MadCap Flare is a tool used to create online Help, software and API documentation, policy and procedure manuals, knowledge bases, and user guides. It's loaded with powerful features that may be unfamiliar if you’re new to the tool or haven’t taken a class. This column introduces those features to show you how to use Flare to its full potential.
Generating Project Reports
Ever notice that Reports folder on Flare’s Project Organizer pane? Flare has a powerful report generator that can create over 100 reports to help you manage your projects. The screen below shows just a few of those reports.
Reports are easy to create. Choose File > New > Report or right-click the Reports folder and select Add Report File. The Add File dialog box, shown below, displays the template options (under Source in the upper left).
If you select one of the predefined templates, such as Conditions report, the Report Editor automatically selects all relevant reports (shown as checked in the image below).
You can uncheck any of the preselected reports that aren’t applicable and manually select others.
Or you can select the Empty Report template on the Add File dialog box and manually select the reports you want.
After selecting the reports, click the Generate button at the lower right. The report opens in the window at the bottom of the Report Editor screen. This works for short, limited reports but takes a lot of scrolling for longer reports. The solution to that problem is to click the Open in Browser button to open the report in your browser window.
You can also click the Styles tab on the Report Editor if you want to format the report for printing.
Your generated reports appear in the Reports folder on the Project Organizer, where you can re-run them at any time. You can also extend the functionality of the report feature by creating and adding file tags to create custom reports that MadCap might not have thought of. (We’ll look at file tags in an upcoming article.)
All in all, the Report Editor is an easy-to-use feature that can quickly provide valuable information to help you manage your projects. Give it a try.
Neil Perlin is MadCap-Certified for Flare and Mimic, and is a long-time consultant, troubleshooter, and trainer for the tool, going back to MadCap’s founding in 2004. He also has years of experience with other authoring tools like RoboHelp and Doc-To-Help and some now defunct tools like ForeHelp. He is also a certified app developer, trainer, and consultant for the ViziApps app development platform. You can reach him at email@example.com and at NeilEric on Twitter.