FAQ Support Page

This page gives support information for FAQ and FAQ (Markdown Edition).

We want you to have a great experience with FAQ, so we put this page together to give you advice on the best way to use it, and supply the answers to the questions we most commonly receive via our user support mailbox.

You can read it through as a User Guide, or skip to the part you are most interested in.

What is FAQ for, and what does it do?
Any Tips On Where To Start?
How do I create Elements, Sections and Topics- (and what are they ?)
Combining elements into an email
What do the different compose options do?
Can I store complete emails, too?
How do I add images to a response?
Mixing text and images- and a problem with ‘Mail’
Whats the best way to break things up into separate elements?
How can I move data to another device?
Duplicating topics
Where can I find details on Markdown?
How do the additional Markdown keyboard buttons work?
Is FAQ compatible with MailShot?
I set up my first topic- where did it go?
How do I rename a topic?
Any other tips and advice for getting the best out of FAQ?
How can I get help with FAQ?
What if I have a suggestion, comment or request for FAQ?

What is FAQ for, and what does it do?

FAQ* is designed to make customer support and other forms of repetitive email communication easier.

FAQ holds the answers to the most common questions your users ask you by email, along with all the other repeating elements that you might need in your reply: like introductions and signing-off messages; supplemental advice and information; and images (which could be maps, diagrams or screenshots).

You may find this video helpful, in it we explain how FAQ works, and then show it being used to answer a complex customer email with a few taps (it is based on an older version, but it still holds true)

You can rapidly select from those elements to compose your reply, then click the compose button at the bottom left of the screen and FAQ will combine the result into an email for you, or place it in the clipboard ready to paste into your reply email.

* FAQ stands for “Frequently Asked Questions”- traditionally a page on a website with the answers to the questions your users most often ask.
You are reading one now.

Any tips on where to start?

FAQ will reward time spent setting it up.

Our suggested approach is to start with a single, popular topic first, and go through some of your recent emails, copying paragraphs and information that you expect to re-use to handle this sort of enquiry. If you have an existing “Frequently Asked Questions” list for the topic, this is also a great source for your answers.

I suggest you initially stick to only the most frequently-needed information. This will make it easier to find what you are looking for, in most cases.

Start answering questions on this topic using FAQ, adding extra answers as you need them, then as you get the hang of how you want to use FAQ you can add more detail, and cover more topics.

We have included a snapshot of our support database for “MailShot”, as an example.

How do I create Elements, Sections and Topics- (and what are they ?)

2015-01-30 23.51.48Topics are used to separate items you wouldn’t expect to combine in a single response. For example, I use one topic for each app that I support. 

A topic contains one or more Sections (headed with a light green bar) which contain text or image Elements.

Elements are grouped into Sections, to make them easier to find. For example, I place everything about a specific feature of one of my apps in a single section,

To start creating your elements…

  1. Create a Topic,
  2. Create a Section,
  3. Add text and image elements to it (by tapping ‘+’, or the camera icon, on a section heading)

Give some thought as to what order to place each section in the list, because this is the order they appear in your email. For example, I place my “Welcome” section near the top of my list, and my “Ending phrases” section near the bottom.

Combining elements into an email

Select elements you want to include with the checkmarks down the right hand side of the page, then tap the share button at the bottom left of the page.

What do the different compose options do?

When you select “compose” at the bottom left of the screen, you have three options available to you:

“Email With Attachments” creates an email, with any selected images included as attachments. This is most useful when you are originating your email in FAQ, rather than replying.

“Clipboard (Images Last)” will paste all the selected text into the clipboard in order. Any images selected will be included last. This is because you cannot really be sure whether people you email will see images in the correct place, due to the wide range of email readers available. When you use this option you can say something like “see the diagram at the bottom”, and know that it will always appear at the bottom.

“Clipboard (Images Inline)” will paste the selected text and images into the clipboard in the order they are listed. Note that whilst images will be inserted in order when pasted into Mail, you can’t always be absolutely sure how they will appear at the other end, as different email clients handle inline images in different ways. Note that when you choose this option there will always be at least one carriage return between elements, even if “none” is selected in the Settings app for spacing .

