Creating Micro Content

The first step in using micro content, for whatever purpose, is to create it in Flare. This entails adding a micro content file to the Content Explorer and then adding phrases and responses within it. This can be done using a few different response methods (see Pros and Cons of Each Response Method).

Adding a Micro Content File to a Project

You can add as many micro content files to your project as you need. Some authors might just need one micro content file, but others might create multiple micro content files for organizational purposes, storing different "categories" of phrase/responses in each one.

How to Add a Micro Content File

  1. (Optional) Create a subfolder to store a micro content file.
    1. Select View > Content Explorer.
    2. In the Content Explorer, select the Resources folder.
    3. In the local toolbar, click . A folder with the temporary name "NewFolder" is added.
    4. Type a new name for the folder (we recommend using MicroContent as the name) and press Enter.
  2. Right-click on your Resources > MicroContent folder (or whatever you have named it) and from the context menu select New > Micro Content. The Add File dialog opens.

  3. In the File Name field, type a new name for the micro content file.
  4. Click Add. The micro content file is added to the Content Explorer. The Micro Content Editor opens to the right, displaying micro content phrases on the left and an area to the right for the response. There is one phrase/response already added, which you can remove or rename/replace.

Creating Main Phrases in the Micro Content Editor

Each main phrase that you create should become associated with a response.

The following steps should be completed if you are using one of these methods:

If you are using Response Method 1: Creating Micro Content From a Topic, you do not need to complete the following steps, because you will create the main phrase at the same time that you select the response content.

How to Create Main Phrases

  1. From the Content Explorer, open the micro content file.
  2. In the local toolbar of the Micro Content Editor, click . A new row is added to the phrase area on the left, with "New Phrase" shown as the default name.
  3. Type your phrase and press Enter on the keyboard.
  4. Click to save your work.

Note For explanations of additional phrase options in the Micro Content Editor (such as using variables), see Phrases.

Creating Alternate Phrases in the Micro Content Editor

Not only can you create main phrases, but you can also add alternate phrases for each main phrase, regardless of the method you use. Alternate phrases are extremely useful because it is impossible to predict the phrasing a person will use. By adding alternate phrases, you are improving the odds that the matching response will display in most circumstances.

How to Create Alternate Phrases

  1. From the Content Explorer, open the micro content file.
  2. To the right of the main phrase, click . A new row is added below the main phrase, with "New Phrase" shown as the default name.
  3. Type your phrase and press Enter on the keyboard.
  4. Repeat these steps to create more alternate phrases.
  5. Click to save your work.

Note The main phrase does not carry more weight than any of the alternate phrases. They are simply a way to connect to the same response as the main phrase.

Response Method 1: Creating Micro Content From a Topic

You can create micro content (both the main phrase and response) from a topic. The great benefit of using this approach is that you can choose a specific block of existing content that will be used as the response. In most cases, this is the recommended method.

How to Create Micro Content From a Topic

  1. Open the topic.
  2. Do one of the following:

    • Select the content that you want to use as a response for a micro content phrase. Then in the Home ribbon, click Create Micro Content.

    • Right-click selected content, or the structure bar to the left of the content, that you want to use as a response for a micro content phrase. From the context menu, select Create Micro Content.

    Tip If you have several different elements that you want to select (e.g., paragraph, list, image), it sometimes helps to first place all of that content in a <div> tag (see Creating Divs and Other Tag Groups), then choose that div structure bar when creating the micro content.

    The Create Micro Content dialog opens.

  3. In the Phrase field, enter the text that a user would enter to make the response appear as a result in the output.

    Note After you have finished, you can open the Micro Content Editor and add alternative phrases to be associated with the response as well.

  4. (Optional) You can also click if you want to insert a variable as the entire phrase, or as part of the phrase. The following syntax for the variable will be used:

  5. If you have more than one micro content file in your project, use the Micro Content File field to select it.

  6. Click OK.

    The micro content file will be updated with your new phrase linking to that content.

    Also, you might notice that the selected content in the topic is now wrapped in a special <MadCap:microContent> tag.

  7. Click to save your work.

In the output, when a person uses your phrase (or something close to it) to look for information, the selected content will display by itself as a result, even if the topic has other content above or below it in the source file.

Response Method 2: Linking Phrases to Entire Topics or Snippets

You can link a phrase to a topic or snippet. This lets you reuse existing content, but often topics and snippets are larger than ideal for micro content. One solution to this dilemma is to exclude some of the content from the micro content response (see Single-Sourcing Micro Content Using Styles), a technique that can be used for the other methods as well.

How to Link Phrases to Entire Topics or Snippets

  1. From the Content Explorer, open the micro content file.
  2. If necessary, click to the right of the main phrase. This expands the area below the phrase.
  3. Click Add Link.
  4. In the Select File dialog, locate and select the topic or snippet.
  5. Click OK. The response content is shown to the right, but it is read-only since it is linked. In order to edit the content, you need to edit the topic or snippet.
  6. Click to save your work.

Response Method 3: Linking Phrases to Bookmarks

By linking a phrase to a bookmark in a topic or snippet, the featured snippet in the output will display all of the content that is found after that bookmark. None of the content above it will be seen.

How to Link Phrases to Bookmarks

  1. From the Content Explorer, open the micro content file.
  2. If necessary, click to the right of the main phrase. This expands the area below the phrase.
  3. Click Add Link.
  4. In the Select File dialog, locate and select the topic or snippet.
  5. Click . Then find and select the bookmark in the dialog and click OK.
  6. In the Select File dialog, click OK. The response content is shown to the right, but it is read-only since it is linked. In order to edit the content, you need to edit the topic or snippet.
  7. Click to save your work.

Response Method 4: Entering Responses Directly in the Micro Content Editor

Single-sourcing is the best practice when working in Flare. Therefore, if you already have some content elsewhere in your project, it is not generally recommended that you re-enter that content as a response directly in the Micro Content Editor. However, it could be argued that inserting snippets or images in the Micro Content Editor is acceptable, since those files exist separately and can be managed from one location.

How to Enter Responses Directly in the Micro Content Editor

  1. From the Content Explorer, open the micro content file.
  2. On the left, select a phrase to associate with the response.
  3. In the area to the right, enter text, snippets, images, and other features, just as you would edit a topic or snippet.
  4. Click to save your work.

Using Micro Content for Advanced Purposes

Follow these steps if you want to use micro content in a chatbot or for another purpose that cannot be produced completely from Flare.

How to Use Micro Content for Advanced Purposes

  1. After generating HTML5 output that includes micro content phrases and responses, you can open the Project ribbon and click Open Output Folder.

  2. In Windows, open your target folder, then double-click the MicroContent folder.

    This folder contains other subfolders, which you can open. In the subfolder named after the micro content file, you will see HTML files named after your phrases, with the associated responses contained inside.

  3. At this point, a developer would need to do some extra programming and work outside of Flare, pointing to the files in your MicroContent output folder as necessary. This person does not need to be a Flare user or have a Flare license. This individual might find the need to use third-party applications to complete the work.