About Styles and Stylesheets

You can take advantage of cascading stylesheets (CSS files) and the rules around them to control the look of your output in one place. This helps to keep the content separate from its presentation, which is very important when it comes to single-sourcing. CSS isn’t a MadCap Software idea. It’s an international standard for formatting web content, and it was developed by a group called the World Wide Web Consortium (or W3C). You can learn all about the W3C at w3.org.

Flare lets you work with stylesheets in a number of ways. You can associate stylesheets with individual topics (you might do this if you need to have multiple stylesheets for your output), or you can use a "master" stylesheet, automatically associating it with all files at the target level or project level. Then you apply the styles from the stylesheet to the different pieces of content in your topics and snippets.

The bottom line is that you want to avoid the opposite of styles as much as possible. That's called "local formatting." For example, you can highlight some text and make it green and italic right where that content exists. But if you do that same thing in many places, it takes a lot longer and it's a lot more work to control the look of that content if you later change your mind. Instead, it's much smarter and better to use a style.