MadCap Flare

MadCap Flare

4.4
(219)
Optimized for quick response

MadCap Flare allows you to create, manage and publish content to a variety of formats, including print, online, desktop and mobile.

Work for MadCap Flare?

Learning about MadCap Flare?

We can help you find the solution that fits you best.

MadCap Flare Reviews

Ask MadCap Flare a Question
Write a Review
Filter Reviews
Filter Reviews
  • Ratings
  • Company Size
  • User Role
  • For Category
  • Industry
Ratings
Company Size
User Role
For Category
Industry
Showing 219 MadCap Flare reviews
LinkedIn Connections
UC
User in Computer & Network Security
Validated Reviewer
Review Source
Sign in to G2 to see what your connections have to say about MadCap Flare
Scott J.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Wow, MadCap Flare, Put Flexability back into your Documents!"

What do you like best?

Software that works and does everything I was looking for. The Support Is Fantastic and the Madcap Team are very Helpful

What do you dislike?

Nothing, it would be nice if Madcap flare had interactive Fields to produce electronic forms, but to be honest Flare Does everything I was looking for and More

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Fantastic Program, would highly recommend. Training is very important to ensure you get the maximum use. Online webinars are available and are very good. Madcap flare has dynamic help

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

SINGLE SOURCING:, being able to make changes to Multiple documents in one place (No more changing the header on 1400 documents manually!!!!!!!).

CONDITIONAL TEXT- Create one document that is a master doc, then use sections of the master to create smaller docs just by selecting the conditions.

DOCUMENT CONTROL- pre-set your templates, styles, font and tables in one place!

UPLOAD WORD DOCUMENTS- Existing documents can be uploaded, Reformatted and placed into new templates very easily and fast

What Help Authoring Tool (HAT) solution do you use?

Thanks for letting us know!
Mike K.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Flare is the only product that comes close to meeting all of my team's requirements."

What do you like best?

Flare has a fantastic snippet system. Snippets can be used either as single-sourced content that gets reused in multiple places, or as a mini-template of something that you can insert into any topic, convert to text, and then customize to fit the context.

Search and replace in All Files has been a critical feature that has helped us save hundreds of man-hours across all our users over the years.

The responsive layout editor is a needed addition to Flare, as help sites are commonly being viewed on smaller and smaller screens.

Flare makes it easy to be a *team* of technical writers working on the same set of documentation.

What do you dislike?

Flare's CSS parser is out of date, and there's no way to update or disable it. If you're using bleeding-edge CSS, the parser might throw warnings at build time or when opening files. That can be an annoyance, but it's not a show-stopper. It does, however, slow down build time.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

There is simply no better solution than Flare if you need multiple output formats, content conditioning, single-sourcing, source control integration, or context-sensitive help, all in an easy-to-use package. It doesn't get any better than this.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We are generating top-of-the-line documentation for our industry-leading SaaS offering. Without all the features available in Flare, our jobs would be much more difficult. With Flare, we can update something in the documentation and get it published to our help site immediately, which is *critical* for the users of our SaaS product.

Even though Flare can output to PDF, we're using Flare to wean our readers off PDF and switch to online help. Online help is always more up-to-date and relevant than static PDFs, and our readers are appreciating the switch.

Linda B.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Straightforward content creation, and wide variety of publication methods"

What do you like best?

The workspace is extremely customizable so you can set it up to suit your working preferred working style. It is also easy to switch between "WYSIWYG" and code views, for those who like to get hands on with their troubleshooting.

What do you dislike?

Although it supports integration with Team Foundation Server (TFS), we found it extremely clunky and convoluted to configure, and eventually had to get several layers of IT support involved. Since we (the tech writers) were able to configure our own TFS connections for other products, it isn't a function of some inherent TFS complexity, but rather the way it's set up for integration with this specific product.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

If you plan to fully integrate TFS into Flare for version control, make sure you work with the global administrator for your TFS instance from the start.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Provides the ability to create AND publish content for a wide variety of delivery methods without needing to use third party tools to publish. This allowed our tech writing team to be fully in charge of Knowledge Center content deployments without needing to go through the development team.

For more technical users, Flare also integrates well with advanced publishing tools and can be used to create fully functional web-based knowledge bases, etc.

Amy G.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Top-notch Single Sourcing Product"

What do you like best?

I like how flexible the product is. I can work directly with the html and css and bypass Flare's interface if I want. I can easily include javascript with my output. And I like that so many output types are supported. I use PDF, html5, Eclipse, and online help for the most part.

I can also edit any of the xml project files in an internal or external text editor. This lets me do a search/replace across multiple products if I want to change a parameter. I can even use Flare's internal search/replace which support regular expressions and other advanced features.

The tech support has been excellent and the online community is very active. I can usually find answers to my questions there. If I can't, the support staff is very knowledgeable.

What do you dislike?

I don't like that I can't work off of a network drive. I run Flare on a Mac using Parallels and keep my files on the Mac's file system, which is seen as a network drive by Parallels. This causes problems for me but I work around it by putting everything to our server via git so everything gets backed up nightly (my Parallels VM does not get backed up as the large binary file that is my VM is problematic in our incremental backup system.)

Speaking of git, We can't use git integration in Flare. I can't remember exactly what it was but I think it forced you to commit to the git when you deleted a file. I want to have a choice whether to commit the change now or wait until later. Git integration needs to be more flexible before we can use it. We may look at implementing it again soon. In the meantime, we are happy using SourceTree, another great product. And it's free.

I don't like how long, ugly and complicated the URLs are in the HTML5 output. It makes it harder to share links with people.

It's hard to remember where to change certain things. There are so many parts and layers to the product. But this isn't really a bad thing. It's just shows how advanced and feature-rich the product is.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Learn html and css. The better you know these protocols, the better your experience with Flare. And learn regular expressions at least a little bit.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We need to output our mainframe documentation in three formats, PDF, Eclipse plugins, and HTML. We also have Windows products that get single-sourced PDF and online help. We are able to do all of these with Flare. Many of our documentation processes are automated. Madcap Flare has a command line interface that lets us put the document build process into our scripts. When it comes time to compile, the script edits the variables of the xml target file based on parameters we set in the script so the version and release number on the cover page updates as part of the process.

Over the years, we've converted most of our MS Word documentation to Flare. One project that is mostly written by our subject matter expert must live in MS Word. For that project, we use Flare's ability to import from Word before compiling so we never actually change anything in Flare. It is used for compiling only. It required setting up the Word documents carefully so output is clean, but it is a good solution.

