As I roll out the help to the users, I notice that many (mostly me, LOL) are frustrated by the primitive Search tab: no searching for phrases, no stemming or wild cards, no Boolean operators, and so on.
So I did some research and discovered some ways I can improve it, but I can't get it to work. (I'm using RoboHelp 9.)
Searching for Phrases
This, I discovered, after searching Peter Grainge's excellent site, is easy: Just use quotes! Okay, I should have tried that before I went looking, but thankfully Pete not only included that tip but a tip (in 8 - Navigation Pane) on changing the search prompt so that you can tell users that that's how to search for phrases. He says (and the RH 9 help says something similar) to do this:
To change the string from the default go to
File > Project Settings > General Tab > Advanced > LNG File Tab
and change FtsInputPrompt to your own string.
I tried that, closed it, recompiled, and no, it didn't change from the default. I closed the project, restarted RoboHelp 9, and tried again. Nope. What am I doing wrong?
By "stemming", I mean typing part of a word and finding words that contain that part. Pete's site (in 10 - RoboHelp HTML - Features and Use) cites a question from someone who wants to "search on 'beam' to find 'beam', 'beams' and 'beaming'."
Pete's site says this:
Pete Lees responded with this:
You may need to check the language setting for each help file as only US English files support "stemmed" searches of the type that you described.
As I understand it, you can't set the language of an HTML Help file from within RoboHelp. Instead, you must open the project (.hhp) file in Notepad or HTML Help Workshop and add a line like this to the [OPTIONS] section:
Language=0x409 English (United States)
I tried that, editing the file with Notepad++, but once again, no luck (or, as they say across the pond, "No joy.") I closed the project, restarted RoboHelp 9, and tried again. Nope. What am I doing wrong?
Advanced Full-Text Search
On the Microsoft MSDN site, there are instructions for adding advanced full-text search that "allows a user to search using Boolean, wildcard, and nested expressions. A user can also limit the search to previous results, match similar words, or search topic titles only. When advanced full-text search is enabled, the Search tab in the Help Viewer is enhanced."
The instructions, of course, are for Microsoft's HTML Help Workshop, not RoboHelp. Here are the instructions. Does anyone know if you can do this manually? That is, add some lines to the .hhp file or something without using HTML Help Workshop?
Sorry, missed that – the LNG hack may only work for WebHelp (where I know it works, because I use it all the time), not CHMs. Search the forum for LNG hits – I’m sure somebody mentioned that somewhere.
Yeah, that's what I thought, that maybe it was just for WebHelp, so I had checked the RoboHelp help and it says (boldface mine):
Set options on the LNG File pane
Change text elements in the user interface for WebHelp, WebHelp Pro, FlashHelp, FlashHelp Pro, AIR Help, printed documentation, or HTML Help output.
But, on your suggestion, I searched the forum and found a message where someone else had problems with the settings not taking effect:
So, it's a bug -- either with RoboHelp or the RoboHelp documentation
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I'll generate a WebHelp output and see if it's there.