FrameMaker-RoboHelp Integration in TCS revamped!! Myth or Truth?


FrameMaker and RoboHelp Integration was first introduced in TCS 1 in order to enable online publishing workflows for FrameMaker authors. In TCS 1 a user could maintain a live link of a FrameMaker document in RoboHelp and convert it to HTML topic(s) to be published in various output formats like WebHelp, AirHelp etc. In TCS 1 an initial version of this feature was released which included basic workflows for achieving this objective.

After the feature gained popularity and we received users’ feedback, this feature has been entirely revamped in TCS 2 to support a wider range of workflows around this feature and to make this feature more flexible and user friendly.

This blog covers the major highlights of newly introduced features in this area.

New Easy to Use User Interface
TCS 2 provides an entirely new User Interface to specify FM documents to RoboHelp topics conversion settings. This UI is easy to use and allows for a central control of all the settings related to this feature.
The Conversion Settings dialog can be invoked in RoboHelp as follows

  • Go to File‐> Project Setting
  • Click on “Import” tab
  • Click on “Edit” button for Conversion settings of FrameMaker documents


New Efficient Workflow
Now, users can separate the tasks of linking FM documents in a RoboHelp project and specifying conversion settings. In other words, now it is possible to link a FM document in RoboHelp without converting it to topics and mention the conversion settings later on.

Sharing settings across projects
All the conversion settings can be shared across projects by using the Export/Import settings feature. So, settings once done in one RoboHelp project can be exported to a settings file. This settings file can then be imported to another project without needing to do all the settings from scratch.

Style Mapping Workflows
TCS allows mapping of FrameMaker styles with new styles in RoboHelp during conversion through several new workflows. It is no more a pain point for FrameMaker users who are not conversant with RoboHelp CSS styles.
For FM Users:
FM Template Workflow: Users can define their styles for mapping in a FrameMaker template and specify the template in RoboHelp. This template is applied on all the linked FM documents in RoboHelp before their conversion to RoboHelp topics.
Import CSS Workflow: Users can also choose to import a pre‐created CSS into their project for style mapping.
For RH Users:
CSS Workflow: Users, who are conversant with CSS styles, can design their own styles in RoboHelp and then map individual FrameMaker styles with RoboHelp CSS styles.

Mapping of Table Styles
FrameMaker table styles can now be replaced with RoboHelp Table styles in one go thus modifying the entire look and feel of tables in the document.

FrameMaker Autonumber to RoboHelp List Conversion
Now, RoboHelp is powered to support complex and hierarchical list styles. TCS now allows for easy conversion of FrameMaker autonumbers to RoboHelp Lists while maintaining the list formatting and definitions.

Support for Markers
Markers present in FrameMaker documents are now preserved in RoboHelp XHTML topics in the form of PIs (Processing Instructions). These PIs can be exploited to implement lot of functionalities around them through scripting. Please refer my recent blog post “Scripting in TCS unleashed” for such an example.

Image Settings
RoboHelp now provides various image related settings (e.g. Image dimensions margins, format, quality etc.). These settings are applied to the images generated through conversion of anchored frames present in FM documents.

Pagination Settings
There are two workflows available for TCS users to paginate their large FM documents to smaller RoboHelp topics.
Based on FM Styles: Users can now specify FM styles (e.g. Heading1, Heading2) for pagination.
Based on Marker: Users can also specify a marker in FM document based on which pagination can be done in RoboHelp.

Support for DHTML Styles
Users can now specify text in FrameMaker itself on which DHTML effects are to be applied. FrameMaker in TCS has a new menu item named “Adobe RoboHelp” which allows for applying these effects. Once, these effects are applied in FrameMaker, the corresponding text in RoboHelp Topics has the particular DHTML effect applied to it after conversion.

There is a long list of enhancements done in this area. Please refer TCS help and keep visiting this blog to explore further and deeper into various TCS features.

FrameMaker, RoboHelp, TechComm

Posted on 07-28-2009


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