For replying to customer emails, the middle option (“Images Last”) is probably the most useful. After reading the original email in Mail, you would switch to FAQ to select the elements you want, tap “compose” to copy them to the clipboard, then switch back to Mail and paste into the top of your reply.

Can I store complete emails, too?

If you wish you can store some complete prewritten replies, for an efficient response to your most common situations.

I store mine in their own section at the top of each list (and I also place “*” at the start of their name, to remind me that this is a complete reply,  and I won’t need to add opening and closing phrases.)

How do I add images to a response?

Tap a camera icon to take photos, or add images from your camera roll or clipboard to FAQ

You will be prompted to resize the image to one of a number of popular email reading sizes before you paste, this helps to reduce your wireless data bill, and keeps storage requirements to a minimum on your device and for backup. Once the image is pasted into FAQ you can delete the source image from your photo library if you wish.

Once the images are added to your topic,  you can select them using the checkmarks on the right.

NOTE Only some apps will allow you to paste both text and images at once, see Mixing text and images- and a problem with ‘Mail’ for more on this

NOTE that email readers are inconsistent with how they handle attached images. Some will collect all images and place them at the bottom. Some will only show images if you click on them.

See below for another way to add images in the Markdown version of FAQ, by embedding HTML links.

Mixing text and images- and a problem with ‘Mail’

Not all apps behave the same way when you copy both images AND text to the clipboard.

You can paste text and images into the ‘Notes’ app in one go,  but the ‘Mail’ app disregards all text when there is an image present.

FAQ includes an additional option which copies only text to the clipboard. To paste both types into a reply in Mail, for example, select all the elements you want, then “Copy text only” and paste the text into Mail, then “Copy to clipboard” and paste the images.

If you are using the Markdown version of FAQ, a better way can be to use links to images that are hosted on the internet (either on your own website, or an image-hosting website).

This method has the advantage that you can embed an image, or multiple images, within a block of text, and the image(s) will appear in place within the email on most types of email reader.

Use this format

![alt text](/path/to/img.jpg)

or this

![alt text](/path/to/img.jpg “Optional Title”)

“Alt text” will be spoken aloud if someone is visually impaired, or displayed instead of the image if they are reading on a device that doesn’t support them.

Within the rounded brackets, place the internet path to an image- For example  https://solubleapps.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/cropped-bubblebanner11c1.jpg, which leads to an image from this website.

What’s the best way to break things up into separate elements?

Expect to store one or more paragraphs in a text element. Enough to wholly answer a particular aspect of a user problem.

Don’t try to break everything up into individual sentences, as this will just make it harder to combine elements in a natural way. As a guideline, I would expect to select typically 3 or 4 elements when putting a reply email together, including the welcome and closing phrases of our email.

You get an opportunity to edit the result before you send, and we would urge you to always check your reply at this point. It is easy to amend or delete a sentence or two if you feel it is not quite right, or just to add a personal touch.

How can I move data to a different device?

We don’t use iCloud to synchronise data between devices, as it was found to be unreliable in the first few years since launch. This appears to be improving now, and we will be reviewing the situation.

You can move topic data between devices using iTunes File Sharing…

  1. Connect your source device
  2. In iTunes, go to the “Apps” page
  3. Scroll down to the section marked “File Sharing”, and select “FAQ” (or “FAQMark”).
  4. Copy the topic folders you want, into a new folder on your desktop.
  5. Disconnect your source device from iTunes, and connect your target device
  6. Go to the “Apps” Page, and scroll down to select FAQ (or FAQMark)
  7. Copy the topic folders from your desktop onto your second device.

In FAQ, return to the title page and tap “Start” to allow it to see the new project files.

TIP If you only want to move some topics, you don’t need to move all of the folders.

TIP Don’t worry about a file called “topicnames.plist” this stores the preferred order for your topics to appear in the app, and will update itself if you add or remove folders.

