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MadCap Flare: Conditional Text 101

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Conditional text is one of those writing tactics technical writers love to talk about… but never seem to use.

It’s a shame as conditional tagging can save you a lot of time, especially if you have technical documents which share 90% of the content but the other 10% needs to be tweaked for each release.

This is where conditional tagging comes in.

Applying Condition Tags to Online Content

Before we get into it, we should explain a little bit about conditional tags.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you have a core product set, but you modify the product name for different clients. Instead of find/replace by hand, you can apply conditional tags that tell Flare:

  • If content contains product name 1, apply tag 1
  • If content contains product name 2, apply tag 2
  • If content contains product name 3, apply tag 3

Why use Conditional tags?

Madcap Flare definition: A condition tag is a marker that you can apply to different areas of your content so that some sections show up in some of your outputs but not in others. It is just one of the many single-sourcing features that you can use in Madcap Flare.

After you create condition tags, you can apply them to the appropriate content in your project.

For example, you can apply condition tags to:

  • Topics
  • Images
  • Stylesheets
  • Skins
  • Files
  • Paragraphs
  • Text within paragraphs
  • Table rows and columns
  • Table of contents (TOC) entries
  • Index keyword markers.

Applying Condition Tags to Online Content

How to apply condition tags to text:

First:

  1. In the Primary Target, click Conditional Text.
  2. For each tag, click the Include or Exclude check boxes.

Then:

  1. Open the content.
  2. Select the text to which you want to apply the condition tag.
  3. Select the Home ribbon, Attributes section, Conditions.

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If you want to apply a condition tag to selected text in a paragraph:

  • In the XML Editor, select the text.
  • In the Project Organizer, open the Conditional Text folder and expand the condition tag set.
  • Drag the condition tag to the selected text in the XML Editor.
  1. For each condition tag you want to apply, click the check box next to the tag.
  2. Click OK, then Save.

Checking Conditional Text Settings in the Primary Editor

You can tell Madcap Flare to include or exclude content as follows:

  1. Open the Primary Target.
  2. Click Conditional Text.
  3. For each tag, click the Include or Exclude check boxes.

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This tells Madcap to apply these settings to the conditional text.

Still doesn’t work?

Check that you have the Show / Hide Conditional Indicator button turned on.

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This is on the lower right of the XML Editor. When you turn this on, the conditional tags color code should be displayed.

Now, rebuild the content – does it work?

Hop over to our Facebook Tech Writers page and let us know.

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Adobe FrameMaker: 4 Ways to Find and Replace Conditional Text

When it comes to writing technical documents, the ability to create conditional text is one of the main advantages that Adobe FrameMaker has over MS Word.
Outside the Forbidden City, Beijing

What is Conditional Text?

Let’s say you have one document but you want to tailor some content for different readers. For example, you want to add a new warning message, image or instruction that will only appear in the document for the UK market, but not the US.

Conditional text as the name implies if text that appears based on a specific condition, i.e. show this image in the UK docs but hide it in the US docs.

For technical writers, this is wonderful in that it saves you creating two sets of documents. But, there’s always a catch. You need to keep track of the conditional text and update it when necessary. Otherwise, your docs go out of control.

One way to manage this is to use the conditional text option in the Find/Change dialog box.

Find and Change Conditional text

This let’s you find conditional text and then change, edit, or delete it depending on your needs.

You can search for visible (not hidden text) text that has conditional tags. When FrameMaker finds this, it selects the adjacent text that uses these condition tags.

Make sure that the text with the condition tags you want to find is visible.

To find and change conditional text, do the following:

  1. In the Find/Change dialog box, select Conditional Text from the Find pop-up menu.
  2. To find text with a particular condition tag, move the condition tag to the In list.
  3. To find text that doesn’t have a particular condition tag, move the tag to the Not In scroll list.
  4. To find all conditional text, move all tags to the As Is scroll list.
  5. To find unconditional text, select Unconditional.
  6. Click Set, and then click Find.
  7. To move a condition tag between scroll lists, select the tag and click an arrow, or double-click the tag.
  8. To move all tags from one list to another, select a tag in the list and press Shift and click an arrow.

Note that FrameMaker cannot find conditional table rows.

For me, this is one of the hidden jewels of FrameMaker.

Have you tried to use conditional text in FrameMaker? What problems, issues, or benefits have you seen?