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MadCap Flare

MadCap Flare

4.4
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MadCap Flare allows you to create, manage and publish content to a variety of formats, including print, online, desktop and mobile.

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MadCap Flare review by Mike K.
Mike K.
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Verified Current User
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"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Flare's CSS parser is out of date, and there's no way to update or disable it.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 business 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.

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MadCap Flare review by Linda B.
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 business 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.

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

Thanks for letting us know!
MadCap Flare review by Amy G.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Caroline C.
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 business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

user assistance

troubleshooting issues

providing different outputs from a single source

MadCap Flare review by Amy Tipton J.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Florence C.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Sean B.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Julious D.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Dee V.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by George B.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Eyal T.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Steven K.
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 business 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

MadCap Flare review by Lisa Z.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by John M.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Jennifer P.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by User
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Chris M.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Vidya S.
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 business 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

MadCap Flare review by Amy G.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Sarah T.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Ruth H.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Craig W.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Duncan W.
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 business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Single sourcing and greater efficiency in content creation.

MadCap Flare review by Henrico B.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Gary D.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Industry Analyst / Tech Writer
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 business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

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

MadCap Flare review by User in Computer Software
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Jen W.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Chris B.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Industry Analyst / Tech Writer
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Joe B.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Isabelle G.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Steven John P.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Hila T.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Amanda J. W.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Derek W.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Industry Analyst / Tech Writer
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Larisa D.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Kathy B.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Kim W.
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 business 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.

MadCap Flare review by Jason M.
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 business 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

MadCap Flare review by User in Staffing and Recruiting
User in Staffing and Recruiting
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"MadCap Flare - Workhorse Product"

What do you like best?

Ease of rearranging content, production of multiple targets for same content, conditions and variables. Glossary and Index features are very useful

What do you dislike?

Amount of editing after producing target required to style/fix Word documents. And same for PDF. Production of PDF from Word is not very similar to PDF output from Flare so generally must use Word to PDF instead of Flare to PDF.

Word target is good to have but not seamless per CSS and Word interaction.

Indexing features need more work. Get input from professional indexers for the features and ease of use.

Would be good to release manual of the most common problems and their solutions. Primarily use the forums for product support -- seems like some issues have no solutions, some solutions don't work. Would be good if MadCap trolled the forums and provided info on problems with no solutions and solutions that actually work, would minimize trolling needed.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Definitely get the Trial version. Pretty easy to use, should be short learning curve. Lots of features to make maximum use of your content.

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

Producing multiple output types with same content. Fast turnaround on edits. Future use as web help will really save a lot of time when client decides to produce content to web.

MadCap Flare review by Robin C.
Robin C.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Flare is best value for the money"

What do you like best?

We searched for many content management systems, but all were out of our budget. Flare is easy to use, provides the features we need, and is cost effective.

What do you dislike?

Flare is SO flexible that there is a steep learning curve to master all of its icons and features.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Be sure to plan your implementation before starting. Keep in mind that a single project makes it easier to share content between documents, but don't go too deep in subfolders because Flare (and most source control systems) have a limit to the number of characters in a file pathname.

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

As a medical device manufacturer, we have hundreds of manuals that contain a lot of common content, such as intended use statements, warnings, maintenance information. But with a small documentation team, a slight change caused a huge amount of work. Using Flare, we can isolate those common elements and change them in one place rather than in hundreds of places, and they automatically populate the manuals they apply to.

MadCap Flare review by Industry Analyst / Tech Writer
Industry Analyst / Tech Writer
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"All You Have To Do Is Write"

What do you like best?

I just write my content, apply the styles, drop in whatever else I need, and Flare takes care of the rest. Once you set up where and how you want to publish - which is straightforward in and of itself - generating your output is as simple as clicking a button. The contextual help is a godsend for what we do. The conditional output is spot on, too. Mostly Flare just gets out of your way, handles the technical details, and lets you focus on writing.

What do you dislike?

Managing, applying, and keeping track of numerous styles across an enormous library of document files can be somewhat fiddly at times. There are times when phantom span tags and such that don't actually do anything end up in the output, but the amount of cruft this creates is minimal and usually isn't even noticeable. PDF output can be a little quirky sometimes if you use a lot of screen shots and graphics and want things to paginate a certain way, but this is true of any software I've used.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you want to put document-type repositories online for your audience, this choice is no contest. The output something like Microsoft Word generates is vastly inferior. Word's HTML is a mess, and really can't even be called HTML at all. Coding and managing web pages with a lot of text and graphics even with a CMS like WordPress is time-consuming. Flare has all the benefits of a word processor but with the ability to manage enormous amounts of text and generate the output you need with minimal setup.

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

We needed a contextual help HTML library that users of our software could call up to learn about the screens and fields they were on at any given moment. We also produce a few training PDFs from it. We've been using Flare since Version 1, and while it required some hoop jumping back then, the evolution of Flare has made it rock solid for our needs. Given that our help library is about 200,000 words, we needed something hefty to handle that, and Flare does that extremely well with no compromise in performance.

MadCap Flare review by User
User
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Madcap Flare"

What do you like best?

- Flare offers a variety of document outputs to create publications for your needs. I find most of its interface to be intuitive and easy to use, with many keyboard shortcuts to make click time shorter. One of my favorite features on Flare is its reports option, which allows you to check for errors in your project, such as broken links, broken variables, unused topics, etc.

- Flare's tech support is also top notch. I've called them before and they're great at following up with any question you have. They were able to solve my problem on the same day that I called.

- Also, you are able to become certified in Flare by taking a test and submitting a certification project. It's a great addition to your resume.

What do you dislike?

There's a few finnicky things about Flare that are sometimes not the best.

- For example, I wish I could view the properties of two separate TOCs at once (meaning I wish I could view it in the properties window rather than comparing the properties in the code).