Duplicating topics

To duplicate a topic, go to the list of topics and tap “Edit” at top right of the page. This switches to a mode where you can delete or reorder your topics.

If you drag a topic down onto the red bar at the bottom it will create a duplicate topic, including new copies of all text and images in the original.

Tap the duplicate to rename it.

How can I get help with Markdown?

The special “Markdown” edition of FAQ includes support for Markdown, an easy way to mark up your text with formatting, text size, lists web links and linked images using a plain text editor. These are then used in your email, which is sent in HTML format.

A very brief “Cheat sheet” is included for Markdown in every new project, so the information is always at your fingertips.

Markdown Cover Art - JPG

You can read more about Markdown itself on the Daring Fireball website. (A link is also provided to that page from the support button on the title page of the Markdown edition of FAQ.)

For a nicely-paced introduction to Markdown, we can recommend The MacSparky Markdown Field Guide. This ebook version also includes video to explain many of the features of the language.

How do the additional Markdown keyboard buttons work?

In the 2.0 Markdown edition of FAQ, an extra row appears above the keyboard in Markdown edit mode. This contains a series of eight buttons for quickly entering the most frequently-used markdown items. This includes “*” for emphasised and bold text, “#” for headings, “Numbered List”, “Bulletted List”,”Dividing Line”,”Image”,”Video” and “Weblink”.

You can hide the extra buttons by swiping down from that row, and reveal them again by swiping up from the narrow green line that remains. This is similar to the grey autocomplete line above the keyboard in iOS 8.

Using FAQ with MailShot

MailShot is our popular group email app. You can use both apps together to send reminders or information out to a team or a class of colleagues at once, emailing directly from within FAQ.

There are two approaches to sending group email from FAQ,

You can create your email in FAQ and “Copy to Clipboard”. Then switch to MailShot, select the group and tap “Create Email (To:)” or Bcc: and paste the email body.

Or select the group in Mailshot, and tap “Copy to clipboard”. Then switch to FAQ, create an “Email with attachments” and paste the group into the To: or Bcc: line.

If you are still using iOS7 or iOS8, you can also assemble your email in FAQ, copy to the clipboard, paste to the Mail app, and then tap the blue + in the To or Bcc line to select the MailShot group to send it to.

I set up my first topic- where did it go?

Occasionally someone sets up their first topic by editing the “Sample data” topic, rather than creating a new topic.

Check that topic to see if your work is there, and consider renaming the topic.

How do I rename a topic?

To rename a topic, just tap “Edit” at top right of the topics list page, then select the topic you wish to rename.

Any other tips and advice for getting the best out of FAQ?

  • Always review the completed message before you hit “send”, just to spot any obvious errors.
  • Take the opportunity to add a little personalisation, if you can (at least adding the addresses name in at the top!) FAQ takes care of the dull bits of customer support, but your reply doesn’t have to feel like a standard letter, and we believe users appreciate it more when it doesn’t.
  • Don’t forget to review and update your answers every so often, so your information remains current.

How can I get help with FAQ?

We are always happy to help (and customer support is the reason we developed this app, after all) so please drop us a line on faq-support@solubleapps.com if you have any problems this page can’t solve. We’ll do our very best to help you.

What if I have a suggestion, comment or request for FAQ?

We love to hear and better understand how people are using our apps, and are always looking for ways to improve them further through future updates, so please drop us a line to faq@solubleapps.com.

If you get the chance, we also always appreciate reviews or ratings on the App Store if you find FAQ useful. A “Rate” shortcut button is also provided for this on the title page.

19 thoughts on “FAQ Support Page”

    1. To erase a group, a topic, or an individual reply tap the “Edit” button at top right, this will show red “-” signs on each line, tap one of them to start deleting that line.

      The common iOS shortcut for delete is also available. If you swipe right on a line, the delete button will appear on it.

      Hope this helps.

  1. I have a question, or a request for an update.
    I have prepared a set of comments from which I can select feedback comments for a class assignment. The section headings allow me to roughly order them as I create comments. But if I decide I would like to rearrange the comments within the section to improve the order, is there some convenient way I can do that?
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Gina

      Thanks for sharing some insight into how you use FAQ.

