Optimize MadCap Flare for large projects

MadCap Flare can be slow with large projects and choke sometimes, but there are a few tweaks that can help you to optimize your editing experience and to keep your sanity. By large projects, I mean more than 20,000 topics and snippets, that’s when it gets hairy for me. By contrast, I also work a lot in a project with close to 1,000 topics and snippets and that size is not critical at all for my PC’s performance or my sanity.

All these tips work with Flare 9, and I believe they work with Flare 8, too, but I haven’t checked.

Tweaking performance

There are a few settings which have a big influence on Flare’s performance, especially in large projects. However, consider each one carefully – after all, you may actually need that function…

  • To improve performance in text editing:
    • Uncheck the File > Options > XML Editor > Text Rendering options
    • Disable File > Options > Auto Suggestions
  • To improve performance in file handling:
    • Hide conditional indicators in Content Explorer
    • Apply restrictive filters in the File List, as opposed to displaying most of the files
  • To improve performance of Analyzer:
    • Uncheck the File > Options > Analyzer > Advanced Scan options
    • Set File > Options > Analyzer > Search Limits to 100

Keeping Flare’s “desktop” tidy

Flare’s “desktop” area with its tabs is seductive, because you never notice how many toipcs you have open until you hunt down one. To keep your contents safe and your Flare “desktop” tidy, use these options in File > Options > General:

  • If you don’t need Flare to reopen the same files as in your last session, uncheck Auto-Reload Documents.
  • To minimise potential loss of content, set up Auto-Save Documents. (I think the peace of mind outweighs the performance cost…)
  • To keep your “desktop” clean, allow Flare to close topics you don’t need by setting Close others when opening new document. I like the option Close others with same extension and no changes, which keeps open the File List and Analyzer reports, but closes all the topics that I poked around in without working in them. You might prefer a different setting, though…

If you have other tips up your sleeve to improve Flare’s performance, please share them in the comments.