MadCap Software vs. Microsoft Publisher

Overview
ProductRatingMost Used ByProduct SummaryStarting Price
MadCap Software
Score 6.5 out of 10
N/A
MadCap Software, headquartered in La Jolla, offers MadCap Flare, a help authoring and technical writing tool featuring onboarding and support from MadCap, and a set of modules for designing advanced guides, aids, and web or application help aids.
$167
per month
Microsoft Publisher
Score 7.7 out of 10
N/A
Microsoft Publisher is a desktop publishing application available with an Office 365 subscription, or as a standalone download.
$139
one time purchase
Pricing
MadCap SoftwareMicrosoft Publisher
Editions & Modules
MadCap Central
$1,500
per year
MadCap Flare
$1,999
per year
MadCap AMS
$2,999
per year
Microsoft Publisher
$139
one time purchase
Offerings
Pricing Offerings
MadCap SoftwareMicrosoft Publisher
Free Trial
YesNo
Free/Freemium Version
NoNo
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
YesNo
Entry-level Setup FeeNo setup feeNo setup fee
Additional DetailsIncludes a 12-month Platinum-level Maintenance Plan.
More Pricing Information
Community Pulse
MadCap SoftwareMicrosoft Publisher
Top Pros
Top Cons
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MadCap SoftwareMicrosoft Publisher
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User Ratings
MadCap SoftwareMicrosoft Publisher
Likelihood to Recommend
7.5
(4 ratings)
7.4
(9 ratings)
Usability
3.0
(1 ratings)
10.0
(1 ratings)
Support Rating
-
(0 ratings)
8.0
(3 ratings)
User Testimonials
MadCap SoftwareMicrosoft Publisher
Likelihood to Recommend
MadCap Software
MadCap Flare has its problems, but it serves our team well as an authoring software. This would not be the case if we needed to regularly collaborate on articles, as Flare is prone to conflict issues when another person dares to breathe near an open topic. When working individually, though, it's fine. I'd love to see improvements to design, performance, and stability, but Flare remains one of the best softwares on the market for our needs as an authoring team. MadCap Central is well-suited to internal reviewing when every member is comfortable with Flare (the errors it tends to introduce set aside). SMEs, though, tend to find it hard to use. It's cluttered, some styles don't render, and it just seems like a failed attempt to reproduce Google Docs. I'd love to see improvements there, to help get our SMEs to want to use Central.
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Microsoft
Microsoft Publisher is well suited for almost any situation. It is something that I'm sure has far more advanced tools than I use or am aware of, but it is also very simple for entry-level users to create professional documents quickly. I have used it for very involved brochures in real estate scenarios and I have also used it for very simple "Construction Zone" signs at a job site under construction. There are so many uses for this program!
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Pros
MadCap Software
  • Snippets, variables, and conditioning are all good
  • Once you set it up, updating Help websites is easy.
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Microsoft
  • Business cards
  • Internal memos that use a logo or a little bit of design.
  • Quick and simple flyers for internal events.
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Cons
MadCap Software
  • The software is often quite buggy, and certain bugs seem to date back nearly a decade and still persist.
  • Customizing shortcuts is often an ordeal.
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Microsoft
  • The greatest shortcoming is large (300+ page documents) that require lots of internal hyperlinks. While it can do it, I can tell, due to the way it bogs down, that I am pushing the program to its limits.
  • I would like to be able to work better with pdf's. I would like the ability to import a pdf of a graph, picture, or some other object directly into a Publisher document. Currently, I have to first convert the pdf to a jpeg and then import the jpeg. I have not found a way around this issue.
  • At one point, I thought I had the option to automatically turn off hyphenation. Somewhere along the way, it seems as if the default for everything is hyphenation is turned on. I detest hyphenation and turning it off on every box I create becomes cumbersome.
  • More options for graphics. Particularly the defaults that allow you to place "frames" and effects around photos. More options.
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Usability
MadCap Software
MadCap Flare is in desperate need of an overall redesign. It relies heavily on dozens and dozens of tiny buttons that contain dozens of nested features. Clicking the wrong button can cause your software to freeze and crash. Building targets can be an absolute mystery, as far as all the files involved. It also has a tendency to freeze and crash. There's typically a huge learning curve for new hires who've never used it--nothing is intuitive.
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Microsoft
It has a great feature set but does not overwhelm me with its complexity. This is not an entry-level program, but it is also not one of the top of line graphic designer programs, like Abode In-Design. I can use Publisher to do 95% of what I need to get done. The other 5% I farm out to the graphics design person in the organization. It simply works and does so in a simple to use manner.
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Support Rating
MadCap Software
No answers on this topic
Microsoft
While I have not directly used support for Microsoft Publisher, I have used their help files and found them to be useful. I have also found that most answers that I need can be found through simple web searches and chat platforms. In all though, there are very few times when the preloaded help files have not given me the answers that I need.
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Alternatives Considered
MadCap Software
I wish Google Docs would work for our purposes, but it doesn't have a lot of the technical writing features we need. Using Google Docs would make reviewing and edits much much quicker, but we need MadCap to house all our documents for our Help website.
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Microsoft
Microsoft Publisher is more for beginners, or for basic needs, anyone with some familiarity with the Microsoft suite should be able to use it easily. If you’re looking to create something more graphic and advanced, you’d probably want to look into something like InDesign, which is not as user friendly if you’re not familiar with it at all. For basic needs the average employee should be able to use Microsoft Publisher with ease.
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Return on Investment
MadCap Software
  • Saves time by offering a way to sync documents with other teammates.
  • Often requires time to troubleshoot random errors or bugs that pop up with seemingly no cause.
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Microsoft
  • Allowed us to created our own documents/educational material for patients. In previous practices I have worked we had to buy "pamplets and brochures" which were very costly.
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ScreenShots

MadCap Software Screenshots

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