Create a Custom Feed for Sites with No RSS Feed Option

AfterEffects content lead, Todd Kopriva, shared information about this new custom feed service started by Google. If you are using our Community Publishing System, you would want to know when new articles are posted. Unfortunately, the Community Publishing System does not provide RSS feeds at this point.

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With the new Google service, I could create a custom feed for the index page of Community Publishing System in a jiffy.

Here are the steps:

  1. Copy the URL of the page for which you want to receive feeds
  2. Go to http://www.google.com/reader and sign in
  3. Click Add a Subscription
  4. Paste the copied URL in the text box and click Add.

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For more information about the custom feed service, see this post.

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.

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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.

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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!

Download the Top Ten RoboHelp Tips Brochure

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.

Tech Note on How to Repair Damaged RoboHelp 8 Projects

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.

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Adobe RoboHelp 8.0.2 – ‘Must Install’ Patch Available Now

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.

RoboHelp Support Center Page Updated with Links to Earlier Versions of RoboHelp Help

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.

Tweet to Help

Some days back, I spotted a tweet by Tom Johnson announcing his new post – Podcast on the Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging. I know that I have been a sinner, not having updated my blog for over a month.
Nowadays, I spend a good part of my day keeping an eye on my Twitter home. My primary intent is to play the information facilitator for RoboHelp, the Adobe product I document. Twitter gives me the means to shout out updates, new tools, hidden features, and events.
I follow the power users of RoboHelp on Twitter and easily get information when they post new content on the web. My job then is to map that content to core Help topics and add the links so that other users can benefit from this supplementary content.

Step 1: Spot the announcement of a useful post.

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Step 2: Identify the relevant topic in Help and add a link to the post.

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Step 3: Tweet about the Help update.

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Twitter gets me thinking – in different directions. Every now and then, I get derailed and something non-RoboHelp catches my attention. I spot ‘cloud computing’ and become curious to find out about what the world is thinking about documentation for SaaS applications.
Johnson’s posts reassured me that these occasional detours are a necessary part of the social networking experience that we are seeking as corporate tweeters and bloggers. They broaden our interests, update us on the trends, and prepare us to create relevant and interesting posts (being irrelevant and being boring are two of the seven sins Johnson talks about).
You can check out Johnson’s blog for the other five sins. Meanwhile, what are the seven deadly sins of tweeting?

MAX Awards Finalists

If you’re a multimedia enthusiast, don’t miss the entries chosen as MAX Awards finalists. Watch the videos selected in each of the eight categories and vote your favorite.
Voting ends on October 6th, at 12:00 noon PDT.

New Adobe TV

The well-stocked Adobe TV has always been a great source for learning Adobe products. The new version that went live a couple of days back is packed with cool new features that you’ll love. Here are some top ones:

• Customizable homepage
• Improved navigation and search
• Save your favorite episodes to “My Library”
• Share videos on social networking sites
• Subscribe to the RSS feeds of your favorite shows
• Pop-out video player to view videos at any size
• Commenting and rating
• Tags

Check out the latest on Adobe TV.