Caroline C.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Madcap Authoring (almost) perfection"

What do you like best?

Being able to create multiple outputs from a single source is the best feature of Flare, it makes it a lot easier creating PDFs and HTML using the conditioning. The CSS and styling is very easy to use in Flare and produces a very high quality output especially for top navigation. It is also easy to integrate javascript into the pages so that you can use different buttons and create wizards etc.

What do you dislike?

The source control in Flare is awful when using GIT integration, it is far too slow and causes major performance issues. We now source control externally. Deleting files is also very slow. I would love to see a way to version documents as this is a requirement we always get asked for.

I think the authoring reviewing process could be improved too, we still haven't found a use for Contributor. Video integration should also be improved you are very limited by what videos you can import, we use iframes.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Consider what Javascript can be integrated into Flare and use External GIT for source control

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

user assistance

troubleshooting issues

providing different outputs from a single source

Amy Tipton J.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Great tool for single-sourcing content"

What do you like best?

There are many things I like about the product, but I like ability to create different outputs from a single content source. As a writer who works mostly alone or on small teams this means I can provide different deliverables fairly quickly and easily. It seems to have endless features, so even after getting an initial project up and running you can continue to improve your projects as you get to know more and more features. Madcap staff are helpful and there is a great resource in the Madcap Flare community - they've done a great job at making sure their customers can get the best out of their product.

What do you dislike?

There is a relatively steep learning curve to Flare, so it can take a bit of time to feel like you have a handle on it.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Take advantage of the different webinars that Madcap has available, and if you're a brand-new user then taking one of the formal training sessions will get you up and running quickly.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Having a small writing team but still producing usable content that users can find directly through contextual online help, and still providing PDFs for those users who like a printed version of content.

Florence C.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"A pleasure to use after you've climbed the learning curve"

What do you like best?

After you get used to the UI, things are easy to figure out. Reordering and renaming topics are easy. The prompt that asks whether you want to update the links after you rename topics, files, etc., gives you peace of mind. You can rest assured that no links are broken due to the moving, removing, or renaming of files. Syntax errors in the CSS are detected and reported immediately so you can fix them right away.

What do you dislike?

Table formatting is not easy. If your columns are sized dynamically (i.e., not using fixed widths), under some circumstances, the words in a column might be arranged vertically with one word on each line. Editing page layout for a PDF output is clunky, especially when you want to edit the footer. You cannot apply a span style to a portion of the footer (e.g., page number). Instead, you have to use local formatting. The spell checking window should be more convenient for users who want to check particular topics. Currently you need several mouse clicks to choose a topic. It would be good to allow users to specify something like "Topics whose file names begin with an A" or "Topics that are used in the selected target." Also, UI text is too small to read and you can't magnify the text. For example, when you try to set up a destination, the UI text in the window for specifying the URL, file path, etc., contains text that's too small to read.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

You do have to have some understanding of CSS before you can use MadCap Flare. Understanding how a CSS works should be considered a prerequisite.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We need to share CSS among writers and single source content files. These can be accomplished with Flare.

Sean B.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"For me, there's no better publishing tool for Technical Writers"

What do you like best?

Single-source. Hands down. Being able to apply a snippet to multiple locations not only simplifies my work and opens up time to design other products such as the Knowledge Base. Once you learn how to use snippets and conditions correctly, updates become simple. I love this product!

Moreover, when I first started with Flare, I didn't understand css or single-sourcing, but through two visits to the MadWorld Conference and an online forum and help make Flare simple to understand.

What do you dislike?

Oh, there are various things that MadCap doesn't do - yet, but they are trivial things. If I had to pinpoint the top two things that bother me. 1) Top nav links don't yet open in a popup window. They open only in a new tab. 2) I wouldn't mind it if you could apply multiple targets to primary target, so, you can build multiple outputs while leaving out others.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

If you're a technical writer, don't even question it. Put down the phone, buy Flare, and come to MadWorld. You won't regret it.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I use Flare for once simple reason. Multiple outputs from a single source. We are an agile department, so we're running fast and low to the ground, which means we have short time between releases. I need to be able to spend my time writing, developing, and designing, while still being able to release quickly. I pushed out an end-user doc "from scratch" last week, and our VP said that one document closed a 100K deal. I couldn't have done that without Flare.

Julious D.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Works great... when it works."

What do you like best?

Easy to use- get off the ground quickly. Short learning curve- quickly master advanced skills. Feature heavy-

lots of handy and time saving features included. Conditional tagging- make content visible only when you want it. I could go on talking about it, but it is a very good program and tool when it works well. The support team is very personable and likable. I probably spent too much time working with them... but I think working with a team that truly understands the product is phenomenal. I have nothing but good things to say about the Madcap Support team.

What do you dislike?

Buggy! Bugs everywhere and no resolutions in sight... unless you upgrade to the latest version and pay cash or an ugly maintenance fee. Reporting bugs is of little consequence. The support team is great and they truly know their product... but the truth is that the company wants to push you into the newest version of the program instead of fixing issues with the older versions. I have a 2017 version that became unstable not long after my maintenance period had ended. Very frustrating and unfortunately... the only course of action I can truly take is upgrading to a newer version and hoping it remains stable for a longer period.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

The concepts Flare introduces like Single Sourcing are valuable. I wish the products were more stable, but I do like the tools.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Single Sourcing my content has saved massive amounts of time. Instead of spending time duplicating documentation you've already done, switch to single sourcing and use your content in new combinations while retaining the ability to make quick changes as needed. Rebranding content is ridiculously easy too. I have about 6-7 different brands that I use for our documentation now. Doing that in Word before was a nightmare. Most of the time I was locked in an endless cycle of updating the same documents that may have been custom branded. Now, I can spend time working on more projects and creating more documentation.

Dee V.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"My absolute favourite authoring tool for online help, pamphlet layouts and documentation"

What do you like best?

Flare is easy to use and I am able to produce spectacular results in many different layouts. I use page layouts and master pages a lot; mastery of these two areas opens up all sorts of horizons for producing documentation in print and web form. The ability to use CSS to format content makes it easier to acquire content from other systems for incorporation into Flare projects. I love the ability to produce any type of content from one single source of text, using conditions to choose what appears in each document.

I use Flare with source control which enables me to fit in with our development workflows and ensures our content is secured.

What do you dislike?