- Also, if you do a search and replace, you are unable to undo it unless you revert via source control.

- More keyboard shortcuts for things like adding bullet points (or making everything highlighted into a bullet point) and closing all open windows.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Great for PDF and HTML publication

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

- Content management and publication

- Source control integration

- Web publishing

MadCap Flare review by User in Oil & Energy
User in Oil & Energy
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Open, flexible, and supported HAT"

What do you like best?

Not only is Flare developed in an open way (with all resource files saved in a text-based format), but it is flexible enough to set up according to your custom needs. MadCap's support of Flare is top-notch - unlike many of its competitors, when you request help from MadCap, their support personnel is actually familiar with the product and can answer your questions.

What do you dislike?

It's so flexible and has so many capabilities, it can be difficult at first to understand how different features interact (or don't) with each other.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Definitely would recommend, best solution as of now and their constant feature development means it's a safe choice for the future.

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

We had been using Framemaker to create our PDF and HTML5 output, but if any file became corrupted, we could not fix it due to their binary-based file formats. Switching to Flare we not only get text-based file formats (easier to debug if an issue did arise, which it hasn't yet) but it also enables us to integrate all of our docs in a more dynamic and flexible manner.

MadCap Flare review by Alwyn D.
Alwyn D.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Not sure how I'd manage without Flare..."

What do you like best?

Super easy to create output in multiple formats. Supports almost everything in native HTML5 so there's no learning curve other than for the Flare-specific tags. Works with source control, allows for annotations, automatically finding broken links and other project issues, and is generally just really easy to use. Love that I can pull in my own Javascript to run on certain pages. Almost everything in Flare can be customized to your specifications if you know HTML and CSS. Also a high degree of automation in terms of publishing, error checking, and anything else you want to do at build or publish time. Love that I have been able to exactly replicate our old Word template into Flare. Documents look the same but it's all done in Flare now from the same source files as our online Help.

What do you dislike?

Not as much accessibility support as I'd hoped. Flare claims HTML5 output is accessible by default but there are several bugs that I've had to find workarounds for. It's also hard to see when an image is missing alt text. Conditional formatting doesn't work for DITA output.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you want to take full advantage of all the power of Flare, know HTML and CSS, understand source control, and use a shared (imported) stylesheet between projects to keep everything consistent. Flare is ok if you don't understand these things, but awesome if you do.

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

Using it for our online help and release guides. I've written .bat files that automatically create and update all of the required files for our release docs, so it's a 1-click process to get all the files in place for each new document. Then whenever I make a change, another 2 clicks to republish the documents to our server. Definitely a huge timesaver over our old manual processes, and avoids human error for repetitive tasks.

MadCap Flare review by Administrator in Computer Software
Administrator in Computer Software
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"This HAT has a challenging front-end, but once set up it is a mighty tool"

What do you like best?

MadCap Flare has great features for sharing content and has a user friendly interface that lets you make changes while having the underlying web code be out of sight.

What do you dislike?

The Flare software has a steep learning curve. It can take a long time to develop good usable content with it. The speed of the program can get slow at times and will often go into a non-responding mode for a bit while it processes changes. It tends to have high memory and CPU usage when you are actually the output for a project.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Download the free demo and play with it. It can take awhile to get used to the interface and to wrap your end around how it functions but in the end it is worth it. It took us a couple of months to produce usable content for the public to see. The help documents/videos are good, and the support is even better.

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

The single-sourcing features are a big time saver. We can maintain different types of output with different versions for different levels of users in the same product, without having to do things twice or duplicate things. Once all the projects are set up and in place, publishing content can occur with a single click to perform a batch process to output content in multi languages for our software help documents (in both HTML5 and PDF format).

MadCap Flare review by Deb C.
Deb C.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"A Lifesaver"

What do you like best?

I love so much about this software. My favorite has to be the true single source feature. No other software, not even word processing software does as good a job of keeping my formatting intact as Flare does!

What do you dislike?

Learning curve, definitely. The cursor, some of the lingo used and the placement of items in the ribbon all take some getting used to.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Make sure you have the time necessary for your project to learn to use the software. When used properly, to the full extent of its capabilities, it is the most comprehensive publishing software on the market.

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

How to deliver single source manuals that are user friendly and uniform across platforms.

MadCap Flare review by Theresa C.
Theresa C.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Absolute life saver!"

What do you like best?

I love the short learning curve, intuitive interface, transparency in how a project is created and organized, and flexibility to our needs.

What do you dislike?

Occasionally something goes awry with the programming and the project needs cleaning. Along with this cleaning, Favorited/Pinned items and other random settings get deleted, so these features are essentially rendered useless. Though the ease of being able to "clean" the project and solve craziness is very useful.

Recommendations to others considering the product

This is affordable, easy to use, has a short ramp up time, and can be used for nearly any type of documentation creation. I highly recommend it.

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

Central sourcing our data. We have a lot of manufactured products that overlap. We use MadCap Flare to build out our product manuals, which use the same data. So, updating and creating new but similar documentation is easy. We can be more technical, and get the information to the customer faster than ever.

MadCap Flare review by User in Textiles
User in Textiles
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Flare review"

What do you like best?

Flare is a great tool for single-sourcing where you have a series of similar products, saving time both in the initial production of the documentation, and later on when maintaining and updating changes.

What do you dislike?

If you don't have any programming experience, it can be a little scary, because there are times when it is just easier to change things using the xml rather than the actual view (display).

Recommendations to others considering the product

Flare is a great product with great support. However, I highly recommend you use the trial period to try it out, especially if you are scared of touching code etc...

