How to use List effectively in RoboHelp 8?

Tuesday, November 17 2009 @ 5:09 PM, By Amit Jha

Today’s web-friendly writing style requires authors to use lists heavily and in different styles and formats. In earlier versions (RH7 or before) of RoboHelp, list <li> was tightly integrated with paragraph <p> tag. This was done to achieve same ‘look and feel’ of paragraph and its numbering, single place style editing and ease of use for a normal user. Sometimes users face numbering, indentation and margin challenges with these lists.

In RoboHelp 8, we have streamlined and enhanced the list feature. You can now create style based simple bulleted and numbered lists in standard HTML format. You can also create multilevel list, which supports a high degree of customization like prefix text control, auto numbering, custom sequencing, list mingling, indentation and
spacing control.

In this blog, I will explain the differences between these lists based on different parameters. I will also explain how to migrate a list from one format into another.

1. Bulleted and numbered (HTML) List
In earlier version (RH7 or before), If you create a list it would
be like this

<ol type="i">
<li><p>HTML List (HTML standard)</p></li>
<li><p>Multilevel List (Proprietary list)</p></li>
</ol>

In HTML standard, list <li> can be created without paragraph <p> tag. If a list is created without paragraph <p> tag then it would have same ‘look and feel’ of paragraph, it’s numbering and single place style editing.
In RH8 user can create a standard list<li> style (in style pod or CSS editor dialog by New >List Style), and using this list style user can create a list without paragraph <p> tag. This can be achieved in following way

  • Type some paragraphs
  • Select those paragraphs
  • To apply list style, either
  • double click the list style in style pod listed in List styles , or
  • go to format > List > bullet numbering. A dialog will popup select the custom tab, Select the style listed and press OK.

To check your HTML list if it is with or without paragraph <p> tag, position the cursor in the list and look for the style in Apply style combo. In the example below “(none)” indicates this list is without paragraph <p> tag.
ApplyStyle.JPG You may apply “(none)” style to your HTML list to remove paragraph tag from the list.

2. Multilevel List
This is new list introduced in RH8, to achieve high degree of customization which is not available in standard HTML list.

Features HTML List Multilevel List
Design It is a container element which can contain any HTML content like paragraph, table, list, text box. It is part of paragraph. It adds calculated prefix into the paragraph
to create a list.
Numbering Scope Block level – List numbering is continuous within a block. It is not easy to add content between two list entries with continuous numbering. Topic level – You may add any content between two list entries without losing the continuity.
Prefix Text Control HTML list does not have such functionality. You may add any text around the numbering.
Paragraph Auto Numbering RH 7 (or earlier) version achieves Autonumber list by bundling paragraph <p> and list<li> styles. The same functionality in RH8 is achieved using Multilevel list. User can create an auto numbered paragraph style using Autonumbered.JPG button. Autonumbering dialog will popup.
Custom Sequencing HTML list does not have such functionality. This functionality is available in Multilevel list.
List Mingling HTML list does not have such functionality. Different list entries can be mingled. Like Table list, figure list, heading list can exist simultaneously.
Indentation and Spacing Control User can control indentation of list. Incase list element has paragraph with tag, and paragraph also has some indentation, then different browsers may render it differently. Technically user can achieve spacing between prefix and text, but this can sometimes be complex and different browsers compatibility might be a challenge. Multilevel list is part of paragraph, hence, the list indentation, if provided, will override paragraph indentation. Thus it has single point indentation control. User may control spacing between prefix and text into the list.

Limitation: – As multilevel list is not a HTML standard list, it generates hard space (&nbsp;) to make required spacing between prefix and text.

Migration of lists
HTML list can be converted to multilevel list and vice versa. This can be achieved by selecting the list and applying another list style to it.

I will provide more details on the Autonumbering and multilevel list functionality in RH8 in my next blog. Please stay tuned and continue to provide your valuable feedback.

Amit Jha
RH Engineering team

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