Create a Notes column in the printout?

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Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby tomjohnson1492 on Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:54 pm

I'm creating a training guide, and in the training guide, I want to have a right-hand column that is mostly blank so that users can write notes in the column. So I would have a main column (approx 5 inches wide) that contains instructions for various tasks, and then a right column (approx. 3 inches wide) that is shaded light gray and is blank. The layout is landscape. How would I do this in Flare?

In Word, I've been copying and pasting the text into a giant table with 2 columns, but it's becoming problematic and I wish I had a better way of doing it with styles or something.

Would I put the body proxy into a table or something (in the Master page)?
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Re: Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby LTinker68 on Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:19 pm

tomjohnson1492 wrote:Would I put the body proxy into a table or something (in the Master page)?

That's an excellent suggestion (although I've never tried it). For online output I'd recommend using <div> tags, but Word doesn't like DIVs much, so the other alternative is to put a table on every topic.

Note that if you use your suggestion, then all the content will fit into that column, including the <h1> tag. So either use short titles or be prepared for word-wrapping of the <h1> content. Although if you're doing it in landscape and leave 3" on the right then you still have a lot of width for the title.
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Re: Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby tomjohnson1492 on Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:18 pm

Okay, I'm using the tables in Word route, but I'm ending up doing a lot of manual formatting. Still haven't figured out how to create a break in a table cell. Oh well. It looks good.
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Re: Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby tomjohnson1492 on Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:42 pm

Word doesn't quite work. If you try to put all the content into a table, when you generate a PDF, it repeats some of the previous content from the bottom of each page at the top. Let me just say that Word is not my favorite tool. I should have used InDesign, but Flare doesn't export into that format. Maybe Frame would treat me better.
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Re: Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby SteveS on Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:07 pm

Why not create an empty image with just a border?

Use that as your "notes" area. You may have to play with your style sheet to get it to work, but it should work in principle.

HTH
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Re: Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby KevinDAmery on Fri Mar 28, 2008 5:48 am

Do you have access to the Blaze beta? I haven't had time to play with it, but I think this is exactly the sort of thing that Blaze and Flare 4 should be able to do. Could be worth looking, at least.
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Re: Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby SteveS on Sun Mar 30, 2008 2:41 pm

KevinDAmery wrote:Do you have access to the Blaze beta? I haven't had time to play with it, but I think this is exactly the sort of thing that Blaze and Flare 4 should be able to do. Could be worth looking, at least.


That was my thought - the columns feature should be great.

But in the meantime we have to work with what we've got . I wouldn't trust my work projects to beta software (well, okay, I do use a copy of the project for beta testing :wink: )
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Re: Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby KevinDAmery on Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:53 am

Very good point. But if it works in Blaze, you have a couple of options:

1) Develop your source in Flare, then when you need print / PDF output open a COPY of the project in Blaze and make the output. (That way, if things do blow up, it's just the copy that gets FUBARed and your original is perfectly safe--so you're no further back than you are today.)
2) If your deadlines aren't too close (big IF there, I do realise) then you could hold off on setting up columns etc. until Blaze or Flare 4.0 are released. Saves you having half your hair fall out and the rest turn grey trying to fight with Word...
Until next time....
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Re: Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby LTinker68 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:29 am

KevinDAmery wrote:1) Develop your source in Flare, then when you need print / PDF output open a COPY of the project in Blaze and make the output.

Unfortunately, and unless I'm mistaken, the output is scrambled in the Blaze beta.
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Re: Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby KevinDAmery on Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:09 am

Hm, point.
Until next time....
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Re: Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby forfear on Mon Apr 07, 2008 4:58 am

I'd go with Word post-production. :)

After you export to Word
In Word
Select the Body Text or Normal or whatever is the primary style for your content text.

Modify the Style.
Select Paragraph.
Set Indentation > Right to something like 3 cm.

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Re: Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby mkitegeo on Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:31 pm

Back to Tom's original question -- about creating a format for a training guide where the user can write notes in an enlarged margin.

I have that same need with the training guide I'm developing -- with the addition that I want to use that extra column for tips, sidebars, and Instructor's Notes. I'd like to be able to create that extra space and then fill it with occasional text boxes, etc. without having to do a ton of post-production formatting in Word.

I've never worked with Blaze and I see that this thread is a couple of months old. Any new word from anyone on how I might accomplish this kind of page formatting while retaining my single-source documentation in Flare?

Any ideas greatly appreciated!
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Re: Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby Paul Griffiths on Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:06 am

Anyone who has done a MadCap training course will know that the Course Guides use exactly this sort of layout. I don't know for sure if Scott DeLoach originally used Flare to generate this material, but if so I'm guessing he used a two- or possibly three-column table for his tasks, with each row containing a step number (using auto-numbering), the step itself, and the associated training notes. Perhaps Scott could be persuaded to share his CSS via this forum?
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Re: Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby mkitegeo on Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:49 am

I can definitely understand how a 2- or 3-column approach would work if the only target I needed was the training workbook. My challenge is that my source content needs to support some online and printed targets that must be single column as well as a training workbook that would be 2-column. I understand the theory, but am having a hard time imagining how to apply it to my specific project with the desired result.

So then my question becomes: How do I format the content in Flare to support both single and double columns without duplicating topics or getting overly crazy with Snippets?

Scott -- if you've got any tips for your old friend at GeoLearning, I'm all ears! :wink:
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Re: Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby doc_guy on Tue Jul 15, 2008 1:24 pm

This might be more possible in Blaze / Flare 4 with the way they have page layouts set for printed output. I'm guessing what you'd want to do is to put the sidebar content into a <div> of a certain type, then in the CSS you'd float the div out of line with the content for the printed output and inline with the printed content for online output.

I'm going to try to figure this out myself at some point (not necessarily in the near future), but if I do, I'll write more about it here in the forums and on my blog.
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Re: Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby scott on Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:32 pm

Hi Michelle (and all!)
Flare 4/Blaze can easily handle multiple columns using the new page layout feature.

To create a 2-column page layout:
* Create a page layout (Project>Add Page Layout).
* Select the "body" frame. Frame names are in the bottom right corner--you might need to scroll down to see the body frame's name.
* Double-click the body frame and change the width (Y length) on the Size tab. Or, just drag the body frame's right side to visually change the width.
* Click New Frame in the Page Layout toolbar and select New Frame. This frame will become the second column.
* Draw the new frame.
* Select the new frame and press F2.
* Add your content. You can add anything you want (text,images, tables, etc) and format it as needed.
* To add a border or background color, double-click the frame.

If you want the body content to flow between the two frames, double-click the second frame, select the Flow tab and set the Text flow to Body. If the second frame is for notes, leave the Text flow setting as decoration.

Remember that your content will need to fit in the left column--you don't want your tables or images to be wider than the column.

hope this helps,
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Re: Create a Notes column in the printout?

Postby forfear on Fri Sep 26, 2008 6:03 am

Hey, its Scott the CSS guru!
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