8 Replies Latest reply on Nov 5, 2007 7:18 AM by Peter Grainge

    RH7: PDF generation of help project bypassing Word

    gdavism2m Level 1
      All,
      I have a user who is trying out the trial of RoboHelp 7 and wants to know when generating PDF output, is there a way to bypass creating a Word document and go straight to the PDF. Is Word still utilized this way for Printed Documentation no matter if a PDF is made or not?

      Any info would be much appreciated.

      Thanks,
      Greg
        • 1. Re: RH7: PDF generation of help project bypassing Word
          RoboColum(n) Level 5
          Hi Greg. Word is used to generate the PDF and can't be bypassed. I have seen shareware CHM to PDF shareware but I have no idea how reliable they are. Not sure if this is any use ;-(
          • 2. Re: RH7: PDF generation of help project bypassing Word
            gdavism2m Level 1
            Colum,
            Thanks for replying. I ask this question because the RH user I have is also evaluating the current version of Flare which doesn't use Word to generate the PDF output. They want to avoid Word when generating PDFs.

            Would generating FrameMaker output then going to PDF bypass Word?

            Greg
            • 3. Re: RH7: PDF generation of help project bypassing Word
              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
              I suspect that Flare does user Word behind the scenes in the same way that RH does. Something has to amalgamate the topics before they get PDFd.

              I would check the Flare forums before being certain Word is not used silently. I'm not saying it does use Word for definite, just that I suspect it does.

              • 4. Re: RH7: PDF generation of help project bypassing Word
                gdavism2m Level 1
                Peter,
                Thanks for writing back. I asked for the reason why they don't want to use Word and this is what they said:

                "because in our experience, Word becomes unstable after a certain size is reached (sometimes even <100 pages if there are a lot of graphics and screenshots). Word pagination is one of the first to go. I'm afraid that it would be difficult or impossible to PDF long documents. We need to test this, particularly for Word's instability issues."
                • 5. Re: RH7: PDF generation of help project bypassing Word
                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
                  Which reinforces the need to check what I said about how does Flare work. I truly don't know so you need to be certain. If it does use Word, then you need to be sure it does not have the same issues.

                  • 6. Re: RH7: PDF generation of help project bypassing Word
                    MergeThis Level 4
                    You can generate manageable sections of your help into smaller Word docs, convert to PDF, then use Acrobat Pro to amalgamate them (or whatever term Adobe uses for this process) into one finished product.

                    That was possible at least as far back as 2003, and might render the size issue moot.


                    Good luck,
                    Leon
                    • 7. Re: RH7: PDF generation of help project bypassing Word
                      gdavism2m Level 1
                      Leon and everyone,
                      Thanks for all of your suggestions and comments. The RH user is dead set against using Word to generate the PDF. In further research we have found that both RH7 and Flare use Word as a go-between in generating the PDF. However, the importing of FrameMaker files in RH7 briefly gave us hope that the problem was solved by outputting to FrameMaker and then to PDF. Much to our surprise we found the RH7 can import FrameMaker files but can't export to FrameMaker files.

                      The user is in a different business unit and is not held to the use of RH. Since FrameMaker output is important to them, RH7 won't fulfill their need.

                      Thanks again for all of your help.

                      Greg Davis
                      Senior Technical Writer
                      Consona ERP
                      • 8. Re: RH7: PDF generation of help project bypassing Word
                        Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
                        It would seem logical that Adobe will have export to Framemaker on their plans for future releases but that doesn't help right now.

                        If the content is in FrameMaker, or could be, then perhaps the Technical Communication Suite holds an alternative solution. That can output to the version of RH7 that comes with it. When FrameMaker is later updated, I understand it is a simple click to update the RH7 project.

                        The only other possibility, and it seems unlikely, is to hammer the customer a bit more on their objections to Word. They say "because in our experience, Word becomes unstable after a certain size is reached (sometimes even <100 pages if there are a lot of graphics and screenshots). Word pagination is one of the first to go. I'm afraid that it would be difficult or impossible to PDF long documents"

                        Word really should not be unstable at that level and it is not my experience, even with many screenshots. Whenever I see comments like that, I do wonder if some more investigation would solve the problem. I always want to get my hands on the project at that point and try to make it fall over. Sometimes the cause can be found. Often it is just the template used.