Context-sensitive help in Madcap Flare is pretty easy to set up – you just follow the steps in Flare's context-sensitive help instructions. However, there's a usability problem that you must work around for the context-sensitive help to be successful.
Let me explain. When the user clicks a context-sensitive help link, a help window appears, as it should. But suppose the user doesn't close the help window, but instead clicks back to the application. The help window minimizes. Now the user then clicks another context-sensitive help link. The new help topic loads in the existing help window, sure enough, but that help window remains minimized. The minimized help window doesn't automatically come to focus on top. As a result, the user thinks the help link is broken.
Fortunately, the solution is simple.
var newWindow = window.open( cshString, "_MCWebHelpCSH", browserOptions + size );
Note: See note in step3 about making the curly quotation marks straight. Otherwise it won't work.
Now when the user clicks subsequent context-sensitive help links, even if the help window is minimized, it will come to focus on top. Perfect.
Tip: If you use Madcap Flare, I highly recommend that you subscribe to Eddie VanArsdall's blog: Simplifying Complexity. Eddie is a certified Flare instructor and provides tips about Flare on his blog.
Note: As always, Flare doesn't support changes to the core files. When you upgrade to Flare 4.2, your changes will be lost. In that case, keep this post handy.
<input type="button" value="Open Help System" onclick="FMCOpenHelp( 1000, null, null, null );" />
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I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include technical writing, authoring and publishing tools, API documentation, tech comm trends, visual communication, technical writing career advice, information architecture and findability, developer documentation, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here.