      You can re-order comments easily, just tap the “Edit” button at the top right of the page and drag the strips into any order you like by tapping and dragging on the three grey bar icons at the end of each strip. You can drag the strips around into other sections freely.

      You can also re-order the sections themselves. Whenever you move a section heading FAQ will ask if you would also like to move the contents of that section.

      I hope that answered your question. Does this give you the control you need?

      Peter

    1. Hi Oscar

      Thanks for your question. We are an iOS-focused development studio, working just on Apple’s mobile devices at the moment.

      The way I normally work cross devices is to use FAQ on my iPad whenever I am replying to a common question, and turn to my Mac if I need to to write a freeform email. (I will then sometimes copy the new text into FAQ from my “sent” directory so it is available for later reuse)

    1. Thanks for the comments David, and for your suggestion.

      We will add this if we can think of a really user-friendly way to do it. (We normally use cut and paste to duplicate a few elements. If there would be a lot of repetition we would consider placing all the elements in separate sections within a single topic.)

      Is this something you would mainly want to do when creating a new topic- so the ability to duplicate a topic then delete unwanted elements could perhaps go some way to providing what you needed? We could certainly provide that.

      UPDATE we added the ability to duplicate topics. Select “edit” on the Topics page, then drag the topic you want to duplicate onto the red bar.

  2. Right out the gate I know that this app will be a time saver. My only concern is that I do not seem to have control over the noise that the app makes. I’d like to be able to control that, I’d like to be able to turn them off or designate different sounds for different actions. If I could choose only one thing it would be to turn them off. The sounds are heavy-handed, and make using this app late at night with someone sleeping next to me impossible. Besides that I think it’s a terrific app.

    1. Thanks for your kind comments.

      An option is provided to turn sounds off on the “FAQ” page in the Settings app. (We will probably also turn the volume down in our next update.)

      Peter
      Soluble.

  3. How do you force a sentence to go onto the line below? For example, your “Attachment” topic displays the following in Edit mode:

    Peter Johnson
    Soluble Apps

    In View mode however, it formats the two strings onto the same line, ie

    Peter Johnson Soluble Apps

    Please advise.

    1. Hi Marek

      I see you are using the Markdown edition of FAQ, which allows much more control over formatting.

      In that version you can insert a line break with “”, or by adding two spaces to the end of a line.

      Peter
      Soluble

  4. Is there a way to backup the info on my app to icloud. I am nervous about spending so much time creating the database, to potentially have it wiped out if my iPad were to break. And I maybe just missing something?

    1. Hi Kristin

      Assuming that iCloud is enabled on your device, FAQ’s data is backed up to iCloud automatically.

      When you swap to a new iPad or do a major iOS update, “restore from iCloud” onto the blank device to transfer all your settings and app data. This will include the data from FAQ.

      Peter
      Soluble

  5. Another Markdown question – Re: Marek’s question above – Thanks, I can now create a signature with multiple flush-left lines, that do not have unnecessary spaces between lines. Is there a way to indent those without altering the format of the text so it looks like code?

    Or maybe another way to get the same result, is there any kind of “list” that can be displayed with out bullets? or numbers? In a traditional word processor I would probably just type:
    TAB, text, Return
    TAB, text, Return
    TAB, text, Return

    Tabs in my attempts, turn the text into “code” format.

    Many thanks for what looks to be a very useful App!

    1. The best place to go for Markdown advice is the Daring Fireball page, on http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax

      But I do know that you can insert HTML into Markdown text, so after a little research across Markdown, HTML and CSS (none of which are really my area) I worked out a way you could do it.

      To indent your text by 20 pixels, for example, start your line with:
      <span style="margin-left:20px">

      and end it with
      </span>

      TIP: To combine this with the use of consecutive lines, place the double-space after the “/span” instruction, not after the text. (Actually I’m not sure if the closing span command is entirely necessary, but its probably good form to include it.)

      I hope this helps.
      Peter

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