As soon as you start a project, you can do any number of things with it. Technically, you could build the final output immediately. However, if it is a new project, building the output right away would not do your end users much good, since the output does not yet have any real substance. The project needs topics, content, cross-references, navigation, and all of the other elements necessary to help your end users.
Following is a list of elements and objects that you can create and insert into your Flare project.
- Topics Read more… A topic is simply a chunk of information about a particular subject. Topics are the most important part of a Flare project. Everything else is contained within topics (e.g., cross-references, text, images) or points toward topics (e.g., tables of contents, indexes
, browse sequences). The very reason end users open a Help system ormanual is to find information, a little direction. They find that help within individual topics. See About Topics.
- Equations Read more… Flare supports equations written in Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) and LaTeX. After you've created an equation, you can then copy and paste it into Flare's editor. This gives you more flexibility to use the editor and format you want. Once you add an equation into your project, Flare uses MathJax to render it.
See About Equations.
- Footnotes Read more… A footnote is a comment that is used to explain a specific area of the text.
It is used primarily for print-based output.Both the area in the text and the comment contain a number or symbol that ties the two together. A footnote comment is typically placed at the end of a page where the corresponding number or symbol is placed in the text. Otherwise, you can place a comment later in the manual, such as at the end of a document, chapter, section, or book; in this case, the comment is usually referred to as an endnote. See About Footnotes.
- Glossaries Read more… A glossary is a feature that you can add to your output to help users understand the meaning of individual terms.
You can include a glossary in both online and print-based output.See About Glossaries.
- Images Read more… You can insert images into
content files (e.g., topics, snippets). Flare supports the following types of raster and vector image files: BMP, EMF, EPS, EXPS, GIF, HDP, JPG, JPEG, PDF, PNG, PS, SVG, SWF, TIF, TIFF, WDP, WMF, XAML, XPS. See About Images.
- Indexes Read more… You can include an index in your output through the use of index keywords. An Index proxy is also necessary for print-based outputs. Unlike some features in Flare, there is no independent index file in your project that becomes the index in your output. Instead, the index is automatically generated when you build output, based on index keywords that you insert into content files in your project. See About Indexes.
- Master Pages Read more… A master page is an element that you can create in your project in order to apply certain content to multiple topics. A master page is primarily used in online outputs, but it can be used in Word and FrameMaker outputs as well. Depending on the output type, you might use a master page in online output to apply features such as breadcrumbs, menus, toolbars, search bars, mini-TOCs, or footer text to multiple topics, or even all topics in a target. For Word and FrameMaker output, a master page allows you to determine page specifications (such as size or orientation) and to apply certain content (such as header text or page numbers) to many topics in a manual. For print-based outputs other than Word and FrameMaker, page layouts are used instead of master pages. See About Master Pages.
- Multimedia Read more… Flare allows you to include various kinds of multimedia elements in your output, including video, audio, and 3D models. See About Multimedia.
- Navigation and Links Read more… In Flare, you can add several types of elements to help with navigation, such as tables of contents (TOCs) and browse sequences. You can also create links such as cross-references, text hyperlinks, image hyperlinks, drop-down text, and more. See Navigation and Links.
- Page Layouts Read more… A page layout is an element that you can
create in your projectin order to determine page specifications (e.g., size, margins) and to apply certain content (e.g., headers, footers, page numbers) to many (or all) topics in print-based output. It allows for easy configuration through the use of content frames, bleeds, crop marks, registration marks, margins, padding, alignment features, and more. Page layouts are similar to master pages, but are more flexible and easier to use. The general rule of thumb is that page layouts are recommended for print-based output (when possible), and master pages continue to be the best method for automatically adding headers, footers, and breadcrumbs in multiple topics for online output. Another difference between page layouts and master pages is that page layouts can be used for any of the print-based outputs (Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft XPS, XHTML Book), whereas master pages can be used only for Microsoft Word and FrameMaker when creating print-based output. See About Page Layouts.
- QR Codes Read more… You can insert a quick response (QR) code into a
content file (e.g., topic, snippet)using the XML Editor. A QR code is a type of barcode that can be read by devices such as smart phones. The data encoded in the QR code can be text, a website URL, an email address, contact information, or SMS (Short Message Service, which is used for sending text messages). Basically, QR codes are a way to bridge the gap between a static print document and searchable, more detailed online information at your fingertips See About QR Codes.
- Responsive Content Read more… For HTML5 output, you can use the Responsive Layout window pane to help you design responsive content. This window pane lets you create a one-row grid to hold content. The benefit of putting your content into such a grid is that it allows it to shift and be responsive to screens of different sizes. The Tutorials topic in Flare's Help system is one example where such a responsive layout is used.
See Responsive Content.
- Slideshows Read more… You can add a slideshow as an alternative way to display content, using navigation controls to move from slide to slide to view different content. Most kinds of content can be placed into a slideshow, including snippets, text, tables, and more. See About Slideshows.
- Snippets Read more… Snippets are chunks of content that you can use in your project over and over. Think of them as miniature topics. It’s content that you want to reuse in many different topics, but you don’t want to have to keep retyping that content, so you just type it once in a snippet. Then you insert that snippet into as many topics as you need it to be in. You can even insert them into other snippets, creating nested snippets. Normally snippets are made up of one or more paragraphs, perhaps including elements such as lists, images, tables, or text. We’re not usually talking about single words or phrases here. That’s what variables are for.
See About Snippets.
- Tables Read more… A table in Flare is much like it is in any word processing program, such as Microsoft Word
, or in a printed textbook. It is a group of intersecting columns and rows that you can add to a topic for various purposes, such as comparing different elements. See About Tables.
- Text Boxes Read more… You can insert a box into a topic and add content to it. The text box is separate from the regular text in the topic and can be positioned in a variety of places on a page (e.g., aligned left on the page, outside frame, center of column). You might add a text box, for example, to create an example or case study that runs alongside the main text in a topic, in order to enhance the reader's understanding of the main text.
See About Text Boxes.
- Variables Read more… Variables are used for brief, non-formatted pieces of content (such as the name of your company's product or your company's phone number) that you need to use in your project over and over. They're especially good for text that might change frequently, such as version numbers and dates. Variables are stored in variable sets, which can hold multiple variables.
Depending on the template you select when creating a project, Flare may provide you with an initial variable set, but you can add as many additional variable sets and variables as you like.There are different kinds of variables: (1) basic ones that you create, (2) custom date/time variables that you create, (3) system variables (e.g., date and time; titles; page count; Chapter, Section, and Volume numbers), (4) Heading variables, and (5) Running Head variables. Some of these are especially useful for page headers and footers in print-based output. See About Variables.
After you add elements to your project, you can then move on to the other basic steps:
Note: You do not necessarily need to follow all of the above steps (and their substeps) in the exact order given. For example, as you add topics to a project, you may want to start applying styles and formatting to them right away, before adding other elements to the project, such as a glossary. However, the above sequence probably makes the most overall logical sense. For example, you must start a project before adding elements (i.e., topics, content, cross-references, etc.) to it.