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Getting Smart with Flare: Lessons from the MadCap Flare Workshop
May 26, 2017
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Lisa Parys, Student Member & Education Director

Lisa Parys
Lisa Parys
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The Carolina STC MadCap Flare workshop was a unique experience. I attended the DITA workshops offered in the past, but had not yet had the opportunity to learn more about MadCap.

As someone who is still hoping to transition from my current job as a pharmacy technician to a career in technical communication, I had been eagerly hoping to attend. I’m so glad it worked out because I knew that part of successfully procuring a job as a technical communicator requires knowing as many types of authoring tools as possible.Attending meant being skilled in another software product that companies look for on resumes when hiring technical communicators.

When I arrived at the Extreme Networks building for the training, I was pleased to meet several other chapter members I had not previously met. One of the best parts about attending STC events is meeting new people, and thankfully, this was no exception.

As the workshop got underway, Scott discussed the basics of Flare:
  • How it is used
  • What it is capable of
  • What makes it unique among all of the tech. comm. tools that are out there
  • What options are available on the toolbar

During the first half of the day, Scott showed us what some of those options can do as he applied them in various tasks. Meanwhile, he provided useful tips and tricks to navigate tricky circumstances. The one I remember the most is that we should have design or layout of an intended web page idea in mind because it will be much easier to get the desired result if you know what you are working towards in advance. I am glad that he mentioned this because my usual process is to play around with my design elements and determine what looks good that way. Apparently in Flare, this is not the best practice.

In the afternoon, we completed exercises and did some hands-on work with the software. We used sample documents that Scott provided in advance. This was a great way to get a feel for what the product can do. When he showed us how styles work, it dovetailed nicely with what I had learned in my Document Design graduate class at East Carolina University and helped me better understand that concept.

I am glad I attended this workshop and appreciate how the skills compliment some of my classroom learning, but also make me more marketable as a technical communicator. I believe it will increase my edge in making me employable in the field. And I don’t believe that a person can ever have too many advantages when trying to break in.

I believe that the skills learned at this workshop will be valuable and I am grateful to our chapter for offering this opportunity for those who want to make themselves more marketable in today’s competitive economy.

Lisa Parys can be reached at lparys3 at gmail dot com. Read more articles by Lisa Parys. End of article.

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