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Flare Tip: Adding new topics to a project

When you are working in Flare (all versions) you often need to add a new topic to your project.

There are several ways you can do this: (1) From the Content Explorer; (2) Using a keyboard shortcut; (3) From the File menu (or Ribbon Tab, and in V8); and (4) from a TOC.

Each of these methods has its advantages, clinic but for most Flare users, I think you should be using the fourth method. Let me explain why.

In most of my projects, I work with a single TOC. Even if I have a simple and advanced version of a document, I try to always keep my content in a single TOC. The reason for this is simple: I’m using Flare because of its powerful single-sourcing capability. We’ve discussed at length the single-sourcing you can do in Flare within your topics, but the TOC is another place where you can utilize the concept of single-sourcing to reduce duplication and prevent out-of-date problems with duplicated content.

Using conditions, you can use a single TOC for both your online and print¬†deliverables. At the TOC-entry level, you can conditionalize the entry to only appear in certain outputs. In my TOC, my frontmatter and appendix files (glossary, index) are marked with the “print only” condition. When I build an online version of the book, these entries in the TOC are ignored.

Since I only have one TOC, the best way for me to create topics is to create them in the TOC. When I do this, I ensure all my new topics get added to the TOC. Were I to add the topic in one of the first three methods mentioned above, I would have to manually add the new topic to the proper TOCs. Starting in the TOC saves me that step, so I don’t have to remember to do it.

How do you add a topic from within the TOC?

  1. Open a Flare project in any version of Flare.
  2. Open the TOC that will contain your new topic.
  3. Right-click the topic just before the location where you want to add the new topic.
  4. From the context menu, click “Link to New Topic…”
  5. In the “Add File” dialog box, add the topic like you normally would.
  6. When you are done selecting options on the dialog, click “Add.”

The new topic appears as a sibling to the topic you selected. To make the new topic a child of the topic before it, use the arrow buttons in the tool bar to move the topic to the right.

This method does double-duty; it creates the topic and adds it to the TOC. This method won’t work for you if you don’t want your new topic to appear in the TOC (obviously), and if your new topic needs to appear in multiple TOCs, you will still need to add it manually to the other TOCs where you want it to appear.

I’ve found that using this method makes it so I don’t forget to add topics to the TOC, which saves me time and effort in the long run.

Hope it helps you too!

Note: This procedure creates the topic at the root level of your project, as Flare doesn’t know where you want the topic saved. You can easily move the file by opening the Content Explorer, and dragging the new file to the folder where you want it stored. This doesn’t affect the project, but if you like to keep your topics organized in folders, you will want to drag it to the correct folder.

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