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

We have series of multiple products with relatively minor differences. Flare enables us to produce a set of documentation starting from one input, but using variables to produce a whole set of separate outputs for each product. It saves time and, equally importantly, ensures that we have consistency throughout our documentation

MadCap Flare review by User in Computer Software
User in Computer Software
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"My tool of choice for documentation"

What do you like best?

This is hands-down the most powerful single-sourcing tool I've ever worked with. The content reuse possibilities are endless. Also, for those who are less HTML/CSS savvy, you can use their templates to design your help content. Alternately, if you are savvy in those areas, you can directly edit the code as needed.

What do you dislike?

It is clunky and slow at times. High memory and CPU usage (especially when building output). Releases can be buggy on occasion, but they are usually quick to issue an emergency patch.

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

As I said before, the single-sourcing features are a lifesaver. I can maintain different types of output with different versions for different levels of users in the same product, without ever having to write the same thing twice. Global project linking also allows me to link the stylesheets, skins, and other shared content across multiple projects. That way, I only have to edit once, and everything else is updated automatically!

MadCap Flare review by Sylverre P.
Sylverre P.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Best help authoring solution I've found (though not perfect)"

What do you like best?

Content re-use is significantly easier with Flare than other solutions. Conditions, snippets, and variables are easy to create, CSS can be assigned by medium, and layouts are entirely separate from content. Re-building a document is as simple as pushing a button, so small changes are truly small.

What do you dislike?

1. Requires a Microsoft environment. Some functionality requires MS Office (they claim there's a workaround, but I couldn't get that to work).

2. Review options aren't ideal, particularly if your reviewers are not Windows users.

3. Product is not intuitive, though well worth the effort of learning.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Take advantage of their trial offer--and spend as much time using Flare as you can during that period.

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

Documentation and content management for an integrated suite of hardware and software products can be created and maintained easily, and changes (for instance, a recent logo update) made to all with minimal effort.

MadCap Flare review by Amanda K.
Amanda K.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"New User, Great Help, Nice UI"

What do you like best?

I have used other help authoring programs in the past - jumping into Flare was seamless. The user interface is really easy to navigate and the online help is useful.

What do you dislike?

That I didn't know every feature right away.... but seriously, the only thing I have not *loved* so far is that I cannot export as XML. This would make uploading to WordPress much easier.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Talk to Sales, they are very helpful. Ask other Technical Writers - everyone recommended this product.

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

Implementing a completely online context-sensitive help system for customers. MadCap Flare allows me to author from a single source and produce conditionalized output based on need.

MadCap Flare review by User in E-Learning
User in E-Learning
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Used to be a good company"

What do you like best?

The software has many features which allow me to produce books and ebooks

What do you dislike?

The support follow up is horrific.

I have had a problem for over two years which still is not fixed. I use many tables and graphics in my books. When I try to move them the entire document is reformatted. After two years the problem still is not fixed.

Yet three months before my maintenance contract is due I get a phone call or whenever they have something new to sell I get an email.

I started with MadCap when they offered Blaze. It is unfortunate that they have forgotten their roots.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Since I have worked with them any issues that I have need repaired that require more than a moments work have not been. I predominately use this to create books. Changes needed to be made to fix the glossary text, snippets do not show correctly, PDF previews are not printed like the final output. These complaints have existed for several years and have never been addressed even though they tell you it is something they are working on

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

The software has many features which allow me to produce books and ebooks

MadCap Flare review by Rowan P.
Rowan P.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Just the best HAT tool around"

What do you like best?

Continuous innovation and great support.

What do you dislike?

Knowledge base responses may be slow when facing work disrupting issue.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Attending any of their training seminars or user conferences is highly recommended. They also offer great Webinars that can be accessed live or recorded for viewing at a time of your choosing. The tool offers so many features that this is a great way to develop expertise. Even for a long-time user like myself.

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

Our company develops very agile software to keep up with school's district, state, and federal reporting requirements. When I started developing documentation 18 years ago, the MS Word/paper manuals lagged behind development by at least a year and the online help files lagged even more. When we started using RoboHelp single-source, things improved as I could write the online help then produce the files for the paper output (with a LOT of hand adjustment). But RoboHelp development of new features slowed at the same time technology changes were accelerating. When Flare come out, we acquired it and the lagged time shrank dramatically. Now I can release both online help and PDF manuals the same day as the latest release. With the advent of responsive design, one file suffices for both desktop and mobile; the PDF output requires only the addition of a cover page with NO hand adjustments. Bliss!

MadCap Flare review by User
User
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Great for Long Documents"

What do you like best?

At my company we use MadCap Flare in order to make parts manuals. Flare allows us to create a different section for each subsystem. We are then able to combine different subsystems in order to make a unique parts manual for each unit.

What do you dislike?

Some features are not as intuitive as I would like. They do offer training but it is expensive. The online tutorials can be useful if you know what you're looking for but overwhelming if you aren't sure how to search for what you are looking for.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Definitely check it out. This programmed helped us save a ton of work updating Word documents for every little change that was made.

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

MadCap Flare allows us to create unique parts manuals for each of our units without having to create a new document in Microsoft Word.

MadCap Flare review by Eric M.
Eric M.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"A lot of front-end work, but the end result is worth it."

What do you like best?

(1) Single-sourcing is a requirement when publishing similar content for multiple products or platforms. Flare has very robust features for sharing content like this, plus a comfy user interface that lets you make style changes while keeping the gritty reality of HTML code out of sight (or in a separate pane to keep an eye on it, if you desire). (2) Though getting multiple languages to generate right can be time-consuming, in the end it is in fact completely possible to change one image (as an example) and then with a single click, build every translation or document version, and post them to an unlimited number of locations (server, library, web). Watching that process flash across the screen is extremely satisfying! (3) Platinum phone support gets you real live professional LOCAL support within seconds, every time, no pressing 15 numbers and waiting around or waiting for a callback.

