Things I'd Change About Madcap Flare
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The following is a list of notes I accumulated one year, things I dislike about Madcap Flare. Most of them are only annoying but would represent a great improvement. To use public relations terms, improve the user experience. In other words, it'd help us. Frankly, I'd like one release from Madcap where they didn't add any new features, but just fix the bugs and annoyances that already exist. They're listed in no particular order.

Fix These First

Open the Contents topic folder from the opened html file. Maybe right click?

When the HTML is malformed, clicking on the error message in the XML Viewer should move the cursor the exact location.

When switching to Text View, only if one or more characters are selected does it move it to the exact spot. Consider this for the cursor location, too, even if no characters are selected. This is true if the selection spills over to html code. In that case, it opens to the start of the document.

When finding text, have the found/replaced text be located in the center of the screen, not the bottom. It makes evaluating the change easier. This isn't unique to Flare. For some reason a lot of applications do this.

Using find and replace is a terrible experience. The screen keeps jumping around whenever you click in it and lose you position. After making a change, stay in the same place. At times I want to do other things there.

Added spell checker to Comments on Commit page.

Remember that last few comments on the Commit page. I will want to reuse some of them.

Add Date Modified to Pending Changes screen.

Build Events. Have the two script boxes expand to the width of the screen.

When changing from Find (CTL-F) to Replace (CTL-H) in the Text editor, don't destroy the value already present in the Find box.

Make the File|New Project menu drop down larger so it includes all the new options. not just being 1/2 short of showing them all.

Page Layout: Decoration label may cover up system variables.

Be able to set all page measurements to the same system (Pt, px, inch, and so) at the same time. Currently, you can change one measurement and all the other units stay the same. We're changing the unit size for a reason.

When changing measurements from one to another (such as px to pt), automatically convert the all the values. For example, currently you can change from points to inches but 10 points becomes 10 inches now.

When resizing decorations with text, the text disappears. This make accurate resizing difficult.

Analyzer: Detect too long file names.

Too long file name: Better and more precisely locate the actual too long of name.

Be able to add files to the Flare project folders but exclude showing them from the project. For example, we add the original of a graphic to the image folder but don't want that file showing up in the Flare TOC.

Flare apparently has a background processing looking for changes in its folders. This slows it down and is not always needed. Can it be turned off at times?

Be able to build from a topic file.

Have links from topic file to a target file, and vice versa.

Be able to reorganize file structures so that all the topics, target, and TOC is in one folder.

Make Select a Folder during a Find re-sizable. In fact, make all windows re-sizable.

Variables look intrusive when in the document and hard to read. Make variables display just their value and maybe shaded. Not with the "Variable" label in front of it.

In the Text editor, select a style and be able to open the owning style sheet.

Fix the 20 display limit for drop down lists, such as with Styles. I want to see all the items. Or a link to the Styles dialog from that list.

Add Guidelines in master pages. This makes aligning objects easier.

There are lot of items marked as (Default) in the target file. Add a way to see what those values are. EX: Target|PDF|Initial View|Layout.

After a build, highlight the current or last build in the Build window. Currently it highlights the last clicked item.

With the Text Editor replace, be able to replace with nothing. You can't now have to use a space for nothing.

Better undo. Currently in text mode no undos are supported if you switch to XML View.

Be able to turn off HTML reformatting. Debugging HTML is much harder when the format is automatically changed each time.


The Cancel has to be faster. I accidently started an import that updated 600 files and cancelled it. It still took more than ten minutes and I still had to force quit.

When making individual Commits from the Pending Changes screen, sometimes the just-committed file is not removed from the list and you have to Refresh.

Flare doesn't always clear out the Files To Commit screen. You have quit the window and re-poll. Marked as committed but the commit button is not active. Quit Flare and try again is OK.

In at least one instance, after moving a TOC file to a new location, it was updated with the file's previous name, not the current one. Configuration\Standard User Role Download\Standard User Role Download_TOC.htm

The build target PDF options not match the standard Adobe PDF options.

Build Events: The $(OutputDirectory) is listed without a final backslash in the Insert dialog, but actually has one in the output. ProjectDirectory correctly shows a backslash and includes one in the output.

Almost every time I quit Flare I get the Flare crashed. Quit dialog.

Disappearing table rows. In some cases, while editing a table, some rows disappear from the table. It's not a screen update issue. When they disappear you can edit rows before and after the would be rows. Clicking to Text View and back works to restore them most of the time. This happens occasionally but I can't figure how to reproduce. Witnessed by me and Elaine.

I crashed Flare by deleting a file in the File Import Open dialog.

Apply styles to more than one items. Be able to select multiple tags and add style or class.

When putting a border and shadow on an image with Edit with Image, the new images does not display in a PDF.

Advance Sorting option display Column header name and not Column 1?

Sometimes when attempting to select text, it seems to try to move text instead, indicated by a red insertion point with blocks on the end. This almost always gives an error, not crash Flare, but does restore the screen with any text. You have to close the document, choosing to save or not save the changes up to that point.

Include an active startup or splash screen to let us know Flare is loading.

Sometimes with text selected in the XML editor, switching to Text view displays the top of the file, not the selected text. This is disorienting.

Open All but only for currently selected folder.

Improve the bulk Word to Flare convert process.