There are very few things I dislike about Flare. Usually they are niggling things like tool tips popping up when I don't really need them. In terms of layout and content management I am able to achieve everything I want to. I would maybe like to see some enhancements to the skin options for websites but this is a wish more than a need.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Don't expect to learn it all in a week. Features are easy to use but there are lots of them. Features are all easy to use but you need to understand what it is you are doing.

I would suggest joining the Flare Forums and Slack Group, there are many talented people that can help you get acquainted with Flare.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I currently work with text in many different systems including word, google docs, box docs, plain text files and confluence. I am able to easily acquire text from all of these tools and import it into flare with a simple copy and paste or by saving the text as HTML then importing the HTML into flare. This used to be a major issue for me but now it is a lot easier.

Our Video systems handle complex operations and large amounts of metadata, writing about this is a major part of my work and Flare allows me concentrate on the writing rather than having to think about how to code it all to display the way I want. In addition it is possible to produce PDF copies of the content by adding a new target and page layouts.

Many of our Engineering papers contain very complex numbering systems, the Auto Number features in Flare allow me to overcome many of the numbering issues encountered in other products I have used. I am now producing technical specifications to a high standard with this feature.

George B.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"It doesn't get more International!"

What do you like best?

It's quick, snappy and has increased documentation productivity by a significant margin. We have a Software Support contract, and the support team at absolutely top quality people, who have been a great help on many occasions. Being able to quickly and easily produce so many type of output is a major plus.

What do you dislike?

Our biggest problem is adapting to HAT terminology from being used to the likes of MS Office, but that's not really a Flare problem.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Our needs are quite diverse. The Braille software we author for, supports braille for over 140 different languages world-wide. This adds additional challenges such as grammar, spelling and such like.

One of Flare's biggest strengths is in being able to edit one Topic and know that the changes will be effected in all forms of output. It turn, the batch compile process allows us to create these multiple output types on a daily basis.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We need documentation as a .CHM, for the Web, PDF, Word, Apple Mac and (of all things) braille for the blind.

Eyal T.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Flexible, Feature-rich, Professional Tool, Reduces time spent on document creation"

What do you like best?

The ease of creating new documents out of already-created topics, as well as the professional look & feel of documents. Having it based on HTML and CSS makes it very intuitive and open.

What do you dislike?

Its integration with other targets such as its inability to export to ZenDesk knowledge base, Confluence, Jira etc.

It is currently lacking a built-in method for author-review-approve cycle.

However, with Salesforce recently added and Excel added as another import source, I feel it is on a track of adding support for additional export types.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Download a trial version and create some content.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Lowers the overall TCO of creating content. I can now produce more documents annually, produce them much faster that in the past, with a more professional look & feel.

Unlike the past, I can now update information in a single location, with no repetitive work I had to do in the past.

Steven K.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"wading through mud"

What do you like best?

The ability to use content in a way that is organised

What do you dislike?

The simplistic overselling of what the program can achieve and the time it took me to find out it's limitations, also connected with this are the problems that I thought I was having but turn out to be bugs according to your own technical support. Also the fact that the capture, which is a part of flare seems geared towards cool software people and not engineers that deal with electrical and mechanical engineering needs.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Don't believe the hype, it's a very very steep learning curve if you are coming at this from solely an independent MS word background without any experience in other products like this such as Framemaker, it's even harder if you are organising language localisation.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

The problem of using word. Flare is a better tool to organise and structure manuals

Lisa Z.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Power minus the headache"

What do you like best?

Numerous powerful features that are relatively easy to use. Also, I like that the files, including project files, are all in xml rather than a proprietary format so that if I have a need to get under the hood and tweak something I can.

What do you dislike?

It needs better support for integrating with VSO for binding to source control.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Learn CSS. Make use of MadCap's recorded webinars, especially Mike Hamilton's series on CSS. Consider training or hiring a pro to help set up your stylesheets for single-sourcing help and printed content (although you could start with a Flare template and be on your way).

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Single-sourcing is the biggest. We saved $250,000 in translation on my first project by setting up single sourcing. I'm also sharing content between help projects for a family of apps, which saves on consistency, translation, and maintaining content.

Jeremy G.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Steep Learning Curve but awesome!"

What do you like best?

Its robust and has a function for pretty much anything you can think of. I love the ability to do conditional snippets making single source authoring to multiple outputs even easier. Madcap 2019 also has the ability to take a part of your content and make it Micro-content.

What do you dislike?

If you are importing docs from MS word, you really need to make sure you clean up the formatting before pulling it into madcap. Sometimes its automation doesnt do what I want it to do. The learning curve is steep but once you figure out the basics its a really great tool.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

If purchasing this product, get the platinum support. Their CS team is excellent and have zen like patience for even the simplest of questions.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Generating content across 15 different products that are all the same but slightly different

John M.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Best and most versatile authoring tool!"

What do you like best?

I love Flare's usability. Designing a clean and modern-looking help system is easy using the skins available for the HTML5 output. We are able to design something specifically branded to our company that looks professional with minimal time spent designing. In addition, with a maintenance plan, we are quickly able to answer any questions we may have when learning about new features, or any potential issues we may run into using Flare.

What do you dislike?

The interoperability between Flare and Adobe Acrobat can sometimes be a little frustrating when trying to preview a topic using a PDF output.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Flare is the most versatile tool I've used in more than 10 years as a Technical Writer. I would recommend it above all of the other options because it's easy, it's inexpensive, and it allows you to create highly dynamic documentation for any audience, consumed on any medium.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Using Flare, we have been able to design a complex help system for a variety of audiences that is easy-to-use. Flare allows us to create more content in less time.

Jennifer P.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Excellent tool for a lone writer to produce modern documentation quickly in many different formats"

What do you like best?

What I like best about Flare is its flexibility. I can create any output (target) and I can customize it to display exactly the way I like. I can also use conditions and snippets to reuse content efficiently within and across multiple deliverables. Flare also has excellent and extensive documentation and helpful support.

What do you dislike?

I find that Flare is sometimes a bit buggy. I also don't like how index markers are not stored within the source file. This creates additional work when sending some, but not all, topics for translation.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

If you have worked with other technical writing tools, such as WebWorks or RoboHelp, you will find it easy to transition to Flare.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Flare provides a way to organize and publish content as HTML5 sites and PDFs. If you are familiar with technical writing principles, you can use Flare's features to reuse content so that you can write and maintain it efficiently. You can also create attractive, modern websites and documents, and completely customize the look and feel of any output.

U
User
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"One software for several applications"

What do you like best?

I use MadCap Flare Software instead of Word to create content for print and web outputs at the same time.

