Some days back, I had blogged about the two sample projects that come with Adobe RoboHelp 9. While the primary purpose of these projects is to demonstrate some of the new and old features of RoboHelp, these projects also exemplify some cool best practices for authoring in RoboHelp.
Use of cross-hatching to indicate that a topic/text has CBTs applied
Using the View > Show > Conditional Areas option, the sample projects display CBT-applied topics or text with cross-hatch shading.
Cross-hatching to easily identify CBT-applied topics
See Hide and view conditional text for more information.
Use of DHTML drop-downs to reveal information on demand
The sample projects include several tips. Some of the tips are “hidden” in the output by using DHTML drop-downs. Only the tip icon appears in the output to minimize distraction, and users need to click the icon to reveal the information. The same technique has been applied to show information about entitlement, procedure, and disputes related to dependants’ leaves.
Extra information "hidden"
Extra information displayed "on demand"
See Dynamic HTML and special effects for more information.
We recommend that you play with the sample projects and discover many more best practices. Check out how you can use user-defined variables and snippets to enhance productivity and ensure consistency. Check out how you can use master pages to add branding and copyright information to each page of your Help system.
I haven’t yet had a chance to work on Windows 7. Although for many months now, I have had some second-hand experience of using it. The developers I work with, my coworkers, and my tweples – everyone’s talking about Windows 7 on the other laptop or the new PC.
Apart from substantiating the general euphoria about the interface and the speed, the comments or the tweets sometimes highlight pain points, many of which are compatibility issues and have a quick fix or workaround.
In a recent blog post, Rick Stone talks about one compatibility issue that our Help users are likely to encounter. Many HTML pages have Captivate demos inserted in them. If you are running Windows 7, you might find that these demos are not appearing (instead, there’s a large placeholder).
Cause and Solution
Flash Player is currently not supported on 64-bit browsers. Use a 32-bit browser.
For more information, see this document from Adobe KnowledgeBase.
To share his experience with RoboHelp users, Rick has added a link to his post in the relevant topic in RoboHelp Help.
If you have encountered any problem testing RoboHelp output and found a solution, share the information with other users by adding a comment.
By default, the list of recent projects that appears in the Starter pod and in the File menu displays up to the last ten projects opened. Pin a recently opened project so that it always appears in the recent projects’ list. The list displays the pinned projects and recently used projects up to the number of projects set in the Max field.
- Select Tools > Options.
- On the General tab, select a project from the Most Recently Used list.
- Click Pin. Click Apply.
Click Unpin to remove a pinned project from the recent projects’ list.
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.
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.
Yes, you can create multiple TOCs – for different audiences. For more information, see this Help topic.
Steps to autocreate a TOC
- In Project Manager, right-click the Table of Contents folder, and select New Table Of Contents.
- Specify a name for the TOC.
- (Optional) Select Copy Existing Table of Contents and browse for an existing TOC file (.hhc) to create the TOC from an available TOC.
- Click OK. RoboHelp opens the Table Of Contents pod.
- In the Table Of Contents pod, click the Auto-Create TOC button.
- 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.
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.
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!
Late last month, we created small brochures of RoboHelp, FrameMaker, and Acrobat tips for the STC India Conference attendees.
Download the RoboHelp brochure from here.
My colleague Samartha Vashishtha has shared the FrameMaker and Acrobat brochures on his site.
As you already know, RoboHelp Service Release 8.0.2 addresses the problem of slow performance and broken links in RoboHelp 8.
RoboHelp 8.0.2 update is now available through Adobe Update Manager (AUM). You can check for updates from the Help > Update menu in RoboHelp 8. This update is also available for download from RoboHelp Support Center.
Installing RoboHelp Service Release 8.0.1 followed by RoboHelp Service Release 8.0.2 addresses problems related to CPDs. However, you need to manually repair any damaged projects you have. See this tech note for the exact steps.
RoboHelp Service Release 8.0.2 is available now. This is a ‘must apply’ service release. Make sure that you install the RoboHelp 8.0.1 update before installing the 8.0.2 update.
The 8.0.2 update addresses the following issues:
1. The CPD file grows in size and may result in slow performance.
2. The mouse cursor flickers in certain scenarios.
3. Deleting the CPD may result in scenarios where Project Manager reports broken links.
Both 8.0.1 and 8.0.2 updates are available for download here.
Many RoboHelp users who are yet to migrate to RoboHelp 8–the latest RoboHelp version–have had some difficulty in finding Help on RoboHelp 7. The good news is that they can now access the documentation for all key RoboHelp software components from the familiar RoboHelp Support Center page. The Reviewer’s Guide is also linked from this page.