One of the benefits you have while using Flare to maintain the source files of your documentation – is that they’ll all be saved using open file type standards.  There isn’t a hidden/proprietary database holding your data in a format that you’ll never understand.

A Flare project can consist of XHTML, JavaScript, CSS, Media, and various other file types – so retaining the ability to edit these source docs, or perhaps even script the generation of them from an external system is a huge plus.  When you need to edit the source files that are already included as a part of the project, the familiar Windows “Open With” dialog can come in very handy. 

Several people have recently asked how to customize the “Open with” context menu item in Flare’s ribbon user interface.  It just so happens that Windows has a way of knowing what programs should be used to open/edit a specific type of file – you just have to set up the association of that file type with the specific application that you want to use as an editor.

Open with...

For the example we’re using, we’ll work under the premise that you’re editing the TOC entries of a Flare TOC in an external text editor.  In these steps we will be setting up the TOC file to have the option to be opened with the great and free text editing application Notepad++.  While you can do this for any file type in Flare, the most common will probably be the topic files (htm) or Style Sheets (css).

Step#1: In Flare, go to the file that you want to add this external editing functionality for, right-click the containing folder and select “Open Folder in Windows”.

Open Folder

Step#2: With the Windows Explorer now open, you should see the files in the folder.  Right-click the file and select “Open with…”

right-click in Windows

The Windows “Open with” Dialog should open.

Windows Open With UI

Step#3: At this point you can either Browse or use the “Other Programs” drop-down to find the application that you would like to use. As you can see, Notepad++ was in my “Other Programs” drop-down so there was not need to Browse.

IMPORTANT: Before clicking OK, make sure that the “Always use the selected program to open this kind of file” is NOT selected. This will open the file type in the selected program rather in Flare’s UI when double-clicking from within Flare.

Windows Open With UI

Step#4: Close and reopen Flare and your project.  Go to the file type that you associated with the other application, right-click and select “Open with”.  The application that you selected should appear in the list of options.

Open with customized


You now should be all set.  Going forward, double-clicking the file in Flare will open it in the Flare Editor, when you’re needing to edit the file outside of Flare, the application that you associated with it will be an option for you from the right-click | Open with menu item.  The same steps will apply for other file types, using other Windows applications.

Please leave a comment or feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

About The Author

Jose Sermeno

About Jose Sermeno

With over 10 years of experience in the software industry, Mr. Sermeno brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the product evangelist team, helping introduce new users to everything MadCap Software. In his spare time, Jose is the Project Director for San Diego City Robotics, the San Diego community college systems robotics program, and enjoys working in software design and open source hardware development. Prior to joining MadCap in late 2010, Jose ran a Drupal development shop, and was an application manager for Temple University Health System.

Last Modified: October 25, 2013

This entry was posted in MadCap Flare, Tips & Tricks. Bookmark the permalink.


  • Eileen February 1, 2013 at 5:12 AM

    Cool tip! Especially handy for graphic files. Thanks!

  • Shawn February 6, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    Thanks Jose,
    But how can one modify the View Output pull-down menu list in the Build Progress window?

    I created a batch file to open a custom FireFox browser profile. I want to preview content with my custom FF profile, rather than my main working FF profile


    • Jose Sermeno Jose Sermeno February 7, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      Hi Shawn,

      That dialog calls firefox.exe on your machine. You’ll have to set up Firefox to prompt you to choose which profile you’d like load on startup. Details on how to do this can be found in the “Options” section here:

      You’ll want to work with the box for “Don’t ask at startup” unchecked.

      It also may be as simple as modifying your batch to call “firefox.exe -p”, which would open firefox with the profile prompt.

  • Gina George May 6, 2015 at 2:25 PM

    Not sure what version this post originally applied to, but I cannot get this to work at all in Flare 10. 🙁

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