You can easily add conditions and have several output. It may be interesting if you wan to create a print and a screen output of a same document or if you have a product with several options. MadCap Flare is compatible with the other MadCap software as a translating one or a screenshot one. You can also link it to a third part versioning tool as GIT. Flare includes an easy CSS editor. You can split your screen and have both the code and the preview at the same time.Also, you can choose your device preview and have different style according to your device.

What do you dislike?

You need to have a quite powerful computer to process large HTML files. It may takes some times to open when you have a lot of images. When you unfortunately use the search and replace function in your code and that something went wrong you are not able to open it anymore. You have to open it in an editor like notepad++ and rectify it.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

By participating to online training sessions you can discover more functions that will help you.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I saved a lot of time using conditions and multiple outputs. Since 2 years that I use Flare I'm more confident with HTML. It avoid to have duplicated content and have a version not updated or with errors.

Chris M.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"MadCap Flare can do it all!"

What do you like best?

Flare's ability to output in so many formats, such as HTML5, Word, PDF, etc. The ability to produce Top Navigation online help that looks professional.

What do you dislike?

I'm not sure how much of this is due to Flare or MS Word, however there are times in which my Word output was not providing me with the output it provided me previously. I believe this occurred following a Flare upgrade from v11 to v12. My suggestion would be to heavily test the output of all formats, especially Word before releasing a new version.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

If you have never used a tool of this caliber (Robohelp, Frame, etc.), don't have experience with HTML, css, masterpages, skins, pagelayouts, etc., buy Flare (or the entire suite), at least the Bronze level tech support, and the best books available for beginners. Take the time to really learn Flare. After you completed all the lessons in the book, have read and posted on the MadCap Forums, asked MadCap tech support many questions, and feel as though you're past the beginner stage, take a Flare course from MadCap. If you want to go deeper, buy books or take courses on css. Lastly, go to every MadWorld conference, even if your company won't pay for it. The level of information presented at MadWorld and the willingness of the users to share their knowledge and help is well worth the price of admission. Realize that it will take time to fully learn Flare. Knowledge of tools is very important in order to be marketable. Flare is one of the top three tools you want to have in your toolkit, and that won't change for a very long time.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We're able to collaborate on one project as a team. Using GIT and Bitbucket as our repository, we can even work on the same content simultaneously. We are able to very quickly output MS Word files for SMEs to review. It's quick and easy to output in HTML5 and keep our online help that resides on an internal URL up to date for our customers.

Vidya S.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Fantastic Software for Tech Writers"

What do you like best?

Single sourcing

Flexibility in managing templates and styles

HTML5 templates

Top Nav functionality

What do you dislike?

Integration with TFS

Issues with formatting tables

Recommendations to others considering the product:

I definitely recommend Flare for anyone with the following requirements:

- HTML5 output and responsive design

- Single sourcing

- Managing multiple projects

- Large number of projects

- Large projects (typically with thousands of topics)

The learning curve may be high initially, but the help and resources available on MadCap's web site are excellent. The website provides many examples for HTML5 projects.

The only areas where Flare seems to be lacking are:

- Integration with TFS: We have had recurring issues with check ins particularly losing our changes after a successful check in .

- Table formatting: We have had issues with tables re-sizing automatically. Flare tends to add a lot of additional code to the basic HTML for table.

- Table Styles: The table stylesheet editor should be extended similar to the Stylesheet Editor. It should provide for additional formatting options.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Easy to manage large projects in Flare

Ability to set up a Master Project and use it across multiple projects

Amy G.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"A single-sourcing HAT with lots of features"

What do you like best?

* HTML and CSS based design.

* Support for including custom javascript.

* Lots of output choices such as HTML5, CHM, PDF, and Eclipse.

* Advanced search/replace with regular expression support.

* Snippets for content reuse.

* Expand/collapse

* Tech support is superb. We have the lowest level (Bronze) and still we are very pleased with the response time and level of support.

What do you dislike?

* Git integration could be better. When project is bound to Git, certain operations automatically do a Git commit (like deleting files). It wants to edit your .gitignore file and I don't know how to prevent that. There are also Git commands missing from the Git integration so we prefer to use a third-party tool for Git operations.

* Certain anomalies cause problems when importing from Microsoft Word. I have worked around most of these problems and have submitted bug reports for others.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Learn HTML and CSS if you don't already know them. They are vital to using this product.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

* Single-sourcing. Pretty much all of our products need documentation in several formats. With Flare, we can output to many different formats with a single operation.

* Eclipse output. We used to use MS Word and Doc-to-Help to output our mainframe product documentation in Eclipse format for integration into IBM's Knowledge Center. Now most of our products are authored in Flare and we output PDF, HTML5 and Eclipse all from Flare. One product has documentation in Word so the SME can work on it himself. We checked an option in the Flare target so that Flare reimports the Word file each time before it builds the books in each format. The process now works seamlessly

* Automation. We use Windows batch scripts to build the books. Before the script does the build (madbuild command), we use a command line text editing tool to edit the variables/targets to change release numbers and dates. This way, our process is completely automated. We never need to go into the Flare GUI at build time.

Sarah T.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Robust program with lots of opportunities...a solid choice for someone looking for a Knowledge Base "

What do you like best?

I enjoy the layout of the final product. I like the ease of the functionality once you get used to it. Love the integrated responsive design options. I like the quick and easy way to add in key-words. The help options are very accessible with lots of content.

What do you dislike?

Some struggles around 'sharing' the file for access since recommendation for speed is to store project locally; not ideal when trying to post on a network site/drive. Learning curve is a little more elevated around this tool; as it employs 'templates' rather than Microsoft-Word-like shortcuts for formatting. I do not enjoy the lack of month-to-month billing options or the fact that we have no viable 'export' option to move content into other programs (without significant re-work). Publishing has been challenging from time-to-time due to how we are publishing the content to a public URL. Nothing I haven't been able to overcome.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Need to have someone dedicated to learning/using the tool on a team. Good tool but not necessarily the most intuitive. Training offered initially was excellent and very helpful when you follow the practice items assigned.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Knowledge Base usage; lots of opportunity for good organization robust options when you get into the program deeply. We are not using it nearly to the capability of what is possible; however, for our purposes it has been a good 'Knowledge Base' tool and is far more robust than the 'add-on' Help features that can be created in other programs.

Ruth H.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Fabulous, flexible, accessible"

What do you like best?

Single sourcing multiple TOCs and targets from the same content to generate multi-format outputs quickly and reliably.

