Conference in New Delhi. 

MadCap Software launches the MadCap Software is Paying Your 2011 STC Membership Dues campaign, an alliance between MadCap and STC to offer free STC Memberships to MadCap purchasing customers (read more). 


MadCap announces the 2011 MadCap Roadshow Kickoff, March 13, in Long Beach, CA (read more) as well as a 2nd MadCamp in March (read more).   The company also announces plans to attend the 2011 WritersUA Conference in Long Beach, CA; Localization World in Santa Clara, CA; DoDIIS Worldwide Conference in Nashville, TN; the 58th Annual STC Summit in Sacramento, CA; UA Europe in Brighton, UK; Technical Communication UK in Oxford, UK.

Embed Fonts in Your WebHelp

Posted in Flare, MadCap Software, Tech Comm on December 17, 2010 by Mike

For years now I have been encouraging authors to get in the habit of using font-families with their Cascading Style Sheet settings. This helps to control any substitutions that might occur if the font you call for just doesn’t exist on that customers machine. Of course, for many authors it would be preferred to simply ship the fonts you want with the WebHelp you deliver, but this hasn’t been as easy as it might sound. Problems with font ownership, distributions rights, differing technologies, and more have always gotten in the way.

However, Ed Marsh has discovered a technique for doing just this; embedding fonts with your distributed WebHelp. It isn’t as easy as it sounds as there is a fair bit of work to it, and your selection of fonts is limited to those you can legally distribute. As a result, this may not be a solution for everyone but it is a huge step in the right direction.

Without further ado, hop on over to Ed’s blog article How to Embed Fonts in MadCap Flare WebHelp .

eLearning and Video Tutorials – TCUK Workshop

Posted in Flare, MadCap Software, Tech Comm on September 21, 2010 by Mike

I will be presenting a three hour workshop at the TCUK show in Oxford.

If you would like a copy of the slide deck that I will be using, then download here:


MadCap Software in Europe

Posted in Flare, MadCap Software, Tech Comm on September 6, 2010 by Mike

I am hitting the road again. Over the next three weeks I will be visiting Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oxford, and London for various shows, conferences, and meetings. For those attending the events please stop by our booth and say hi.

 Also, if you are going to be in one of the cities I am visiting but not attending the “official” events then I am also open to casual meetings if anyone wants to talk about business, have a coffee, or to lift a pint. My schedule is below and I can be reached at mhamiltonATmadcapsoftwareDOTcom .

 Oslo (business):  September 8-12

Copenhagen ( MadCap Road Show ):  September 12 – 15

Stockholm ( UA Conference Europe ):  September 15 – 19

Oxford ( TCUK Conference ): September 19 – 23

London (business): September 23 – 25


Mike Hamilton
V.P. Product Management
MadCap Software

P.S.: I will have all of our latest software with me including the brand new release of MadCap Lingo if anyone wants to see it in action.

Chunking Content for User Roles

Posted in Flare, MadCap Software, Tech Comm on July 12, 2010 by Mike

Selectively including or excluding content using conditional markers is something that most Flare authors are accustomed to. However, you may find yourself in a situation where you don’t necessarily want to actually remove content, but you need to provide users a way to customize the display of that content to fit their user role or perhaps their version. Two great ways of doing this are the use of drop down text and/or the use of togglers.

Drop Down Text

Drop down text can be used when the specialized information lends itself to nice big contiguous chunks. If you can write the topic so that the top four paragraphs are the common information, then the next three paragraphs are specific to the basic version, and then the final six paragraphs are specific to the advanced version, then drop down text is perfect. Just set the three basic paragraphs as a “basic” drop down element and then set the last six paragraphs as an “advanced” drop down element and you are all set.

However, life rarely lets us get away with big contiguous blocks of information like that. Often the basic and/or advanced information will need to be mixed throughout the topic. This is a case where togglers can be used.


If you are not familiar with toggler links, it is a bit like having a link anywhere on the page that can be used to show or hide any other information on the page that the author selects. One toggler can be used to show/hide fifteen paragraphs, eight bullet items, and three images spread all over the topic. By using multiple toggler links you can provide controls so that users can tailor the topic content to their own needs.

A small example:

I have created a topic with two togglers in a small navigation box. One is labeled Basic Version and the other is labeled Advanced Version. When the topic first opens the user only sees the common content and these two toggler links.

The user can now click on the toggler links to show more information tailored to their needs. If the user clicks on the Basic Version toggler then they will see all of the common information and the now exposed basic information (in green to make it easier to spot).

On the other hand, if the user had clicked on the Advanced Version toggler then they would see the common information and the advanced information (in yellow).

For more detailed instructions on how to name topic elements and how to add toggler links to your topics details are available in the Flare online help system here.

These are just two techniques for chunking content in a manner that allows the user/reader to tailor the visible content to their needs. If you have another technique feel free to share in the comments section.


See us at LavaCon in San Diego

Posted in Flare, MadCap Software, Tech Comm on June 28, 2010 by Mike


The preliminary program for The LavaCon Conference on Digital Media and Content Strategies in San Diego, CA is now posted.  Learn how to publish digital content that enhances the customer experience and promotes your online brand.  Go to the Program page and vote for my session! 

Register by Tuesday, June 29th and be entered into a drawing for a free iPad.  Use the referral code MADCAP and get an additional $50 off your conference tuition!

I hope to see everyone there!

-Mike Hamilton