For those new to MadCap Flare, a target is like a recipe: it tells Flare how to process and generate the raw, neutral content in your project. The target file offers a lot of options in terms of how to process your topic files, and one of the most important ingredients in your target is, “What are we going to create?”

You can have any number of target files in a Flare project, all producing different output types such as PDF, Responsive HTML5, EPUB, and more.

In Flare 2017, a new target was added called “Clean XHTML”.

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Everyone Talks About HTML5. Why Would I Use the Clean XHTML Output?

Clean XHTML produces basic HTML files and do not contain any references to Flare skins, search components, or navigation elements. They are simply your single-sourced topic files.

You might consider using this new output if you need to generate single-source content out of Flare that is free of any MadCap-specific tags. This may be a set of files that needs to be re-purposed outside of the Flare ecosystem. For example, you may need to port this content into another application, like Wikis, project management tools, or eLearning systems.

When you build a Clean XHTML target in Flare, there are some things to keep in mind:

  • Single-Sourcing: Flare’s unique features are applied during compilation so that you still end up with single-sourced output.
  • MC Tags: All mc tags and data-mc tags are removed, including keywords, concepts, conditions, etc.
  • Namespace: The MadCap namespace is removed.
  • MadCap JavaScript: For Clean XHTML output, MadCap-injected JavaScript is removed. In other words, features such as drop-downs, Help controls, text popups, and footnotes rely on JavaScript to work. Therefore, with Clean XHTML output, these elements are converted to text.
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  • Images/Multimedia: Images and other multimedia remain as separate files in the output and are included in the topics by reference.
  • MadCap Styles: All MadCap-specific styles are removed from the stylesheet.
  • Convert to Inline Styles: There is the option in your Clean XHTML target to convert stylesheet styles to inline styles:
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You might choose to check this box depending on the system or application that will be eventually ingesting your single-sourced files. The system may prefer to have the styles inline rather than referenced in a separate CSS file.

If you choose this option, the output folder that contains your generated files will not include stylesheet files. That’s because the styles have been integrated into the topic files inline.

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The addition of the Clean XHTML target adds greater flexibility and opens up more opportunities to re-purpose your Flare content.  Have you given the new target a try? Let us know how it works for you!

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