We've converted all our corporate doc source to Flare from multiple legacy tools, everything is in reliable, predictable format with a tool that all writers know how to use. This means we can transfer team members between projects without worrying about who is skilled in which doc tools.

We are now also able to build ALL our doc output automatically using the command line tools integrated with Atlassian Bamboo. Whenever someone edits a doc source file and checks into source control, a build runs and all the outputs of that project are regenerated.

We also have integrated project outputs into a single internal help center so all corporate product help is available to internal customers in one place; searchable, accessible, a great and much appreciated resource that benefits the whole company.

What do you dislike?

I really wish that opening a TOC would use the same UI panel that I used last time for a TOC, instead it always opens in the main content viewer panel. But that very minor usability irritation is as bad as it gets!

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Go for it!

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

SIngle-sourcing, SME contribution, corporate standardization of styles using template project, automation of PDF creation.

Craig W.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Good product, but has some limitations"

What do you like best?

Good authoring environment - easy to pick up.

Content reuse features - conditional text, snippets (my favourite), and variables make it easy to write content once and reuse it in different topics with variations where needed.

Content reuse features make it quicker and easier to create a suite of documentation for similar products.

Decent layout editor for PDF outputs.

Good CSS editor for those who are uncomfortable with editing CSS as code.

The best HAT I have used.

What do you dislike?

Limited options for HTML5 layouts (no side menu for toc without customisation being the main one).

The fact that it is just a HAT and lacks the features of certain CMS authoring tools I also use (built-in version control, user accounts, translation management, etc.).

Lack of support for exporting to customer support systems such as Zendesk.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Look at some of the CMS authoring tools and XML authoring tools and weigh up the pros and cons in terms of features and cost. With Flare, you may also need other tools for managing translations, version control etc., whereas some products have that built-in.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I have used Flare on many projects and the main benefits have been related to content reuse. I've been able to create and manage the documentation for a suite of products much more quickly, as much of the content is written once and shared between the product documents. On another project, snippets gave the clients much better control of their documentation, especially with staff contact details - I was able to create a central collection of the contact details as snippets, which were easy to maintain.

Duncan W.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Efficiency in production and a great UI"

What do you like best?

Flare supplies all the functionality I need within a well designed UI that makes me more efficient in my role. Flare is stable product and has never bombed out during builds which is a key point for me, reliability.

What do you dislike?

Dislike is a strong word. There's always room for improvement though but Flare have good after sales support. One thing that they could improve is notification of fixes around bugs logged by clients. I've raised a few issues over the years but its not clear whether these items have been fixed. For example when users of the applications I work with raise issues we always contact them directly when their issue has been resolved with information on the version containing the fix.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

The upgrade process from your current authoring software to Flare should be carefully considered and planned before committing. Upgrade paths are well supported by Flare in terms of options within the product itself and their Support team, before, during and after purchasing Flare.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Single sourcing and greater efficiency in content creation.

Henrico B.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Really the best authoring tool"

What do you like best?

For me the big pluses are the clear separation between content and style, the way the style sheet work (you can get really everything the way you want it), the single sourcing, the fact that it is built up of HTM-files and the easy and clear way projects are organised.

Then there is Mad Pak, with all the tools working perfectly together, like Capture, Mimic, Lingo and Analyzer.

What do you dislike?

Nothing really. One thing could be a problem: When tyou want to write a quick note, it's quicker done in Word than in Flare, but then again: Flae isn't meant to be used for quick notes.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

In the Netherlands, translation agencies doe not use MadCap Lingo. Therefore you can not send the entire project to have it translated. What I do, is gather the text ot be translated in Word, have that tranlated, and then import it in Lingo / Flare.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We've got a better consistency in our manuals, because text and paragraphs and topics and style sheets are reused every time. Translation has got a lot easier.

Gary D.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Flexible Authoring and Output"

What do you like best?

In short, I like the many options available for the ways I need to create and output my documentation. The topic based authoring allows me to break down a document in whatever size parts a document requires. If I plan on several different outputs using only selected parts for each, I can apply conditions to the topics to direct them to only the outputs that apply.

What do you dislike?

Like any deep application with a lot to learn Flare has a long learning curve. This isn't something you pick up overnight. But, MadCap provides a support system with many resources to help you determine the solutions you need as an individual. From their many webinars to the user forums there are experts and novices helping one another to achieve their goals in technical communication.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

If you don't know the basics of CSS it would be beneficial to start with the webinars and the Flare CSS guide first. I knew nothing about it when I first started. Two weeks later I was customizing a global template that I'm still using today.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Probably the number one benefit for me is the vast flexibility I have at my disposal that allows me to quickly plan for not only immediate needs but to be able to look toward possible solutions to future needs.

I
Industry Analyst / Tech Writer
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Heavyweight tool set"

What do you like best?

Range of functionality -- lots of output options. Madcap does actively maintain and improve the product. Since I have started using it, they have introduced some major performance improvements. I do like that they continue to invest in addressing concerns of the user base.

What do you dislike?

Performance, especially with larger (500+ topics) help projects when used in conjunction with source control can give you that underwater feeling. Could use more robust search and replace. I find it hard to restructure a large existing TOC because it takes so long to open and move items around in a Flare project.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Flare can be very slow, especially when you have a lot of topics. If you are planning to convert existing help systems from some other tool to Flare, I would heartily recommend you do as much developmental editing outside of Flare, before you bring content in. Cut as much content as you can before bringing it in. Once you bring content in, it can be difficult to combine, break apart, and move content around, especially if you are using source control.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Content reuse between output types. Version control. Managed template development.

UC
User in Computer Software
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"An extremely capable and highly versatile collaborative tool for those who take the time to learn it"

What do you like best?

There's so much it can do. Between the WISIWYG XML editor and straight-up HTML editing within a document, creating and editing our help site is pretty simple, at least at first glance. Linking a page up with a top-nav UI and integrating a table of contents makes managing even projects with several dozen (if not hundreds) of different topic pages bearable.

Collaboration between me and my boss on several projects has been pretty easy as well. In just a few clicks, I can get the latest files from him and pick up where he left off, and vice-versa.

Being able to preview your output targets in multiple document formats and web browsers is very helpful, too!

Repurposing content is relatively easy and efficient once you figure out all the tricks at your disposal.

What do you dislike?