What do you dislike?

(1) Even on my top-end PC and running off an SSD hard drive, Flare can get very resource-hungry sometimes, causing my mouse to lag and snap around the screen until Flare finishes whatever it's doing. Sometimes it's like working on a remote PC on the other side of the world. Fortunately these occurrences are brief and the software otherwise works as fast as you'd expect it to. (2) Flare usually forces me to shut down Acrobat before it will generate a PDF, so I can't do other review work in the minute or two while my project is generating. This could be Acrobat's problem with properly releasing control of files. (3) Flare's integration with Lingo is not as seamless as is suggested; it rapidly diverges from the single-sourcing concept both in source files and output, and working around that to force it to use common folders, images, and style sheets is time-consuming and impossible for anyone uncomfortable noodling around in HTML. (4) All translations require individual tweaks to the final output; there is no way to retain these tweaks (spacing, pagination, unique hyperlinks, etc.), so on next regeneration, boom--hope you wrote 'em down somewhere!

Recommendations to others considering the product

It can be a steep learning curve. Get the free demo and play around. Buy the platinum support for the first year and watch the many videos and webinars. Go to the MadWorld conference. Plan on at least three months to produce an end product you'd let the public see. Check the newsgroups or Google for help--most questions have already been answered!

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

Flare and Lingo are helping us streamline our output and integration of material to translate. Once all the pieces are in place, publishing can happen with a single click on a batch process.

MadCap Flare review by Michael S.
Michael S.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Robust, Heavy, and lacking some essentials"

What do you like best?

The condition functions are well done. Global sharing/reuse is nice but not fully developed. Supports a wide variety of output. Very fine-grained control over styles and formatting.

What do you dislike?

Very fragile, small errors cause big crashes with no specific feedback to indicate where they are. Sharing from global content is a chore. Very resource intensive.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If it is suitable for you needs, it's worth it. Don't bank on any significant innovation in future releases, as marginal bug fixes are all they really do.

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

Producing product documentation for a variety of outputs. We've single-sourced a great deal of multi-use content.

MadCap Flare review by Theresa (TJ) C.
Theresa (TJ) C.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Tried a few Flare won out 10x over!"

What do you like best?

Flare is easy to learn, but flexible for the advanced user. Most if not all bugs found are addressed within a year. I've never experience this with any software in the past. Most software bugs are addressed within a 5 year time frame. With flare it feels as though they listen and are instantly improving.

I started at this company using Word Processing, just superseding the literal copy and paste with glue and scissors! I worked to get a central database resource software of ANY type and tried Frame Maker with DITAToo plugin. After two years of dealing with problems and not getting solid, functional, productive solutions back from adobe or DITAToo faster than 14 days (Feedback yes, solutions no.) we still were not ramped up and running. I had to consider the software a sunk cost and move on. By then, MadCap had been born and I pulled us on board with Flare as fast as I could. We were up and running in 3 months!! We didn't have all content transferred over, but that wasn't in the plan anyway. It was the easiest transition, learning curve, and solution I have ever seen in a software, ever! It is intuitive, surprising, and even teaches you through example. I'm amazed and will be hard pressed to ever move away from Flare for any reason. Now I'm looking for more reasons and ways to use Flare in our daily operations.

What do you dislike?

It's still a new software, and the being a software, there are going to be bugs. But, they fix them so fast, its negligible. And the support team is amazing. I've spoken with them most every week and get solutions within minutes, not weeks!

Recommendations to others considering the product

Consider who is going to process your content and outputs now and in the future. If you want a cheap learning curve, invest now in Flare, and their support plan. It pays dividends down the road. And, Flare is transparent with zero hidden proprietary programming, so no matter who takes over after it is implemented, the learning curve will be shorter than most any other software. I only say most because I haven't tried others.

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

Content re-use. Faster content updates.

MadCap Flare review by Doug S.
Doug S.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"I Love MadCap Flare!"

What do you like best?

The single-sourcing feature saves us so much time and misery. In the past, we had so much trouble managing multiple versions of a single document. The write-once and target features make it so much easier to manage and output documents.

What do you dislike?

I would like to see MadCap Software improve the table handling functionality.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you're interested in an application that makes it easier to manage and output documents, if you're interested in future-proofing your documentation, you need to get your hands on MadCap Flare.

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

It's a joy to be able to create or update a document ONE time. We previously used a very old version of DocToHelp, and it had developed serious compiling issues. It's so much easier to have a single software application that outputs in so many formats from a single source.

MadCap Flare review by Barbara D.
Barbara D.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Flare is the best HAT for a non-DITA software firm"

What do you like best?

Affordable product for structuring and reusing content in unlimited ways. Offers many powerful structured authoring features without the huge startup costs and overhead of a full-blown DITA implementation. Flare saves time and money. Easy to learn and master.

What do you dislike?

When in straight-up authoring mode (not needing any HAT-friendly functionality), it's quicker and easier to write in Word and cut and paste. Would love a Word add-in for this purpose.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Easier to learn and implement than DITA

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

Structure and reuse content to ensure consistency across doc products. After designing templates, it's quick and easy to reuse them.

MadCap Flare review by Michelle L.
Michelle L.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Best Solution Available for Lone Writers"

What do you like best?

I used to manage a team of three writers, plus myself. Together we produced upwards of 3,000 pages of documentation for every software release. This was with updates to existing documentation plus writing about new functionality so it was not complete rewrites of the 3,000 pages, but a combination of maintaining the documentation and adding to it. Due to both attrition and downsizing, the "team" eventually became just me. (Proof that there is an "I" in team. HA!) Thankfully before all of the churn we had started using MadCap Flare to produce all of our online help and user guides. Before we used Flare it took 40+ hours to update all of our user guides even when all we changed was the software release number and release date on the covers. Now it takes me about an hour, all alone, because I've automated it all in Flare.

