Acrolinx Walkthrough - Explore the Essentials

Each Acrolinx system is set up by Acrolinx consultants and you, our customer. You can always refer to your customer success manager for help and further consulting. But if you’ve forgotten a detail, or want to reread the steps, then this walkthrough is for you!

How Acrolinx Checks

The Acrolinx Platform is the central part of the Acrolinx package. Acrolinx helps you produce great content that aligns with your goals and brand. It includes a dashboard that opens in your browser, and the Sidebar. Your writers use the Sidebar wherever they create content. The Dashboard is where you manage the whole Acrolinx process, from users to terminology. What’s more, it equips you with a powerful analysis tool: Acrolinx Analytics.

The Acrolinx Sidebar is part of an Acrolinx Integration that lets you check content wherever you create it. When you use an Acrolinx Integration, you’ll sign in to Acrolinx and get the Sidebar in return. Depending on your setup, your Sidebar might be integrated into various content creation tools. The Acrolinx Platform processes and reads your content when you run a check. Then, it feeds the Sidebar with the outcome of the check. You’ll get your results in colored cards. In the Dashboard, you define what and how Acrolinx checks, so that your writers get exactly the guidelines they need.

There are a few things you can do to make the most of Acrolinx for your writers and your content needs. Read on to get an overview of the setup.

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Define Acrolinx Users

What’s the point of software if nobody uses it? You’ll need to let Acrolinx know who will be working with it. Make sure you set up and add your users so they can get started with the Sidebar and the Dashboard.  

With the Dashboard, you can manage your content needs, view Analytics, and maintain the Acrolinx Platform and your licenses. Not everyone will need to access or work with all of the Dashboard features. Writers, for example, usually only interact with the Sidebar. That’s why you can define roles and privileges in the user management section of the Dashboard. 

Don’t worry, you can always change roles and privileges later if people's roles and responsibilities change.

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Set Up Acrolinx for Your Content Needs

When we talk about your content needs, we mean all the aspects that make the content you create special. Acrolinx is about your terminology, style, and tone. It might be that you only work with one type of content, or that you have various content types in various languages. No matter what, Acrolinx has you covered! 

Some tools make the Acrolinx check specific for your content. The guidance package that we provide has all the guidelines that your writers need to follow. The Terminology section in the Dashboard lets you add and manage company-specific terms. And finally, the Targets section helps you tell Acrolinx what type of guidance you want for a particular type of content or audience.

Get Your Guidance Package

When you first start working with Acrolinx, you'll receive a guidance package from us. Your guidance package includes standard writing guidance, but customizations are always available if you need them. After we've set up your guidance, you can still change how it works via Targets in the Acrolinx Dashboard. A Target is made up of goals, and a goal consists of the guidelines provided in the guidance package. You’ll learn more about Targets and goals later in this article. Keep on reading!

Add Your Terminology

Once your guidance package is set up, you might want to compile company-specific terms for your team. With Terminology, you can add these terms to Acrolinx and define how to handle them in a check. If you already have company-specific terminology, you’ll want to import terms with the term import wizard. You can import terminology files in CSV, ACTIF, OLIF, or any custom XML-based terminology exchange format, like TBX or SDL MultiTerm XML. If you regularly transfer terms between different terminology databases, you’ll want to use the Term Transfer Tool. It's a standalone tool that lets you import terms and export terms or create and restore a terminology database.

You can then configure and manage your terms in the Dashboard. Think about using term status, term entries and head terms, and domains to sort and organize your terms. Domains, for example, play a functional role in the Acrolinx Platform. In Targets, you can later add one or more domains to your Target when you configure the Words and Phrases goal. This way, your writers will get the Terminology guidance they need.

If you don’t have terms yet, you can skip this and start setting up your Targets right away. You can always add terms later and build up your own terminology database.

Define Your Targets

In the Targets section, you define your content goals based on your audience or content type. You create a Target with one or more goals to tell Acrolinx what type of guidance you want for a particular type of content. A goal is an aspect of language that you want Acrolinx to focus on. For example, Tone is a goal, and so is Consistency. Let’s say you manage blog posts and technical documentation. Those 2 types of content would need different types of guidance. You’d create a Target for blog posts (maybe with a focus on tone) and a separate Target for technical documentation (maybe with a focus on consistency).

Acrolinx comes with goals for different content needs and specific presets for these goals. In many cases, you can use the presets and get started right away. With the Words and Phrases goal, you connect a Target to your terminology.

With Target assignment, you make sure that the right Targets apply to the right writers. For example, you might want technical writers like us to check with a Target for technical content. Your marketing team, on the other hand, might need Targets for marketing content like blog posts or company announcements. 

Didn’t find the right preset or want to fine-tune a certain guideline? We’ve got you covered. There are several options to fine-tune your goals. If you need special guidelines, you can write to We’ll create custom guidelines and add them to an updated guidance package.

Configure Your Content Profiles

Content Profiles let you configure how Acrolinx reads your content. Acrolinx provides you with a lot of Content Profiles based on your needs. If you want your check to include or exclude additional elements, you can tweak these profiles in the Acrolinx Dashboard. There are different Content Profiles for different file types, for example Word, Markdown, PowerPoint, or YAML. 

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Optimize with Analytics

Acrolinx Analytics is a suite of dashboards that help you assess performance, pinpoint problems, and optimize your system. You can measure content optimization against your goals and check the frequency of terminology usage. The dashboards come in 4 major categories.

Track how your content impacts your business and see where you’ve made improvements with the Impact dashboards. In Analysis, explore how your content does across your most important measures. Guidance is all about terminology! Acrolinx is like any system–it needs to be in use to be fit. With Health, you can check how often Acrolinx is in action. We also recommend that you update regularly to maintain good health. With the Integration Tracking dashboard, you’ll know if you need to update an integration.

You can also use Analytics data to fine-tune your guidance and set up new Targets. For example, the Term Discovery dashboard helps you find terms that are in your content but not in your terminology. And if you see recurring content issues, you might want to fine-tune your guidance to help your writers even more. Within Analytics, you define your own metadata for users, audiences, and processes. On top of that, you can use a range of criteria, such as department or language, to create different Content Groups. You can then view and compare aggregated metrics by Content Group.

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