Demystifying mapping file(setting.isf) and TOC generation

Friday, March 26 2010 @ 5:45 PM, By Mayank Agrawal

Demystifying mapping file (settings.isf)

whenever we want to save and use the ‘settings.isf’ which has all the mapping so that the mapping of RH-FM styles or pagination settings need not to be done again and again there are few points that need to be kept in mind

  1. The Export for ‘settings.isf ‘ to export mapping only works for linked document, if you do export of .isf file after importing of any FM document it will be empty.
  2. The ‘setting.isf’ import will work only for FM documents linking/import which has same set of FM paragraph, character, table and cross-ref styles (at least the names of these styles should be same in the different FM documents imported/linked, the definition can be different it won’t affect the mapping) and it is case sensitive i.e. Head1 is not same as head1
  3. for example if you are paginating on Head1 in the exported ‘setting.isf’ and if you want to paginate on style ‘Heading 1′ then you need to do that separately.

    so the “Primer” File should have all the styles defined in all the FM documents that you will work with- just for clarity only all the styles should be there not the whole textual content, then after doing all the style mapping and setting like pagination (setting like image settings, Context Sensitive Help or topic name pattern or any setting that are not related to any style defined in FM document can be done without linking the FM document) after that these settings can be exported and used later for similar set of FM documents

  4. For automatic mapping this .isf file should be imported through the project setting dialog and only after this .isf file import the linking or Import of FM documents should be done.
  5. Any consecutive Import/Link after import of .isf file will automatically take the mappings and settings applied in the .isf file.
  6. If we open the Project setting dialog (Conversion settings dialog) after importing any .isf but before linking any FM document the styles are not shown and thus any style based setting like para style mapping or pagination on particular styles are not shown but these styles and mapping are there and will be used on updating a link or importing any FM book/document
  7. One important thing to note is that if we make any mapping change in the Conversion setting dialog after linking then those changes are permanent to the Project and any consecutive import/link will reflect these changes but if you change any mapping during import through Edit button on import dialog then these mapping changes are local to the Imported file and any consecutive import/link will not reflect these changes.
  8. For some users it has been reported that for some particular settings and style set in the FM documents being imported the mapping is not reflected on conversion (this flow is required only if there is any issue in link flow or else the best practice will be to use the Link flow only)
  • A very easy workaround with almost no expense is to Link the same FM book (do not need to update it if you want to use the imported version of this book )
  • Now import the exported setting.isf file exported from the linked version through the Project setting dialog which has all the predefined mappings and settings to be applied
  • Now Import the same book and you will observe that all the mappings and setting defined in the settings.isf file is reflected in the generated XHTML Topics.

TOC generation in RoboHelp

How is TOC converted

In case Import/Add FrameMaker file – FrameMaker’s TOC only references the FrameMaker documents, headings are retrieved from each FrameMaker document, not the FrameMaker’s TOC file (only the styles on which the TOC is to created are read from here)

The styles in your FrameMaker TOC determine which headings become books, sub-books, or pages. The most important element in determining the level is the left-most indent, then font size and font weight (inline styles do not convert). Headings that have indented items under them will be books.

For example:
If you created a TOC for a FrameMaker document or book, an associated TOC file is also created. Make sure the TOC file is located in the folder with the other documents you are importing. RoboHelp will ask you if you want to include it in the import (you can only import one TOC per session). If you select a TOC file to import and then you choose “No” when RoboHelp prompts you to include it, it is converted to a page in the TOC.

The contents of FrameMaker TOC files are not used (only the styles are used)

Strategies for converting TOCs

  • Set up and apply styles in FrameMaker documents before you import them.
  • Create your TOC in FrameMaker.
  • RoboHelp’s TOC is based on the styles in the FrameMaker TOC file.
  • Headings you want as main books should have heading levels beneath them that are indented, or have smaller fonts or no bold.
  • Headings you want as sub-books should appear under main headings and have heading levels beneath them that are indented, or have smaller fonts or no bold.
  • Headings you want as pages should not have more heading levels beneath them, and should be indented, or have smaller fonts or no bold.

To elaborate the above points, In RoboHelp the parent child relation of the generated TOC are defined based on

  • Firstly, the indentation with respect to each other (like say H1 has 1″ and H2 has 1.5″ then H1 will be parent of H2), all other parameters being same.
  • Then the font weight (a style having bold will be parent of the style having regular font weight), all other parameters being same
  • Then the font size is taken into account the style with the bigger font size would be parent of the style having smaller font size all other parameters being same.

So the combination of above can be used to define the hierarchy of the TOC file that is to be created in RoboHelp and don’t apply any other external formatting in the TOC file in FrameMaker and if you have to then create two TOC’s one for RoboHelp (online outputs) with no formatting and other one for the Print output with all the formatting

Ashish Gupta
RoboHelp Engineering Team

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