Additionally, my company is a government contractor and we are required to provide Section 508-compliant documentation. I thought my release notes and new functionality guides (the only things I did NOT author in Flare until about three months ago) were all Section 508 compliant, but upon running tests on them with Adobe Acrobat, I discovered that they were not. I started authoring even the release notes and new functionality guides in Flare, with output that went straight to PDF, and voila! Problem solved. Passed all of the Adobe Acrobat compliance tests with flying colors. I now use Word only to write my weekly grocery list.

What do you dislike?

You have to be kind of a gear head to use the software--or at least be willing to stop and tinker around a little bit when problems occur. Even then it's still worth the rare headaches that it causes.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Take the Flare training classes and brush up on W3C.

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

Takes me less time to produce the same volume of documentation. AND my documentation is Section 508 compliant without me having to think too much about it.

MadCap Flare review by Linda W.
Linda W.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"The MadeCap suite enables me to achieve my goals"

What do you like best?

It is such a versatile tool - especially with the most recent releases, I am able to design a layout and format that works for my company. The fact that I can re-use content and publish it in virtually any format, electronic or print, allows me to work efficiently. The ability to customize output for various targets, using the content from the same project provides the ability to publish for multiple versions and product variations all in one place. Product support is amazing. Anytime I've had a question or problem, they've been there to help get it resolved in a timely and professional manner.

What do you dislike?

I love having integrated graphics and movie modules. It would be great to see more upgrades in those modules.

Recommendations to others considering the product

In my opinion, there is not another vendor out there that provides this level of software for creating and publishing documentation. There is a learning curve, and it is helpful if you have some understanding of HTML and CSS. MadCap provides free recorded tutorials in addition to classroom and online courses. It is well worth the investment that might be required to learn this tool. Once you have learned the basics, you will be amazed at how much you can accomplish. This tool can help you look like a superstar with what you will be able to create.

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

We've gone from no online or printed help to a multi-version multi-product help system that is available in WebHelp or PDF format. This has increased customer satisfaction and assisted our internal employees in finding answers to product questions.

MadCap Flare review by Nigel B.
Nigel B.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"A stable, easy to use tool - easily the best authoring tool I have used in 26 years of writing"

What do you like best?

Once I had set Flare up to produce the look and feel I wanted, generating standardized and consistent outputs was simply a matter of clicking a button. Flare is stable and predictable, and in the rare event that I have a problem, the support team are always polite, helpful and provide a result.

What do you dislike?

The style sheets are huge, and one needs to have a fairly good grip on the principles of CSS to get quick results (I don't). It is not always easy to find the style I need to edit to achieve the results I want.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Get it, and do the course ASAP. My HOD waited 3 years before sending me on the course, and I could have saved a LOT of time and effort during the Flare set-up phase had I known what I was doing from the beginning.

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

My company has over 30 documentation projects for software applications that are updated using agile development, and requests for major and minor changes arrive continually. We need to keep on top of the job, and Flare allows us to achieve this.

MadCap Flare review by Rosa D.
Rosa D.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Flare-tastic!"

What do you like best?

The versatility of the product. There is so much you can do with Flare when it comes to one source publishing. The more I learn, the more impressed I am with this.

What do you dislike?

The difficulty in learning the best practices for using the system. Because it is so versatile, unless you have training when you first start using the tool it is very hard to know where to begin. While the online PDF's and Getting Started videos are quite helpful I have learned a lot more though the monthly webinars as to how to work with my projects more efficiently. Due to work loads and back log, taking the time to get training and learn to use Flare meant jumping in with both feel and get going. Nearly one year later, I am still trying to clean up the project I started with due to my lack of direction at the start.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Take advantage of the training opportunities MadCap offers. They are fantastic at putting great webinars and the annual conference has so much benefit it is worth every penny.

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

Need for training documents for our product. We now have high quality output in PDF's and help documentation integrated right into our app. We are working on integrating a second help file into another one of our product platforms.

MadCap Flare review by Bob P.
Bob P.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"A very powerful tool"

What do you like best?

I transitioned from Adobe FrameMaker 12 to MadCap Flare 11. There was enough commonality of features between the two to make the transition relatively painless. I like that Flare 12 is usable by both WYSIWYG guys like me and code monkeys, too.

What do you dislike?

We have very complex projects with a lot of single-sourcing. I find that we push the capabilities of Flare from time to time. Flare 12 has a nasty habit of crashing and locking files at inopportune times. I find I have to reboot my system a disturbing number of times.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Take Flare training and attend the MadWorld conference before implementing. Both MadCap and their users are very good at answering questions and problem solving.

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

As I noted earlier, we have a lot of single-sourcing (60+ docs out of 8 projects), and we also keep many versions of our doc sets current. Frame can handle this level of complexity.

MadCap Flare review by Debra J.
Debra J.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"We are a MadCap Flare shop!"

What do you like best?

I like the robust nature of this product. My team loves the product. They are experts and can use it with ease. We like that MadCap is always adding new features and capabilities. We are looking forward to new features such as Madcap Central. It is easy to install on local machines. It is easy to connect to our TFS source control.

What do you dislike?

It's very difficult to get someone new up-to-speed quickly. It can be complicated.

I wish there was a cheaper overview training for managers who are not in the tool all day or every day but need to understand the workflow.

Recommendations to others considering the product

The value for the cost is terrific. Just make sure to get as much training as possible... you will be happy that you did. It's a great tool.

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

Consistency in content production

Standardization

Quicker time to market

Maintaining legacy content but having the ability to produce newer HTML5 Responsive design outputs

MadCap Flare review by Breezy W.
Breezy W.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"MadCap Flare - An Incredible Improvement"

What do you like best?

