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Multiple issues lurk here.
My preference is to import the targets as baggage files in RH. This makes it much easier to manage links.
You may run into some security roadblocks when your help topic links to a document (rather than an URL) on a different server. It is best to keep WebHelp and any of its resources on the same drive.
In a network setting (not built as an Intranet) you can link to an external file. The "Link to ... File" dialog requires you to have the target file in place and stores the path when you select the file. This can get tricky. RH may store a relative path if the target is on the same drive as the RH project. When you publish the WebHelp on another drive, the target has to be in the same relative path, or you will have to manually adjust the link.
RH won't let you type a "fake" file directory path into the hyperlink dialog.
(By the way, the "Link to ... File" dialog asks whether you want to import it into your project. My advice would be to say Yes.)
For a true Intranet, you can use the "Link to ... Web Address" dialog and complete the http tag manually. You do not have to import the target file as baggage.
How does a .pdf document open as a Word doc? A Web browser usually looks for a pdf reader first.
You say the RoboHelp server "is a dedicated server used only for Robohelp projects." It should be a server dedicated (but I'm not sure why it's necessary) to WebHelp output packages, not RH projects. The RH source project must be on the hard drive where the RH application is running, which must be your local disk. The output can be on a network drive.
I hope this is useful.
Thank you for your reply, Harvey.
I was able to get some useful information from your answer. I believe the baggage files provide the best solution.
Some of your questions are a matter of terminology. When I open the zip files, they open as Word docs. I will convert them to pdf instead of leaving them in Word format. I don't have a magic computer that does this automatically. Dang it! I just wanted to clarify the format of the files that will be used.
I use the term project broadly. The actual projects reside on my computer along with the application. Webhelp output resides on the server.