Adobe Help Events at MAX

At MAX next month, Adobe is putting together some sessions with snacks and drinks to get feedback on the new version of Community Help. Get a sneak preview. The new Community Help has an all new AIR interface and some exciting new features.

The sessions will be held at these times:
• Monday 10/5/09 11:30 am – 1 pm
• Tuesday 10/6/09 4:30 pm – 6 pm

Please contact if you think you can make either of these sessions at MAX and she’ll send you more details.

Creating a Multi-Module Adobe Captivate 4 Movie with a TOC

Typically, when you create a multi-module course, you add a menu to support a user-driven learning path. When users can study the modules in any order or when a course has many modules, adding a visual clue to indicate user progress helps.

In Captivate 4, you can create a multi-module course that supports a user-driven learning path and also gives a visual clue (a checkmark) when a user completes a module by simply adding a TOC to the movie.

The steps to create a TOC are here.

If you are using a menu to create a multi-module course, check this article by Isaac Tabe. Isaac gives step-by-step instructions to show checkmarks on the menu slide of a multi-module Captivate movie based on user progress. The solution uses variables and advanced actions, a powerful way to add complex interactivity in your Captivate movie.

For more information on variables and advanced actions, see Captivate Help.

Mini TOC Placeholder in RoboHelp

With RoboHelp, you can automatically generate mini TOCs in long articles with many subsections.


Here’s Benny Joseph, my colleague at Adobe and a RoboHelp pro, on when to use the mini TOC placeholder and how:

Consider the following when you create and apply master pages with mini TOC in your RoboHelp project:
Need for mini TOC: Many topics could contain only one coherent topic, which does not require structuring through sub headings or bookmarks within the topic. For such topics, a mini TOC might not be required. You can create a separate master page without the mini TOC placeholder and apply it to such topics to avoid the mini TOC from appearing.

Topic Length: If your article is a large topic with many subsections, the mini TOC could appear long and nested. In such cases, try to restructure and divide the content and in multiple topics. For example, if you use lower heading levels such as Heading 5 and Heading 6 to highlight definition lists, try to bunch them under a higher level heading, and apply paragraph styles other than heading styles.

Number of levels: RoboHelp includes heading levels 2 through 6 in the mini TOC by default. However, if the topics have a large number of lower-level heading styles, the mini TOCs generated on these pages can become long and deeply nested. To avoid this, limit the number of levels in the mini TOC to have a shorter mini TOC that gives a quick overview of your topic contents.

Placement: Even though you can place a mini TOC placeholder in a topic or a master page, use the master page option if your project is large or you are updating an existing project. Inserting a mini TOC placeholder in each topic can be time-consuming, whereas you can apply a master page with a mini TOC placeholder to large projects at one go.

Adobe Community Publishing 1.1 beta

If you refer to Adobe documentation on the web, you know you can sign in with your Adobe ID and add your comments to any Help topic. Experts designated as moderators answer your queries.
With the release of Adobe Community Publishing 1.1 beta, Adobe has taken another huge step in encouraging community participation.
Community members can contribute tips, movies, code snippets and more with easy-to-use templates. Contributions are moderated by community experts. Plus, everyone in the community can rate and comment on contributions.
To add a contribution, follow these steps:

  1. Download the Community Publishing app:
  2. Author your tip using a simple template
  3. Publish it to

Content goes live within minutes and is automatically added to community help search.

Check out this useful tip added recently by RoboHelp moderator Peter Grainge.

For all tips, see

Tips to reduce editing time for Captivate movies

Anyone who creates computer-based tutorials for a client knows the kind of effort that goes into applying a consistent style, in on-screen text as well as visuals. If you are using Captivate to create these tutorials, there are many ways you can reduce post-production editing time.

One of the least-known ways is perhaps the way to change the default captions added by Captivate for various actions you record.

Continue reading…

RoboHelp – the Preferred HAT for Many

A poll to decide the most preferred Help Authoring Tool (HAT) is on for weeks now on the Technical Writers of India (TWIN) home page. TWIN is the meeting ground of new and experienced technical writers scattered over many metros of India and attracts thousands of visitors daily. But let’s get back to where I began: the poll to decide the most preferred HAT.

RoboHelp doggedly retains the top position with a whopping 85% percent of votes!

This is great news and reason enough for reaching out with Help to the wide network of RoboHelp users. Adobe’s commitment to integrate the community has seen many new initiatives in 2009. A Help and Support page for different products is one. On these pages, you will find a variety of Help resources—user guides, tutorials, videos, articles, and blogs—gathered from Adobe and community content. Check out the Help and Support pages for RoboHelp:

Text to Speech Feature of Adobe Captivate

Text to Speech is certainly one of the coolest features of Captivate 4. e-Learning course developers no longer need to budget for the time and cost of audio creation. This adds a new dimension to rapid authoring. And where individual users like trainers, managers, and software developers are concerned, they can now independently create a movie complete with audio.
All you need to do to generate the audio for a slide is add slide notes and select a voice. Captivate converts the slide notes into audio in seconds. If you want to generate audio for multiple slides in one go, you can use the Speech Management option.

Continue reading…

Frame, Rob, and Capture

Or, simply Help? Writing at Adobe, I can be envied for my easy access to some of the best authoring tools. On this page, I’ll be compiling nuggets of information that will supplement installed Help and help us become power users of FrameMaker, RoboHelp, and Captivate. Of course, every now and then, I will digress from the tool talk and talk authoring (authors will be another time and blog :)). Stay with me.