It is hard to pick one thing that I like best. Flare has so many more capabilities than our previous software. I am always learning something new (and cool) about this software. The very best thing about Flare though is the MadCap Customer Support team. They are TOP NOTCH. Helpful, friendly, and if they don't know the answers to your questions, they work on it and get back to you. MadCap's support team has turned what could have been a painful and frustrating software transition into a satisfying success.

What do you dislike?

Flare is so vast! There is so much that it can do that it can be a little overwhelming initially. Once I got over the hump of terminology and learning the user interface (and with some excellent help from MadCap's Customer Support team) working with Flare has gotten fun, mostly because there is always something new and cool to learn.

Recommendations to others considering the product

We do not regret for one minute switching to MadCap Flare. Lest I sugar-coat our experience too much, our transition was not without some transitional "growing pains", as Flare is much different than what we used for our document production before. However, with the education we received from MadCamp and MadWorld in addition to using MadCap's Customer Support, we have been successful and are very pleased with the improved user experience and output of our documentation.

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

The benefits to us are single-sourcing, which saves us a lot of time that was previously duplication of content. We have also been using Contributor and Lingo, and are seeing a large financial and time savings using them in conjunction with Flare.

MadCap Flare review by Dave M.
Dave M.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Top shelf performance for single source authoring"

What do you like best?

I have been using Flare for about six years for help authoring and PDF production. Once I developed the styles sheets, writing became the focus not wrestling with the tool. Managing styles across multiple projects is a breeze, much easier than in tools with embedded style sheets. I'm the only UA content developer in a three person office and if it was up to me, all of our technical publications, not just UA, would be authored in Flare.

Madcap support has been great. I have found many solutions on their forum and the webinars have been a great help and all of that is free. They are quick to respond with submitted issues. I recently attended Mad World which was a phenomenal 2-day experience of like minded professionals. Well worth the money and time out of the office.

What do you dislike?

Flare is still is a little problematic when working with formatting for the printed formats but it is getting much better. In particular, awkward page breaks are hard to detect for .pdf output until the actual output is generated but that is also a constraint by topic based authoring. Word output has been a very small problem because every once in a while you find some corner of Flare that isn't supported.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Got to training, read the forums, and get MAD certified.

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

Simultaneously delivering user assistance files in both .chm and .html formats along with .pdf files for print output. The ,pdf is required for the commissioning of our products.

MadCap Flare review by Mark G.
Mark G.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Vital content management tool"

What do you like best?

Flare is a tool that makes the impossible possible. As a solo writer I would not be able to support my company's range of products without Flare. Flare is a robust tool with a lot of features that exceed my expectations. Madcap is also continually improving Flare.

What do you dislike?

The product is so feature-rich that it can be difficult to pin point the most effective way to accomplish a task. For example, I wanted to add page breaks to a topic and it took a while to realize that the easiest way was to manually add the page breaks in the paragraph tags. I assumed that I would have to change the properties of a style. So basically, there are lots of ways to accomplish a task, and sometimes it seems needless complicated and there are almost too many options. Feature bloat is becoming an issue.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Flare is the best tool on the market. There is a learning curve and the tool has a lot of features but you can initially use it in a simple way. And then incorporate the more advanced features. I've been using Flare for eight years and I'm still learning. It's not a perfect tool and some of it is too complicated for my taste, but it has made my work life a lot easier.

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

Basically I'm trying to create and maintain the documentation for a host of legacy software products, support new products, and make the Help systems and guides as attractive as possible. So I need the process to be as automated as possible. Flare helps me accomplish this goal. So with limited resources, I am able to support my organization's various products. This would be impossible without Flare.

MadCap Flare review by Eden O.
Eden O.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Help made easy"

What do you like best?

Flare is intuitive, easy to use, and fun to explore. I like that no matter how much I use it, there are always more useful features to be discovered. I use Flare to create Online Help and PDF outputs. The documentation for the program is very helpful and well written. I love that I can change the stylesheet when any change in our branding occurs (which is quite often) and change every topic. That makes turnaround time much shorter and the changes more convenient. The structure of the program is easy to learn and use. The MadCap team is always coming out with improvements to the software, which keeps things interesting.

What do you dislike?

There isn't much I don't like about Flare. The one thing that is more of an inconvenience is how numbered and bulleted lists work. If there is non-ordered content in between numbers in a list, it messes with the numbering scheme. It requires a manual fix in most cases, which can be tiresome. But, that gives me an opportunity to brush up on XML and CSS coding, which is good to keep up with. I have also had trouble with Flare--->Word outputs. Word does not operate on XML, which means that it doesn't interface well with Flare. Styles and page layouts look different in a Word output than they do in a PDF, even if they use the same topic as a reference. That is frustrating for reviewers, but it is easily managed with a final PDF output.

Recommendations to others considering the product

I definitely recommend using MadCap Flare. The thing that makes MadCap great is that they are a smaller company with extraordinary customer service. They are always innovating and helping their users do cool stuff, and that means a lot to me.

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

I create the Online Help for one of the consumer-facing business units in my company. I help call center agents understand the application they use, and that brings me great satisfaction.

MadCap Flare review by Mike W.
Mike W.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Just exactly what we needed"

What do you like best?

We used to hate to develop our online manuals using Adobe RoboHelp. Flare stepped in and took over from where RoboHelp left off. We are happy with the fact that there are regular releases of Flare with relevant new features that we enjoy.

What do you dislike?

We felt that there was a big security hole in the initial implementation of HTML5 help output; however, it was finally patch in a later release.

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

We use Flare to publish online web help for all of our desktop and web-based products and services.

MadCap Flare review by Deborah Z.
Deborah Z.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Great Support Team"

What do you like best?

MadCap's support team is amazing. They always help no matter if I'm asking a newbie question or something extremely technical.

