Do you find yourself in the situation where you keep re-adding chunks of text, tables, images, and videos in your projects? Tired of writing the same steps over and over again?

Snippets are a great way to reuse content throughout your documentation. Instead of typing the same information where you want to use it, you simply need to create content once and insert them in the relevant topic. But once you’ve mastered the basics of how to use snippets, what’s the next step?

In this post, I’ll cover advanced tips and techniques when using snippets in your projects, designed to help you get the most out of MadCap Flare:

1. Auto Suggestion for Snippets

Flare includes a feature that can suggest inserting an already existing snippet as you’re typing. This is especially useful for new members of your authoring team that aren’t aware of single-sourcing best practices.

To enable Auto Suggestion, you will first need to enable the option, as it is not enabled by default. This can be done by following File > Options > Auto Suggestion Tab > Enable Snippet Auto Suggestion.

Advanced Snippet Tips in MadCap Flare

Now that Auto Suggestion is enabled, Flare will automatically popup with a suggestion when you begin to type out the beginning of a snippet.

Example:
First I created my snippet for a simple list, seen below:

Advanced Snippet Tips in MadCap Flare

Now in the Flare topic, once I start to type “gir”, Flare pops up with the suggestion to insert my existing snippet:

Advanced Snippet Tips in MadCap Flare

Pressing Enter quickly inserts the snippet into the topic.

Advanced Snippet Tips for MadCap Flare

2. Inline Snippets for Formatted Text

Inline snippets can be used similar to how Variables are used. However, variables do not allow formatting within the variable itself. So if you need to single-source small bits of text inside the variable you need formatted, use a snippet instead.

Example:
When writing about a UI button, you may want to include an image of the button inline. In this case, I want to write about the “Show Tags” button, but I want the name of the button to be bolded and to include an image at the end like so:

Advanced Snippet Tips with MadCap Flare

To do this, you will need to create the snippet first.

Advanced Snippet Tips with MadCap Flare

When you’re in the paragraph, select and insert the snippet.

Advanced Snippet Tips with MadCap Flare

Then your snippet will appear inline with formatting included.

Advanced Snippet Tips with MadCap Flare

Now if I need to change the “Show Tags button” text or if my image were to change, I can pop into my snippet file and easily make my edits there.

3. Converting Snippets to Text

This technique allows you consistently paste a template of content that you can convert to text and edit immediately after inserting them. This is also often referred to as “Seed Text”.

Example:
I have a comparison table that I need to reuse so we will add the base layer of content within a snippet.

Advanced Snippet Tips with MadCap Flare

Once the snippet is created, I can insert it into a topic, right-click the snippet, and select Convert to Text.

Advanced Snippet Tips with MadCap Flare

Pressing Convert to Text will break the link to the snippet and make the snippet plain text for editing.

4. Sharing Snippets Across Projects

Snippets (along with other Flare project files) can be shared across projects by setting up Global Project Linking. The idea with Global Project Linking is that you can import project files from one project into another and create a link. If project files were changed in the original Flare project, those changes would reflect in all the projects that have imported those files once you do a reimport. So if you’ve created a library of snippets that you would like to use in a new Flare project, you can import resources from one Flare project to another.

To do this, go to the Project Ribbon and select Import > Flare Project. In the Import Flare Project Wizard, select the Flare project you want to import resources from. By selecting “Auto-reimport before ‘Generate Output’”, when you build in the project, it will trigger a reimport of the original project. In other words, if you build in the project, snippets will synchronize before Flare starts to build the output.

Once you select your Flare project you can select the types of files you would like to include in the import. There’s also an important option to enable Auto-include linked files. By enabling this option, any linked files to the snippet (images, variables, conditions, etc.) will be included during the import as well. Once you’ve selected your files hit Finish.

Advanced Snippet Tips with MadCap Flare

In the next screen you will be able to select which individual snippets that you want to accept during the import. Check off the snippets you want to bring in.

Advanced Snippet Tips with MadCap Flare

Once you’ve selected the snippets you want to import, press Accept. The snippets should now be included in the new Flare project.

Got any questions on how to use the techniques above? Do you have any advanced snippet tips that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!

About The Author

Justin Bondoc

About Justin Bondoc

Justin Bondoc, Sales Engineer II, started at MadCap Software as a technical support engineer and turned to the evangelism team to promote the value of MadCap Software’s products and services to the community. In addition to spending his time educating potential and existing customers about all things MadCap Software, Justin likes listening to hip-hop, tackling his next art project, and exploring his creative side.

Last Modified: February 14, 2018

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

Comments

  • Jay February 14, 2018 at 7:43 AM

    Hi,
    The link to Global Project Linking does not work.

    • Rachel Kim Rachel Kim February 14, 2018 at 2:05 PM

      Thanks Jay, that link has been fixed!

  • Jennifer Shumate February 16, 2018 at 1:23 PM

    In addition to these tips, snippet conditions and snippet variables can really increase your reuse. I have many topics with similar, but not identical, content. I use snippet conditions heavily to include/exclude content from one topic, but not another. In the same situation, you may be able to increase your reuse by using snippet variables for things like navigational reference. For example, when the same feature can be accessed in multiple ways.

  • Antony Terrence July 25, 2018 at 7:30 PM

    Is it possible to keep the source file and a snippet linked? For example, I have a “topic1.html” that I import from an external source. I create a snippet from that html file. Can I keep topic1.html file linked to the snippet. that way if I make changes to the html file, the snippet gets updated. I

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