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

STC Summit 2010 in Dallas

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

It is hard to believe that it is time again for the big STC show of the year. Where have the last twelve months gone?!

MadCap will be running our in booth theater again this year and I wanted to post the schedule here for those who might want to see some of the sessions.

NOTE: We are very careful to make sure that these sessions never directly conflict with any official STC session times. These are held during exhibit only hours, or during the break periods.

MadCap Presentation Schedule

Monday, May 4
Time Location Activity
10:30 Exhibit Hall The Exhibit Hall Opens
10:40 – 11:00 MadCap Booth MadCap Flare Demo – What’s New in Flare Version 6
Mike Hamilton
11:10 – 11:30 MadCap Booth Publishing to Mobile Devices with Flare 6
Neil Perlin, Hyper/Word Services, Industry Expert
11:40 – 12:00 MadCap Booth My Favorite Features –
Through the Eyes of a Tech Writer 
Paul Stoecklein
1:00 – 1:20 MadCap Booth Advanced Topic Linking Using Relationship Tables in Flare
Neal Pozner
2:35 – 2:55 MadCap Booth The Coolest Cross-References You Will Ever See –
Advanced Linking in Flare
Paul Stoecklein
4:30 – 5:30 Vendor
Showcase Theater
MadCap Software Product Family Overview
Mike Hamilton
6:00 Exhibit Hall The Exhibit Hall Closes
Tuesday, May 5
Time Location Activity
9:00 Exhibit Hall The Exhibit Hall Opens
9:45 – 10:45 Vendor
Showcase Theater
MadCap Flare – In Depth Live Demonstration
Mike Hamilton
1:00 – 1:20 MadCap Booth Merging Multiple Flare Projects –
Modularized Content By Design
Neal Pozner
2:35 – 2:55 MadCap Booth More of My Favorite Features –
Through the Eyes of a Tech Writer 
Paul Stoecklein
4:35 – 4:55 MadCap Booth MadCap Software Product Line Overview  
Mike Hamilton
5:00 Exhibit Hall The Exhibit Hall Closes

You can also download a printable PDF version of this schedule STC2010-Handout.

See you in Dallas!


Where Has Mike Been?

Posted in Flare, MadCap Software on April 28, 2010 by Mike

I both love and hate this time of year.

It is great to see so many customers at the trade shows and events but I feel like a rolling stone for the months of March, April, and May.

Most recently I was in Europe doing some training classes in London, exhibiting at the STC show in Paris, and then working with our partner PDS in the Netherlands. Oh, yes, there was also some volcano excitement going at the time. :0)

I’m happy to report that I have made it back to California with no volcanic ash on me to speak of and I’m in the final preparations for heading off to Dallas for the STC Summit (oh joy, another airplane). If you will be at the STC show then make sure to come by the MadCap booth and say hi. We will be tough to miss as we will have the big MadCap theater up and running in the booth again. Stay tuned, I’ll post the booth schedule in a few minutes.


When a Tech Writer Paints an Airplane

Posted in Tech Comm on March 23, 2010 by Mike

Callouts and more callouts:

Full post here:

MadCap Flare on Mac OS X (virtually)

Posted in Flare, MadCap Software, Tech Comm on January 29, 2010 by Mike

A Flare user made the switch to Mac and took Flare with them.