What do you dislike?

I have a Microsoft Surface with very high resolution. I have to make sure I 'reset' the resolution every time I use the software. Especially the Capture software.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you're a novice with this type of software, this is the one to use. Their Tech Support is nothing short of AWESOME. No matter if my question is simple or complex, they always come up with the answer to help.

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

I use MadCap Flare to write a help guide for our software. It is relatively simple to make changes, do versions, add videos, etc. Our help guide has improved with each version of Flare.

MadCap Flare review by Vittorio B.
Vittorio B.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Flare creation of documentation through various extended work teams"

What do you like best?

- Team working

- Integration with other system by Building Targets Using the Command Line

- platform and format multi publish (PDF, HTML5, CHM, etc)

- Project translation by Lingo and portable .xliff standard files.

What do you dislike?

- The graphic resources must be present within the project

- Not yet all in cloud services

- no native MAC platform

Recommendations to others considering the product

- Initial starting training

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

- Creation of documentation in a collaborative way

- Easy maintenance of existing documentation

- Simple and rapid deployment in production / publication environment

MadCap Flare review by Bill B.
Bill B.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"The best HAT out there"

What do you like best?

I like that MadCap Flare is a wholly integrated SDK-like environment. I do tools and automation work in a documentation group, and Flare makes my life so much easier than other packages (like Framemaker/ePublisher). If something puzzles me, there's only one place i need look. Previously it took about 6 pieces of software to kluge together a documentation build.

What do you dislike?

A graphics package would be nice. A more feature-rich internal editor.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Go for it.

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

Single-sourcing

Automated generation of documentation.

MadCap Flare review by Administrator in Computer Software
Administrator in Computer Software
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Best product for online help and knowledgebase"

What do you like best?

I spent a long time investigating different kinds of software that would help us update and maintain our help files. Flare lets you import from a number for file formats, which was very useful. Also, creating content and immediately seeing how it will display on the different devices (pc, mobile) is very helpful. I particularly like that i can go and edit xml if i need to. And that it is easy to change the UI.

What do you dislike?

The interaction with Lingo and maintaining content in multiple languages. That proved to be a bit more challenging and manual than I had expected.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Just go for it, you will not regret.

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

Keeping Online help and Knowledgebases up to date for our different software packages

MadCap Flare review by Diane A.
Diane A.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Working with Flare for 4 years, solo writer"

What do you like best?

I like the Flare is an easy-to-use but powerful, single-sourcing tool. I have two projects with 15 outputs between them. Flare has a relatively simple ramp up as well.

What do you dislike?

The bugs I've come across and the improvements I've suggested seem to fall into a black hole.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Make the most of understanding the internal structure of Flare before beginning; it will make progressing and troubleshooting much, much easier. Seek help early and often, it's worth it!

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

As a solo writer, I'm able to use conditioning and targets to produce 15 separate outputs (for three platforms) out of two projects. It was easy to ramp up another writer (intern) from complete newbie to experienced user in a matter of a couple of months.

MadCap Flare review by Leesyl G.
Leesyl G.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Constant Innovation"

What do you like best?

I love finding new things that MadCap is capable of doing. Every time I am faced with a challenge I wonder if MadCap has a way of solving my problem and most times I am amazed that it has the solution and in the process I discover other little gems of functionality.

What do you dislike?

The PDF output needs improvement. We have been struggling with the output. Currently, we have abandoned creating pfPDFs

Recommendations to others considering the product

Best tool I have used for creating help content, KB articles. Really easy to use and understand.

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

Improving findability through using keywords, synonyms, and search.

Single sourcing

Mulitple outputs by reusing topics and content

Versioning of content and the ability to update and build any one of the versions

MadCap Flare review by Christopher G.
Christopher G.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"Built a doc set from the ground up with Flare"

What do you like best?

The multiple outputs: PDF, HTML5, Word, to name a few.

What do you dislike?

No Mac client. I have converted from Windows to Mac OS and would like to use it with a Mac.

Recommendations to others considering the product

It's a great product with a good UI, once you get used to it. The lack of a Mac client is a limiting factor for me and may be a reason to jump to another product in the near future.

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

The ability to publish my docs in multiple outputs.

MadCap Flare review by Pamela B.
Pamela B.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Senior Technical Writer"

What do you like best?

Flare is an all around great tool. I have been using it for many years. There are many ways to format your output to almost anything you desire. The tool helps me write in a structured format, using variables, snippets, and conditional formatting, to get the output required, whether it be PDF or HTML Help or something else.

What do you dislike?

The only issue I have with Flare is that bugs I have reported seem to never get fixed. Although they are not many, it is frustrating.

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

I have used Flare to create software documentation in PDF, CHM and Html Help format. I realized a great time savings being able to use the same source for all required outputs.

MadCap Flare review by Paul P.
Paul P.
Validated Reviewer
Verified Current User
Review Source

"An excellent, bleeding-edge help authoring tool"

What do you like best?

I have been a MadCap Flare user for 10 years (at the time of this writing) and I love using Flare and teaching other people how to use it. Flare is a single-source authoring tool that allows you to write help content and reuse that content in multiple ways, either in multiple places in a single project, and even in different output types (print, web, mobile, ebook, etc.)

Flare allows you to create a variety of output types including PDF, Word, Framemaker, several varieties of online help, and several older, deprecated types. You can get very professional output in all the output types.

Flare is built using current web standards. The source files are XML files. The topic files are based on extended XHTML, so you can edit any of the files in your favorite text editor. This also makes Flare very user friendly for source control tools, since the source control tools work best with text-based (non-binary) files.

Flare has decent source control integration, and in each version they improve it. For example, recently, in Flare 12, they introduced support for SSH connections to GIT.

I really like using Flare, and I highly recommend it.

