Monthly Archives: August 2017

Browse Sequence in MadCap Flare

A browse sequence is great if you have several topics that you want your users to view in a specific order. For example if you have a series of getting started content or recommended workflows, a browse sequence comes in handy. What happens is, when users view the compiled online Help system, they can use your browse sequences to “browse” through the topics  in order.

In a browse sequence, you can create books and links to topics, tables of contents, other browse sequences in your project, and movies. You can create these sequences manually or automatically in Flare. In this post, we’ll take a look at the manual option.

Creating a browse sequence for your online content

  1. Add a browse sequence to your project.
    1. Select Project>New>Advanced>Add Browse Sequence. The Add file screen appears.
    2. Name your BS and click Add. Your new BS opens.
    3. Once you create your BS, it is stored in the Project Organizer in the Advanced folder.
  2. Add your topics to the BS in the order you want them viewed by your users. The Browse Sequence Editor works just like the TOC editor. You can create new content from here or drag and drop existing content from Content Explorer. Using the New book option in the editor, you can even create books if you want to create a series of sequences. For example, we use these to create workflows for a large application that houses several modules. Using the book option, we create a workflow for module 1 the includes several topics representing our recommended workflow for that module. We do the same thing for the other 10 modules in the application.
  3. Once the BS is created, you need to enable it in your skin.
    1. Open the skin.
    2. On the General tab, select the Browse Sequences check box.
    3. Open your target and go to the General tab.
  4. Now you need to associate the skin and the BS with your target.
    1. Open the target and on the General tab and locate the Browse Sequence field.
    2. In the drop-down, select the BS you want used in your output.
    3. Select the Skins tab and make sure to select the skin in which you enabled the BS.
  5. Save the target and build.

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Content Strategy Q&A with Kristina Halvorson

I attended this Q&A hosted by Gather Content yesterday afternoon, and as with all Kristina Halvorson encounters, I learned some good stuff.

  • Importance of video-specific content strategies with a strong focus on consistency in word choices, voice and tone
  • Observations on “plain language”
  • Conflation of Content Strategy and Content Marketing – in a nutshell Content Marketers discover their content marketing isn’t working and in trying to figure out why decide a content strategy is needed.  Halvorson’s take – “That to me is hugely backwards.” This entire section of the Q&A is fascinating and alone worth the time of attending.

Here’s a link to the recording. In addition, host Robert Mills provided links to some of the resources mentioned during the talk.

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How to Architect Your Content Strategy

Last September I participated in the 2016 Content Marketing World conference – a great conference hosted in my hometown of Cleveland, OH. Presenting at the conference was a wonderful experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed being an attendee as well. I came home with lots of great information and my head teeming with new ideas.

A few months ago, the Content Marketing Institute published an article on my presentation – How to Architect Your Content Strategy – that I thought I’d share.

Let me know what you think…

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Automate Building & Publishing in Flare

If you’re like me, you have several Flare targets that you need to build and publish with some regularity. Our solution has been to use Flare batch targets to identify these targets then create a .bat file and use Windows Task Scheduler to set dates and times to run and publish the builds.

Thanks to a recent addition to Flare, we can now skip the .bat step and set Task Scheduler from the batch target in Flare.

  1. In the Destinations folder in Flare’s Project Organizer, create a destination for each publishing location.
  2. Create all necessary targets, making sure to set the publishing destination on the Publishing tab.
  3. Create a batch target
    1. Right click on the Targets folder
    2. Select Add Batch Target. The new batch target appears, displaying all targets in the project.
  4. Locate all targets you want to build and publish at the same time and select the Build and Publish checkbox for each.
  5. Select the Schedule tab in the Batch Target Editor.
  6. Click New and enter the days and times you want the selected targets to build and publish.

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