In January 2017, MadCap Software launched Central, combining the powerful desktop authoring capabilities of MadCap Flare with a cloud-based publishing and content management solution. This provides a comprehensive, agile, and cost-effective alternative to other generic content management systems. 

Since its launch, Central has been ambitiously tailored to provide technical writers with a cloud-based solution that matches the robustness of Flare. With each development, we have strategically ported more of Flare's powerful authoring features into the Central environment. 

A Comprehensive Solution for Technical Writers 

MadCap Central is more than just a cloud-based extension of MadCap Flare; it is a comprehensive solution designed to address the multifaceted challenges of modern technical writing. From managing diverse content formats to facilitating collaboration across teams, Central provides a unified platform that streamlines the entire content creation process.  

Central May 30 Update 

MadCap Software is thrilled to announce a significant update to Central. This release represents another milestone in our journey to deliver a robust cloud-based solution for authoring and collaboration. With a range of new features and improvements, Central continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible in content management and authoring. 

Single-Sourcing Mastery 

The latest development is dedicated to enabling users to fully manage core single-sourcing elements through dedicated editors, providing more control and flexibility in content creation and management. This advancement enhances usability and aligns Central more closely with the comprehensive capabilities of MadCap Flare.  

What’s New in This Release? 

The latest update to Central introduces several powerful features designed to enhance personalization, efficiency, and overall user experience. Here are the key highlights: 

  • AI Assist with GPT-4o: We've integrated a new ChatGPT model, GPT-4o, into AI Assist. This model offers GPT-4-level intelligence but operates faster, enhancing capabilities across text, voice, and vision. 
  • Conditions Editor: Customize content based on user roles and output channels directly within Central. Authors can add, create, and edit conditions in the Content Editor, making it easier to manage content visibility across different outputs and devices. 
  • Variables Editor: Managing variables across multiple documents is now more intuitive with the Variables Editor. Authors can add, create, and edit different types of variables (text, date, and time) directly in the Content Editor, streamlining content personalization and consistency. 

And, in case you missed it, our previous 2024 Central releases included 

  • Multimedia Management: Authors can now insert and edit multimedia elements directly from the Content Editor, simplifying the integration of rich media into projects. 
  • Show/Hide Condition Indicators: Authors and Subject Matter Experts can choose whether to display condition indicators during reviews, easing the review process.  
  • Insert/Change/Remove Existing Variables: Experience seamless content personalization and consistency with new variable management options in Central's Content Editor  
  • Efficient File Management: Enjoy enhanced file handling features, including smart notifications on character count limits and efficient recovery options, ensuring smooth editing and review processes  
  • Clickable Tags in the Info Bar: Navigational enhancements now allow authors and SMEs to use clickable tags in the info bar, improving workflow efficiency and content navigation. 

Key Benefits 

This latest update introduces features that significantly streamline the creation and management of core single-sourcing elements, making your workflows more efficient and flexible.  

For Technical Writers 

Greater Personalization Controls: Seamlessly apply conditions and insert variables without switching between applications, enhancing your workflow and precision.  

Increased Efficiency: Centralized single-sourcing capabilities save time and reduce errors, allowing you to focus on high-quality content creation.  

For Documentation Managers 

Enhanced Flexibility: Dynamically adapt and scale your content to meet diverse requirements across different outputs, ensuring consistency and compliance.  

Better Oversight: Gain comprehensive control over content visibility and user roles, simplifying management tasks.  

For Content Strategists 

Streamlined Content Management: Manage text variables and multimedia elements directly within the cloud-based editor, ensuring consistency and rich media integration.  

Integrated Review Process: Authors and SMEs can choose to show or hide condition indicators during reviews, easing collaboration and workload.  

The Evolution of Central 

The journey of Central has been methodical and progressive. Each stage has been thoughtfully designed to integrate more features into the cloud-based environment, creating a comprehensive tool for technical writers and content creators. 

illustration of a computer window with different roles in an organization

Foundation Establishment 

The initial stage marked the introduction of the core components of content creation within Central, primarily focused on adding the most crucial content files: topics and snippets. This set the foundational base for the tool, enabling basic authoring capabilities. 

Core Components 

  • Topics and Snippets: These fundamental elements allowed users to begin authoring content with Central. Topics are individual content units, while snippets are reusable content blocks that can be inserted into multiple topics, ensuring consistency and efficiency in content creation. 
  • Basic Authoring Capabilities: The initial rollout enabled users to create, edit, and manage these topics and snippets within the cloud-based environment, laying the groundwork for more advanced features and functionalities that would be added later. 