What do you dislike?

Like any tool, Flare has areas where it can use improvement. Currently there is a limitation with using a single topic in multiple places in a table of contents (for online outputs), which can be frustrating to deal with if you have huge projects and you are merging multiple smaller TOCs into a large TOC.

I will say that MadCap Support is best-in-class, in my experience. They are exceptionally helpful and will work with you to solve your problems. Platinum support is worth its weight in, well, platinum.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Take full advantage of the 30 day trial, which comes with FREE platinum support during the trial period. Use it for several hours each day, and call MadCap with questions. It is an excellent tool, and worth its cost. Don't become intimidated by it.

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

With Flare, we are generating content for 12 PDF guides which are all combined into a single WebHelp output. We are able to generate all 13 targets from the command line in a daily process.

MadCap Flare review by Emily C.
Emily C.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"MadCap Fits Our Company's Needs"

What do you like best?

Variety of output types, and content reuse capabilities ensure we meet our customer's documentation needs. Able to offer a variety of help doc (online and PDF typically).

Able to work in HTML if desired, able to customize styles, tweak code to display as desired.

What do you dislike?

Steeper learning curve than expected, though the user doc is excellent (as it should be for a tool created for technical writers). Occasionally find that docs such as marketing flyers are best created in another type of software.

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

Found that the capabilities of Flare fit the role well. For a solo technical writer at a small company it fits my needs to generate a variety of documentation from a single source.

MadCap Flare review by Ken D.
Ken D.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"MadCap Flare is a great product for creating documentation. You have so much control of the content."

What do you like best?

The conditional text functionality is great for creating consistent documentation quickly and efficiently. It is also very effective for delivering content in Agile. Integrating into a development environment is very simple.

What do you dislike?

I think the inline navigation options could be improved particularly with longer pages. Also, the JavaScript integration to create a more interactive navigation experience could be made better.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Take time to learn about the conditional text feature and CSS integration, as these areas are very useful.

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

HTML documentation has vastly reduced the overheads of the training team from printing documentation. Users can instantly access the content without having to phone the company. This was not the case previously when we didn't use MadCap Flare.

MadCap Flare review by John Kingston T.
John Kingston T.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Good authoring tool"

What do you like best?

1. Simple and easy to use UI

2. Support for multiple output formats (PDF/HTML5/CHM)

3. Support for conditional output

4. Snippet feature

What do you dislike?

1. Manually formatting tables with limited success.

2. Editor hangs frequently sometimes (with TFS integration).

3. Integration with version control tools (ex: TFS).

Recommendations to others considering the product

Best product to start with for new authoring projects.

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

Flare provides the ability to get started with product documentation quickly and is equipped to support multiple output formats (PDF/HTML5/CHM). Flare's inbuilt templates are very useful and can be put into use without too much of research. On successful integration with version control tools, it also help writers to collaborate on a single deliverable while authoring as a global team.

MadCap Flare review by Mark L.
Mark L.
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Powerful but Surprisingly User-friendlyeas"

What do you like best?

Easy to use

Conversion of docs from Word worked well

Reuse, conditional text powerful and easy

Extremely well thought out product. Every time i say "i wish it could...." I find that it actually can.

I like that all project data is stored in plain text html files which means you can do some operations outside of flare when needed.

Very robust, handles large projects well.

What do you dislike?

Not much to dislike. Would advise dual screens to be able to have all the required panels open at once.

Takes more time to set up a doc than word, but once done everything is easier and more reliable.

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

Built a help center based on all our docs

MadCap Flare review by Industry Analyst / Tech Writer
Industry Analyst / Tech Writer
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Good for large group projects"

What do you like best?

I work in a group that varies in its number of writers. We typically use Flare to maintain a huge project between anywhere from 8 to 15 different writers. Having previously used Author-It, I've found Flare's UI a bit more intuitive, and liked that it provides editing in XML mode.

What do you dislike?

Flare unfortunately can be very buggy. Perhaps it is due to our large project, but it has frequently frozen while loading a project. So it can be a very painful program to load sometimes. It's also my peeve that when it finally loads, it abruptly becomes the active window--meaning that you could be off typing an email while waiting for Flare to load up, then find yourself typing in suddenly active Flare topics. I have to go and delete everything I've managed to type into topics (and if multiple topics load, hope that I've tracked down them all. I know writers who've later found they saved random half-sentences of their emails into actual topics in our documentation).

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

We've integrated Flare with Git and SVN and have been able to maintain a project of hundreds of topics, which branches to a new project every 3 months. Flare enables us to update and maintain multiple versions of our documentation.

MadCap Flare review by Industry Analyst / Tech Writer in Computer Software
Industry Analyst / Tech Writer in Computer Software
Validated Reviewer
Review Source

"Powerful but buggy"

What do you like best?

Single source publishing to pdf and online. Powerful almost wysiwyg xml editor. Good error and warning messages during publish process. Integrated screen capture is useful. FrameMaker import. Ability to generate different levels of guide from the same set of XML topics by simply creating TOCs for each guide. Very fast support response when encounter bugs or problems in the software. Each release is a bit better than the previous one . Good integration with source control system (TFS). Very useful to be able to create project templates and FrameMaker import templates.

What do you dislike?

Sometimes the simplest of operations can cause a Java exception. This has been better in the latest build. Quite a complicated project structure means a bit of a steep learning curve. Topic based is nice but makes it hard to see an overall picture of a project without first having to publish to eg PDF.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Try the demo but don't worry about the time to learn. It is worth it.

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

Providing technical customer documentation for a software product. Ability to produce help in HTML Help 5 format that is cross browser and compatibile with various screen sizes.

Easy conversion of a large quantity of existing FrameMaker documentation.

More modern online help appearance without having to design own styles

MadCap Flare review by Neil P.