MadCap Flare is an extremely powerful single sourcing and content management platform capable of publishing to a variety of formats. In this article, I’ll cover tips on using Page Layouts for printed PDF documents. This is aimed at the intermediate Flare user who wants to add more polished page layouts, and create more visually interesting documents.
Tips on Using Page Layouts with PDF Outputs
Page layouts govern content such as headers, footers, margins, registration marks and similar content types that are not the topic text itself.
Page layouts are found in Resources > PageLayouts. The file type is .flpgl and typically exists in new Flare project templates.
I recommend beginning with the layouts included with Flare 10 or 11 then modify these to create your own page layouts.
NOTE: These are not Master Pages. Master Pages are best applied to Flare’s online outputs (HTML5 and others), MS Word and Framemaker, not PDFs.
To create e a great PDF output, you can add different page type layouts and apply them as needed. I often use one layout containing the Title Page, and Left and Right pages, and then supplement this with page layouts for Index and Glossary.
There are two places in Flare that you can connect the page layout to the output PDF: the PDF target or the applicable TOC.
NOTE: You can use the same TOC for PDF or HTML5 web output because each target picks up the appropriate layout item only: a PDF Target picks up a page layout, and a HTML5 Target picks up a Master Page.
Troubleshooting a Page Layout
Page Layout doesn’t show a full colour background
Text boxes won’t change flow
Control the appearance of images in the Page Layout
Add more columns in a frame
It’s well worth it to play with layouts until you understand them and can produce a great one. Once a page layout is done, you don’t have to revisit it except during rebranding.
Page layouts will help your content look polished, professional, and consistent – and learning to use them is a great addition to your skills with Flare.