Enhanced Project Management 

  • Hosting and Project Management: With the foundation set, Central introduced advanced project management capabilities, allowing users to host projects in the cloud. This included secure version control, task management tools, and simplified publishing processes, enabling seamless content management from a single platform. 
  • Content Hosting and Collaboration: Central also facilitated collaboration among team members, providing tools for users to work together on projects, track progress, and manage tasks efficiently. This collaborative environment ensured that teams could produce high-quality documentation consistently and timely. 
  • Content And Output Analytics: Analytics were introduced to Central to provide users with detailed insights into their published content. This feature allows users to view user activity on published Flare HTML5 output, including search phrases used, search phrases with no results, topics viewed, context-sensitive Help calls, and demographic statistics like browsers and operating systems. Analytics in Central helps users understand how their content is being accessed and used, facilitating continuous improvement and optimization of technical documentation.  

Initial Success and User Adoption 

Early adopters of Central provided valuable feedback that shaped subsequent updates and enhancements. This iterative approach ensured that the tool evolved in alignment with the needs of technical writers and content managers. This laid the foundation for future enhancements. The successful establishment of these core components provided a robust platform, enabling Central to expand its capabilities progressively and introduce more sophisticated features such as advanced single-sourcing, AI integration, and comprehensive analytics. 

Authoring Enhancements 

The next stage expanded Central’s capability by introducing essential authoring elements that facilitate robust document management and reusability, crucial for efficient single sourcing. This stage enhanced the tool's usability for more complex documentation needs, bringing in features that allowed for more sophisticated content creation and management. 

  • Advanced Content Editor: The content editor was improved to support more complex authoring tasks. This included the ability to handle larger projects with advanced formatting and layout options, making it easier for authors to create polished, professional documents. 
  • Micro Content Editor: A significant addition was the Micro Content Editor, which allows authors to create and manage small, reusable content pieces. These micro contents can be used for FAQs, chatbots, and other AI applications, enhancing content interactivity and accessibility (SalesTech Star) (MadCap Software) . 
  • Single-Sourcing Enhancements: The tool introduced advanced single-sourcing capabilities, enabling authors to create content once and reuse it across multiple outputs. This not only improves efficiency but also ensures consistency in documentation across different platforms (MadCap Software) . 
  • Multilingual Support: Enhanced multilingual capabilities were added, allowing content to be published in multiple languages from a single project. This feature supports global documentation needs, ensuring that content is accessible to a wider audience (MadCap Software) . 
  • Custom Responsive Layouts: The Custom Responsive Layout Editor was introduced to help authors create responsive HTML5 outputs without requiring in-depth knowledge of CSS. This tool allows for the creation of layouts that adapt seamlessly to different devices, improving the user experience (MadCap Software) .  
screenshot of AI Assist feature in Central UI

AI Assist

AI Assist was integrated to help with drafting, summarizing, and editing content. This AI-powered tool speeds up content creation processes and helps authors focus on more complex tasks by handling repetitive and straightforward writing tasks.

With the integration of OpenAI’s ChatGPT via API, take advantage of CHATGPT 3.5, 4 or 4o to edit and refine AI-generated text seamlessly, then drop it into your document with a single click. Conduct real-time content translation, scripting complex regular expressions, fact-checking, and uniformity scans, all within the enhanced Content Editor.

The Road Ahead

As we look to the future, MadCap Software remains committed to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in cloud-based authoring. Our focus is on delivering innovative solutions that empower technical writers to create, manage, and publish content with greater efficiency and effectiveness. 

MadCap Central: The Value Proposition for the Future 

MadCap Central combines desktop authoring with cloud-based technology, providing a complete solution for content developers. The platform streamlines the entire content development lifecycle, from authoring, publishing, and translation to cloud-based content management.  

The phased development of Central underscores MadCap Software’s commitment to providing a robust cloud-based authoring solution that evolves to meet the needs of its users. The integration of even more single-sourcing elements and enhanced authoring tools highlights our dedication to delivering a platform that supports complex documentation workflows and streamlines content management. 

As we continue to develop and refine Central, users can look forward to even more powerful authoring capabilities on the horizon. Our roadmap includes features that will further integrate cloud-based and desktop functionalities, ensuring that Central remains at the forefront of technical content creation and management. 

MadCap Central’s evolution is not just about keeping up with current demands but anticipating future needs. With each new feature, we are not only enhancing the tool’s capabilities but also preparing it to handle the growing complexities of content management in an increasingly digital world.  

MadCap Central’s latest release is a testament to our dedication to providing cutting-edge tools for content creators. Each new feature and integration brings us closer to our goal of a fully integrated cloud-based authoring and collaboration solution. Stay tuned for more updates and innovations as we continue to push the envelope in content management. 

MadCap Central is shaping the future of cloud-based authoring, inviting you to join this exciting journey. Together, we can achieve new heights in content creation and management, leveraging the power of the cloud, and the revolutionary technology that is artificial intelligence to drive innovation and success. 

We’re excited to see how these new features will empower you to create and manage content more efficiently and effectively. 

MadCap Central: The Future of Content Management