Troubleshooting FrameMaker Content Conversion in RoboHelp – Part 1

FrameMakerProductsRoboHelpSupportTechnical Communication Suite

In this series of blogs, I will discuss some of the common challenges we get to hear from the Adobe Technical Communication Suite 3 users. Many of these challenges surface due to the workflows used in bringing (import/link) FrameMaker content in RoboHelp. I will also recommend workflows in order to overcome these challenges.

Why are my conversion settings (or .isf settings) not getting applied?

Many times, I hear from users that it appears as if RoboHelp is not applying FrameMaker conversion settings or eating up the imported .isf settings.  Although RoboHelp applies these settings perfectly fine, this impression has surfaced due to lack of knowledge to distinguish the entirely different set of functionalities available in the two different versions of RoboHelp 9 viz. Standalone Product and Technical Communication Suite 3.

RoboHelp 9 provides two separate functionalities for converting FrameMaker content. One is “Import” which is available in both Standalone (a.k.a. point products) and TCS 3 versions. Another is “Link” which is available only in the TCS version.

Import Workflow

During the process of import, one can import a FrameMaker document while applying conversion settings (manually or through .isf file). Once the FrameMaker content is imported, it becomes a part of RoboHelp project and is no longer recognized as FrameMaker content. Any change made through .isf file does not affect the already imported content. However, one can keep the settings saved in the form of .isf file and use them again and again whenever a new FrameMaker document is imported. In other words, .isf settings should be imported through the Import FrameMaker document wizard that appears when the FrameMaker document is being imported. For details, please refer the following steps:

  1. In RoboHelp, select the required folder in the Project Manager where the FrameMaker document is to be imported.
  2. Initiate the import of FrameMaker document (from File->Import->FrameMaker Document or Right Click->Import) and select the file to be imported.
  3. Content Settings dialog of import wizard opens up. Make any TOC/Index/Glossary related settings (if required) and click Next.
  4. Import Settings dialog of import wizard appears. Click “Browse” to select the required .isf file or do the settings manually. Click Edit button for FrameMaker conversion settings to do any style mappings and other miscellaneous settings.
  5. Click Finish to import the document

Link Workflow

While using the Link functionality, one can keep a live link of FrameMaker document inside a RoboHelp project. One can modify the content of FrameMaker document and reflect those changes in RoboHelp using Update functionality. One can also apply the conversion settings through .isf file and update the linked content to apply the new settings. If you are looking for such a workflow you may wish to try the “Link” functionality of Adobe Technical Communication Suite 3.

  1. Select the appropriate folder in the Project Manager where the file is to be linked.
  2. Go to File->Link->FrameMaker document or Right click Folder->Link->FrameMaker document [Please note that this option is available only in the TCS version of RoboHelp]
  3. Select the FrameMaker document to be linked and click Open. The document is scanned and a link is displayed for the linked document.
  4. Go to File->Project Settings to open Project Settings dialog.
  5. Go to Import tab
  6. Click “Browse” to select the required .isf file or do the settings manually. Click Edit button for FrameMaker conversion settings to do any style mappings and other miscellaneous settings.
  7. Click OK to apply the settings.
  8. Select the linked FrameMaker document.
  9. Go to File->Update->Generate or do a Right Click->Update->Generate to generate the content with settings applied.

The settings can be modified again and again and the same linked document can be updated as many times as required.

I hope this explains the difference between the two functionalities available in RoboHelp. Where both Link and Import functionalities can be leveraged in Technical Communication Suite 3, only Import functionality can be used in the standalone version. I personally recommend using the ‘Link’ functionality as part of Technical Communication Suite 3, but please assess the workflows options based on your publishing requirements and see what works best for you.

Mayank Agrawal, RoboHelp Engineering Team

FrameMaker, Products, RoboHelp, Support, Technical Communication Suite

Posted on 06-02-2011


  • By Anjaneai Srivastava - 1:55 PM on March 1, 2012   Reply

    That’s Nice, well explained!!

  • By Sandrine - 3:23 PM on October 17, 2011   Reply

    I use the LINK workflow (TCS 3). The index entries in my linked FrameMaker documents are not retrieved (I linked a FrameMaker book, not individual .FM documents). In the documentation, I only find information about index and Imported documents. Is it because I am supposed to recreate manually my whole index in Robohelp ?

    • By Mayank Agrawal - 3:43 AM on October 18, 2011   Reply

      You need to turn on the setting for importing index from FrameMaker book. You can do that by following the following steps.
      1. Select the linked book in Project Manager pod.
      2. Go to Edit->Properties Or Right Click->Properties
      3. Under “Content Settings” tab, select “Convert Index” check box
      4. Type a relevant index name for the index to be created in RoboHelp
      5. While generating output, in the SSL dialog, select the index specified in Step 4 above.

  • By Kaushik M - 5:50 PM on October 10, 2011   Reply

    1. Open FIle -> project settings ->

    2. Choose Edit Under FrameMakerDocument

    3. Under Paragraph, click the different Heading levels and check the “Pagination” box

  • By Nima - 1:51 PM on June 28, 2011   Reply

    I have tried the linking functionality in TCS3 many times and have reverted to the Import because I find it more stable.
    Linking FM books caused RH to crash more than once and I just couldn’t afford the downtime.
    What could be the reason for this? Is it memory or something else?

  • By Harihara Subramanian - 1:45 PM on June 7, 2011   Reply

    I have a very big chapter running for 30-40 pages. But I want the RoboHelp to break the pages at heading levels and create multiple help topics from a single Frame chapter. How can I achieve this?

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