Archive for January, 2010

Creating Your First TOC in RoboHelp

While scanning through bugs and user comments on the RoboHelp documentation, we stopped at this one the other day. A seemingly innocent instruction like “Open the Table Of Contents pod.”, we found, had made a user very very angry. It seemed that the user had wasted hours trying to find out how to open the TOC pod.

I remembered reading a reviewer’s comment that new RoboHelp users find it difficult to locate the Table of Contents folder in the Project Manager pod, especially if they open a big legacy project and the Project Files folder is expanded.

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When you locate the Table of Contents folder in the Project Manager pod, you can either expand it to access existing TOCs or right-click to select the New Table of Contents option. The TOC you open or create is displayed in the Table of Contents pod.

toc_pod.jpg

Yes, you can create multiple TOCs – for different audiences. For more information, see this Help topic.

Steps to autocreate a TOC

  1. In Project Manager, right-click the Table of Contents folder, and select New Table Of Contents.
  2. Specify a name for the TOC.
  3. (Optional) Select Copy Existing Table of Contents and browse for an existing TOC file (.hhc) to create the TOC from an available TOC.
  4. Click OK. RoboHelp opens the Table Of Contents pod.
  5. In the Table Of Contents pod, click the Auto-Create TOC button.
  6. Select an option in the Auto-Create TOC dialog box:
    • Delete Current TOC Before Creating New – Removes books and pages before automatically creating the table of contents. If this option is deselected, existing books and pages are included in the table of contents.
    • Create TOC Pages For Mid-Topic Links – Creates pages in the table of contents based on bookmarks. RoboHelp makes the topic that contains the bookmark into a book and all bookmarks into pages.
  7. Click OK.

Remember that the table of contents is a hierarchy of the folders, topics, and any subfolders in Project Manager. In other words, if the Project Files folder structure is flat, the autocreated TOC will be flat too.

Before you start creating your first TOC, try this interactive demo. The demo shows how to create a TOC manually.

Excluding Topics from Search in RoboHelp Output

If you want to exclude any topic from being searched in WebHelp, FlashHelp, or Adobe AIR output, all you need to do in RoboHelp 8 is select the Exclude From Search option in topic properties.

exclude_frm_search.jpg

Although the topic appears in the Table of Contents, the topic is not searched.

How to exclude topics from search in CHM output
Using the Exclude From Search option does not work in CHM output. There’s always a workaround though as you’ll find in this forum thread.

How to exclude topics from search in earlier versions
If you use an earlier version of RoboHelp, you can still exclude topics from search, using a Conditional Build Tag, say ‘Exclude_from_Search’. The procedure is documented here.

As I said, RoboHelp 8 makes excluding topics from search easy!