There are occasionally random glitches that prevent me from saving my work- usually it's because the project directory gets automaticaly switched to "read-only". I'm not sure why this happens; while it's not tough to fix now it's a terrible bother. Also, why did the ability to "pin" the table of contents panel to the side of the window by default go away? Again it's not terribly tough to remedy, but it's annoying when I have to find the TOCs tab and re-affix it to the side panels every time I launch the app, even after saving my default project layout.

Learning curve was a little steep- still discovering how to use some of the features!

Recommendations to others considering the product:

If you're on the fence about whether to use Flare or another documentation utility, you owe it to yourself to at least give Flare a test run. Repurposing and reformatting existing content between web and print is a huge time-saver!

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Flare is providing us an effective means to quickly provide online help content and end-user documentation for the many thousands of users accessing our software on a daily basis. Updates to help, e-learning course instructions, and weekly release notes have been totally streamlined.

Jen W.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Awesome, Flexible Single Sourcing and Content Development"

What do you like best?

My Favorite Things:

Starter templates that get you going from the moment you begin a new project

The execution of reusable elements such as conditions, variables, and snippets.

Several source control systems to choose from, including Git and Subversion

Out-of-the box HTML5 templates and ability to produce a functioning knowledge base or help site (really any kind of site) without tinkering with a thousand settings

Madcap Analyzer to automate tasks that normally take forever

One of the best and most passionate communities, from Madcap Software support to the user forums and groups

What do you dislike?

Areas of Opportunity:

Additional options for collaboration with non Flare users and/or the ability to publish to additional forums like Confluence etc. directly

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Disjointed content sources, astounding numbers of random Word styles and templates. We haven't realized benefits for our current problems yet but previously we were able to realize cost savings and time to develop, publish, and distribute user content due to Flare's single sourcing capabilities.

Chris B.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"A good product that has dramatically improved the quality of the content"

What do you like best?

Being able to reuse content and produce multiple different types of outputs with just a few clicks. Plus the ability to insert variables in content, titles, and even file names is powerful. Plus it integrates with TFS so everything is backed up and versioned properly without being a technical nightmare. I've also found Capture to be an unsung hero of Flare. The ability to quickly and easily take screenshots and integrate them into a topic is a real time saver.

What do you dislike?

We have a very large project and sometimes it is difficult to keep things organized.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

The leader in the industry to be sure. Great customer support. Recent updates have really enhanced the product and made generating output much faster.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I was able to move the documentation online and dramatically improve the consistency of the content through reuse of content snippets, while still being able to generate PDF documents of the same content. Basically it allows me to do the work of three technical writers. I can quickly update product names through the use of variables or produce particular content for different users by using conditional text. All the difficulties of maintaining and coding a website are handled by Flare allowing me to focus on content generation, but at the same time Flare uses standard technologies like XML, HTML JavaScript, etc so that if I do have special needs I can dive into the underlying code and tinker.

I
Industry Analyst / Tech Writer
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"You Always Hurt the Ones You Love the Most"

What do you like best?

Despite an intense learning curve, Flare does deliver on its single sourcing promise. If you are thinking about moving toward XML to get single sourcing capability, just go directly to Flare and skip all the writing of transforms and DTDs.

Many people have already well described the benefits of this app and I do not disagree with them. I wouldn't recommend anything else over Flare for online help and desktop publishing. However...

What do you dislike?

Despite its effectiveness, Flare is not without its issues. None of these should stop you from using Flare, because there is no other app that will do it all for you, but:

The error handling has always been horrible. When you eventually encounter an issue (usually the parser choking on some unexpected value) you will get a generic Dot Net error that will tell you nothing about the source of the error. Just set aside four hours of your day to figure it out.

You can't disable inline formatting in the interface, despite Flare's own trainers (rightfully) telling you to never use it.

The source control comparison tool is impossible to use or understand and the icons in it are about two pixels wide.

CSS styling will not always behave the same between print and online outputs. You have to have two style sheets and in some instances have multiple versions of otherwise identical content. There are still single sourcing ways to do this but they will make you grit your teeth.

The XML WYSIWYG authoring interface is always a a few years behind with CSS. Fancy CSS will work in your outputs but might turn your WYSIWYG into an unusable mess in some topics (you will have to edit some or all of the content in the code view in those files).

There is no way to maintain "two column" styles inside of list items (e.g. procedural steps) that agrees with web code conventions, you must use tables. Floats will only work in online outputs. Float results in PDF targets are dodgy.

You cannot reference step numbers without changing all list items to specially formatted numbered paragraphs that fill your HTML code with invisible tables on output. If you want to use Ordered Lists like you should, you just have to accept you will never have automatic step number cross references. You can, however, do many other wonderful things with cross references.

The WYSIWYG lets your writers put text inside dynamic elements like cross references in such a way that you will find whole paragraphs missing because it was accidentally written into a cross reference that gets dynamically regenerated at build time.

There is no way to prevent SMEs from printing their own revisions of documents and running off to the printer, so don't expect Flare to help you control your revision history.

There is no way to fall back to an old revision of a document unless you make archives of your entire project after each document revision. I have projects with gigs of assets so this is unsustainable.

Flare cannot handle encoded PNGs in your code and may break them at build time.

Much of what I dislike is actually with the companion applications. While this review is supposed to be about Flare, you might be looking at the other apps that go along with it for your needs:

The Salesforce Knowledge publishing module is a house of cards and does not support translated content. It is extremely easy to break a single source file and therefore destroy all of the links to your source content and the published knowledge articles. This cannot be fixed and you must either give up on publishing future updates to those KB articles or delete all the articles in SFDC and start over.

Capture is free with Flare! But the interface hates freedom. Unless you need to apply conditionalization inside your images or will go all the way with callouts separate from image files (ideally, you should), just use something else for screen captures/image edits.

Contributor has just as high a learning curve as Flare but only 20% of the features. In 8 years of trying I have never once successfully deployed Contributor to an SME. We just give up and buy them Flare or let them markup a PDF.

Madcap Central is extremely expensive and still does not allow you to build a workflow among your team. You can make assignments, but they are not linked to the files in your project so you may as well have just put the assignments in something else that provides analytics and reports. You barely get any webserver space for what you pay.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Just in time knowledge for field personnel, standard work knowledge base, training guides, customer usage guides.

Joe B.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Great authoring tool, very adaptable to a lot of enviroments"

What do you like best?

The openness of the file structure is great, if you want to do super custom projects, thats perfectly doable. But on the other hand, if you need a quick output, you can use a template and get rolling in no time at all. The single sourcing capabilities are second to none, being able to use snippets, variables and topic templates throughout multiple output mediums and still keep the project in a maintainable state is amazing.

