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.


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!

6 Responses to Excluding Topics from Search in RoboHelp Output

  1. Rick Stone says:

    This comment is in response to the note below the image that reads:Although the topic appears in the Table of Contents, the topic is not searched.Not all topics will or should be part of the Table of Contents (TOC). Actually, one reason that it’s often desired for a topic not to appear in Search results is because it is intended to be used only as a Context Sensitive Help (CSH) topic. It would be unusual for a CSH topic to be listed in a TOC.

  2. Nandini Gupta says:

    Makes perfect sense, Rick. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Laurie says:

    If you exclude content, such as a topic, using a conditional build tag, how do you also exclude it from the search results? Do you really have to use this exclude from search option on each topic for each different build? Some content should show in certain builds, yet it can always be found via searching even though it should be hidden.

    • nandinigupta says:

      Unfortunately, in RoboHelp 8, there’s no exclude from search option at a project or layout level. Nice enhancement idea though. Thanks, Laurie.

      • Steve R says:

        You had me worried there… instead I’m pleased that the suggested behaviour has been implemented (only sensible really).

        Just done some testing in RoboHelp9 and the enhancement you were looking for seems to be in the latest version 9 of RH:

        1. Added a new topic with some unusual content ‘ocelot’, ‘garmin’, ‘axolotl’.
        2. Compile Help. The terms appear in search as you’d expect.
        3. Checked ‘Exclude from Search’. Terms correctly excluded.
        4. Unticked ‘Exclude’. Added conditional build tag.
        5. Compile without this build tag.
        6. Topic excluded. Search terms do not find the topic.

        Bonus note: excluding a topic with a build tag at the Topic Properties level, also removes it from the TOC. But exclduing it at the TOC level ONLY does that – it stays in the build but removes it from the TOC, it’s still searchable unless ‘Exclude’ is also selected.

  4. Nandini Gupta says:

    Thanks, Steve, for your great value-add. RoboHelp 9 also has a new option in layout properties called Exclude Unreferenced Topics From Output. You can find more info about the option in Help: