You asked for it, we built it! This is a really fun feature that we added to MadCap Flare 2017, and one that can save a lot of time – which is the ability to sync the TOC entries with the topic title.

What’s In It For You?

Well, in previous versions of Flare, you would need to manually change the labels for a table of contents (TOC) entry when you edited the title of its linked topic. If you forgot to make changes to the TOC entry, you would end up with topic titles that were inconsistent with the entry in the TOC. With Flare 2017, you can now use new system variables to ensure that your TOC entries are always in sync with your topic titles.

When you drag a topic into a TOC to create a link to it—or if you click synchronization-01 to create a new topic at the same time that you add a new TOC entry—you’ll notice that the text is blue. This doesn’t mean it will show up blue in our output, it means that it contains a system variable called “linked title”.


Now, the TOC entry text is tied to the title for that topic. If the title for the topic changes, the TOC entry will automatically change as well so that you don’t have to remember to do it manually.

Under the Hood

What’s great about this linking feature is that there is a cascading effect.

If your topic doesn’t have a title (and it doesn’t have to), Flare will then use the first heading it finds in the topic instead.

And if it doesn’t find a heading, it will use the file name for the topic.

When the topic is dragged over the TOC editor to create a TOC entry, the system variable LinkedTitle is used by default. You can change it if you want. In the Properties dialog for the TOC label entry, you can click synchronization-03 next to the Label field to open the Variables dialog. You can choose the LinkedHeader variable if you want the TOC entry to always use the heading instead of the title.

You also have the option of choosing the LinkedFile variable if you want to force it to use the file name.

Of course, you might decide not to use a variable at all and simply type text manually for the label, in which case the text will be black in the TOC Editor:


As an added bonus, Browse Sequences can be linked to these system variables as well, eliminating a lot of manual updates.

Do you have your own favorite feature of Flare? Let us know!

Get Started On a Free Trial

If you’re not taking advantage of the latest version of Flare, you can get started on a free, fully functional 30-day trial anytime. As always, you have free access to our technical support team during the duration of your trial.

You can request your free trial here:

We hope you enjoy the latest release of MadCap Flare! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out at

About The Author

Jennifer Morse

About Jennifer Morse

Jennifer Morse, Director of Product Evangelism at MadCap Software, has over 16 years of experience in the technical communication industry. Since joining the company in 2006, Jennifer has played an integral role in MadCap Software's growth, helping to increase MadCap Software's market share in the United States and overseas markets including Europe, the Middle East and India.

Last Modified: March 3, 2017

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  • Jamey February 28, 2017 at 11:00 AM

    What about existing TOC? Is there a way update them to use this new feature?

    • Jennifer Morse Jennifer March 1, 2017 at 3:39 PM

      Hi Jamey, Yes! The easiest way to do it, is to first open your TOC. I like to switch to the Grid View, and then multi-select the TOC nodes where you want to create this linking. Once all selected, right click and select “Properties”. In the General tab of the Properties, you can select the variable icon next the Label field. From there, select the System.LinkedTitle Variable, and click OK. The TOC labels should be blue, which means they are linked. Hope that helps! Feel free to send me an email if I can clarify further.

  • Robin February 28, 2017 at 11:22 AM

    If I have understood this correctly, the approach described here uses system defined variables. If this is the case, then these should not be confused with user defined variables. We have taken this one step further. By using user defined variables (in flvar files) as the first header in topics, allows us to change applied variable values across the entire project. It also uses these in the ToC, though we have applied this manually in the fltoc XML because the functionality wasn’t there at the time (v10 or perhaps even earlier).

  • Riley VanDyke March 1, 2017 at 8:55 AM

    Speaking personally, this feature proves that Madcap does read Enhancement Requests. It also means I won’t have to write that Python utility I kept meaning to write to solve this problem. Great!

  • Donna April 12, 2017 at 8:35 PM

    This is my first day in Flare 2017. I’m putting some existing topics into a new TOC, and I see that the Label is set to [%=System.LinkedTitle%] by default. When I switch to grid mode, every topic title is [%=System.LinkedTitle%]. How can I make the actual title appear in grid mode?

    • Jennifer Morse Jennifer April 13, 2017 at 11:30 AM

      Hi Donna, thanks for your comment. In “Grid View” it only shows the variable syntax at this time. The ability to see the title in Grid View is a great feature suggestion, and I have sent this to R&D on your behalf.

  • Marie-Eve April 4, 2018 at 9:48 AM

    Mmmm although it is a very nice feature, it breaks our current workflow. Is there a way to not have this behaviour by default?

    • Jennifer Morse Jennifer April 12, 2018 at 10:47 AM

      Hi Marie-Eve, Thanks for your comment. At this time, there is not a way to turn this off by default for new topics that are added to the TOC. The variable can be manually removed and replaced with the text you want. I will submit this feature request on your behalf to our R&D team. In what way does it break it your workflow? I can add this to the request as well. Feel free to email me as well:

  • Yonatan May 30, 2018 at 1:21 PM

    Is there a way to get a javascript notification when the side menu has finished drawing? BTW there is a noticeable delay until the menu is drawn – is there a way to get it to draw faster?

  • Jake Blow December 18, 2018 at 8:44 AM

    How do I change the title of the table of contents to be anything I want, rather than “TOC”?

    • Jennifer Morse Jennifer Morse December 19, 2018 at 11:46 AM

      Hi Jake, are you referring to your PDF output? If so, you will want to create a topic, that is just designed to hold your TOC. In that topic, you can include what you want at the top, maybe it says, “Table of Contents” or “Contents”. Then you can insert a TOC proxy. You will find this in the Insert menu, then navigate to “Proxy” on the far end of the menu. When you insert a TOC proxy, the generated TOC will fall into that container in your TOC topic, but the TOC that is generated will display what you have in your topic for the title, instead of the default “TOC”. Feel free to reach out to us directly if we can clarify, and help.

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