What do you dislike?

Performance is not so great. Running on a top specification machine like a razorblade or Macbook Pro (bootcamp) and Flare still consumes a lot of memory and utilises the GPU during compiling so this creates extra heat and noise. Flare can be prone to crash occasionally due to the high memory usage. The text editor could do with improvement, as it is not as feature rich as third party editors. This is only really an issue if you like to work directly in the source code.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We have solved our issue of out of date documentation by designing some process that enable us to work in development branches and push out small documentation updates in parallel with larger re-designs. Integrating translation and highly custom web designs is now a much easier process. We track a lot of user data via google analytics integration which directly drives content development.

Isabelle G.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"A complete easy-to-use solution for tech writing"

What do you like best?

Globally easy to use and great support team.

What do you dislike?

The search tool is not working fine. It is not powerful enough. For search and replace, I prefer to use an external tool such as Sublime Text., above all when using regular expressions.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

As an authoring tool, Flare is a complete solution. I managed the migration on my own. It went pretty smoothly. The biggest "hassle" was setting up the masterpages for the online help and page layouts for PDF. But it's not that difficult. And the support was always very reactive. I've never stayed stuck on an issue for too long, which made my migration fast and pretty smooth.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We switched to Madcap when clients started to ask for PDFs in addition to the online documentation. Madcap PDF outputs were much cleaner.

As the tech writer, I was also willing to get a writing tool offering "saving time' options such as conditions, snippets... these options also improve the documentation consistency.

Steven John P.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Save time and money; write with a superb single-sourcing product "

What do you like best?

I find Flare easy to use once you get started. I like being able to reuse my writing in single-source text. At present, my work is produced for print output, but it's great to know that Flare supports other outputs, e.g. web-based, which I know my company is aiming for in the very near future with plans for a web-portal. I use Flare with source control (TFS) which ensures my content is always securely updated.

What do you dislike?

I am less positive regarding Capture (Flares screen capturing and image editing add-on). I find it a little frustrating to work with. Especially when something as simple as adding arrows and symbols to an existing illustration can be less straightforward.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Try it, you will be surprised. Once you've learned the basics, you will be off and away and can return to writing/publishing documents with a professional look and feel to them.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Using Flare reduces the amount of time wasted producing documents in editing programmes that do not support the advantages that Flare can offer. Our company has lots of existing text in Word which easily can be imported into Flare. Since Flare uses single-sourcing it eliminates duplicate work and helps me to reuse existing data, which saves us time and money.

We have several types of manuals, such as user manuals, spare parts manuals, data sheets and with several more types on the agenda for the near future: Flare gives us the upper hand. In conclusion, Flare helps us to keep costs down and update with far less repetitive procedures.

Hila T.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Great Product with Amazing Output"

What do you like best?

MadCap Flare not only helps us organize technical documentation, but ensures that the final product we deliver is outstanding. With the help of conditional text, I can have one master project and build multiple outputs for different customer requirements. It's amazing what the final product looks like, and the reviews I receive are even more satisfying.

What do you dislike?

There's nothing I dislike, but there is something to take in mind when working with MadCap Flare - and that is to have a very powerful PC to withstand the RAM that Flare requires.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Don't be afraid to try new things in MadCap Flare. If you run into any problems, the forums online are great and answer almost any question you may have. Furthermore, MadCap's support is extremely helpful in answering anything you encounter.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

The best problem is the fact that one document needs to be provided to different customers. With MadCap Flare I can build multiple outputs out of one project with a few predefined settings, and answer the customers' needs. Moreover, the HTML output is so impressive that everyone is amazed at my work.

Amanda J. W.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Content made powerful - MadPak Professional Suite is the way to go"

What do you like best?

My favorite thing is the single-sourcing. I just finished writing a small internal training document, which I used to explain the principles of Flare to my SMEs. I want them to use Contributor more often and to move away from working solely in Word. As I described all the single-sourcing principles and how our content is being converted from a linear format into a modular one, how this separates the content from the formatting, I could see that all the scientists quickly saw the value of this approach. I am also able to convince them to use it now that there are equations available.

What do you dislike?

I find the PDF TOC set up confusing at times, where the heading levels are difficult to manage. I have to remember to set up the different mediums to accommodate this, and this impacts the mini TOC structure. I also struggle a lot with tables. I have very long tables and want to be able to have scrolling headers. I have had to fiddle a lot with external code and I continue to find it difficult to fix this so the columns and the header widths match one another. These features are the ones I spend the most time on trying to improve.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Love the product. Spent years (unsuccessfully) trying to convince previous employers of the value. Now I am at the best company and they value this software as well.

As in the title, I suggest getting the MadPak Technical Suite. I use Analyzer and Capture a lot and both are valuable extras. Contributor is also necessary if you have subject matter experts (SMEs) who contribute content. Basically, if you need to convert content to be able to single source it and to produce multiple outputs quickly, you don't need to be an expert. Within the first six months of my employment I was able to wow my new employers and the customers with the first version of the online help, simply by importing Word documents and applying some basic formatting and features.

The following is my recommendation about the workflow and implementation of Contributor as part of that for a small company (not relevant for medium to large). I am the sole technical writer with around 7 SMEs willing to contribute content. We are a small company so I needed to spend a lot of time initially setting things up and understanding the program before implementing a workflow with Contributor. I am still not an expert (2.5 years on) and I plan over time to implement more of the advanced features (e.g. browse sequences) and we have a lot of other plans for how we would like to reuse the content. I purchased some floating licenses for Contributor last year thinking it would be easy to get my SMEs to contribute...but it was premature because I didn't have time to implement a workflow. So, buy MadPak with Contributor and find someone to help you set up a work flow (time is the issue not willingness) before adding floating or standard licenses.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We are a software company with a complex product. My original business problem when I started working here was that the customer only received PDFs of the content. I was able to quickly implement the use of Flare to transform this content into an online help. That solved a big problem at the beginning and we have a yearly customer survey that clearly indicates that people like this feature. Another business problem that is not quite solved but on the way to being solved..is setting up a workflow with the SMEs so they use Contributor to provide content that can then be edited and integrated into the help. This is integral to us moving forward because the content requires the input from SMEs, especially theory and equations.

Derek W.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"THE Tool for the Modern Tech Writer"

What do you like best?

Flare is both feature-packed and flexible. If you’re starting with existing content, you can import and publish to all of the most common print and electronic formats right out of the Flare box with little to no configuration. Yet when you either want or need to customize the output, Flare gives you full access to the underlying HTML and CSS code. In today’s world, anybody tasked with publishing content in print or digital formats without the luxury of a dedicated Tools Team woul Be hardpressed to find a more rich, and yet easy solution than Flare.

What do you dislike?

Compared to yesterday’s doc Tools, Flare is still oh so young. I’ve been using Flare since version 4; Madcap has proven its commitment to continuous improvement. But there are old bugs that need to die. None that I know of are show stoppers; just annoying. And they are getting addressed over time. One example: launch Flare on your laptop; then plug in a hi-Rez second monitor and move Flare to it. Without restarting Flare, the window size can’t adjust to utilize the increased real estate. All other software I have has no problem with this. Ugh.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Of course you need to consider your own requirements. There are many important questions to ask before you jump. But I’ve implemented Flare now at four different companies, replacing existing tools that were severely limited and in the end significantly reducing overhead and increasing quality. Id definitely include Flare in your evaluation process.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Some customers require print; others only want doc online. And our Support team relies heavily on our hosted Doc Portal content (routinely sending doc URLs to customers). In today’s reality where doc QA (editors and doc testers) and dedicated doc tools teams are nearly extinct, Flare, combined with a strong content model, makes it possible for a small doc team to accomplish the work of many.

I
Industry Analyst / Tech Writer
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"MadCap Flare - the best tool for HTML5 documentation projects"

What do you like best?

Makes managing large projects possible. It is reasonably easy to reuse content multiple times across a project. Being able to link multiple projects at build time is a godsend when your product is complex.

What do you dislike?

Rather resource intensive. Style editing is a bit hodgepodge. MadCap seems to change how image styles are applied between versions so there is no consistency in your code, making mass search and replace impossible if you need to make an update across a whole project.

Linking of projects is a massive mess if you need to link to specific pages from a different project (instead of just dumping a whole project into the ToC of another project's output). The solution we found that worked was a hackjob of hand coding relative links to where the target page should live, which is a terrible solution to maintain.

Their support is a bit crap. We have an issue with searching breaking, and their support just gave up helping us because they couldn't figure it out. Through extensive testing on my end I eventually found out what was causing the problem (combination of multiple authors and multiple projects in a build), but it's a complete joke that MadCap's support just stop helping us when we have given them clear information on what the problem was, our whole Flare projects and examples of working and broken outputs.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Run a trial with realistic content to ensure that it meets your needs.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Managing complex projects with hundreds of topics would be impossible without it. I can separate products into separate projects with content that is common across versions and countries, and other content flagged as version specific, and Flare will automatically pull everything together into separate builds customised to the target audience.

Larisa D.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Powerful but pretty easy to use tool to manage multiple types of output"

What do you like best?

I like that you can tag content to be released at a specific time so that you can work ahead of the current release. I also like that you get a pretty good idea of what it will look like in the WSIWIG view and can preview your content of a topic with different conditions and output targets. I also like that I can use Analytics to make the project itself run better and reduce redundancies in content.

What do you dislike?

While going to a PDF target produces good results, if you have to go to Word, it is not as smooth and requires more manual intervention to get a finished version. Does not work allow seamless source control with GIT from within the project itself.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Allows multiple writers to work in the same project, reducing the possibility of multiple writers working on the same thing. Also allows text to be reused via snippets and variables so that consistency is improved.

Kathy B.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"I recommend Flare all the time"

What do you like best?

What I love most about Flare is the fact that I can create the content once -- and then generate multiple forms of output for multiple people or roles. I can create Kindle-compatible ePub e-books, PDFs, or Microsoft Word documents. I can create HTML5 top-down navigation with a contemporary look and feel.

What do you dislike?

I dislike that the Help is online; I would prefer an offline version that is accessible even when I have no Internet connection. In addition, I sometimes find that the Help doesn't tackle a topic at all, and when I search the Flare boards online, I find little to no helpful information.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

I have spent the last two years telling multiple people about this product. I am so happy with it in comparison to our previous tool that I have become a product evangelist.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I am able to generate modern, easily accessible content for our end users and also for our trainers. I can create a single-topic output for a specific item we need to share with our customers. I can include our release notes within the overall Help document. In addition, I'm able to provide a single link to our customer base to look online and find the Help they need. They can even download a "detached" (offline) version to use any time.

Kim W.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Reusability and Versioning Capabilities"

What do you like best?

The best part of MadCap Flare is that everything can be created as separate Topics, so you can easily reuse portions from one guide in other guides as well...with little to no changes depending on the content being reused. You can also label entire Topics as 'conditional text' or pick out specific words/sentences within a Topic to mark as conditional, so when a new version is released but you still need to maintain the guide for the previous version you just highlight which text should be the old vs new version and can easily keep up two different guides all within the same document.

Style Sheets also help greatly with standardization of documents...making sure all headers, sub-headers, paragraphs etc. have the same look to them no matter who is creating them.

What do you dislike?

For someone that does not know CSS or HTML it was a pretty tough learning curve, and not everything was intuitive...for the first few projects we crept past deadlines because certain aspects looked correct in Flare but not when actually generating it as the final PDF, and determining what settings/changes needed to be made to correct it was a lot of trial and error.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

Go through training from MadCap...we were only able to send one person and they are so knowledgeable on troubleshooting now but the rest of us tend to struggle more.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Conditional Text is huge, since we are a software company and have new releases that are rolled out in phases. This option lets us support multiple guide versions efficiently.

Jason M.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Technical Authoring powerhouse!"

What do you like best?

Madcap Flare is a technical authoring powerhouse! The feature-set that ships natively with this product enable, with relative ease-of-use, single-sourcing, multi-format multi-platform outputs, integration with mainstream source control mechanisms, context sensitive help, and a myriad of other functions including integration with Google Custom Search for more powerful text search capabilities. Highly versatile - highly recommended!

What do you dislike?

It natively lacks a self-contained way to create and enforce a workflow (plan > write > review > signoff > publish) across a team or a project.

Recommendations to others considering the product:

The best way to trial the product is to define the pain-points/limitations you currently have in your existing tool and then get to create an actual project import one of your existing artefacts as pilot project. This way you can compare the effort you needed to migrate all your existing content into flare projects and whether the current limitations are overcome with acceptable effort and to your satisfaction by Flare.

What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Single sourcing/content re-use capabilities help minimise effort needed to maintain a steady release cadence in a repeatable and dependable manner

US
User in Staffing and Recruiting
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source