3 Replies Latest reply on Aug 7, 2013 10:49 AM by Peter Grainge

    Best way to create output with only topics that are not finalized

    MM Acton Level 1

      I'm nearing the end of a project and I need to isolate the topics that still have questions. I keep trying things, but nothing gives me what I need. Any suggestions? Here's what I tried.


      I'm using RoboHelp 9 (RH9).




      I can get a report of the topic names and their status using Tools > Reports > Topic Properties and then setting the Options to include only Topic Status, but this isn't useful; that gives me a list of 396 topics, in alphabetical order.


      For each topic, you end up with 3 lines. For example:


      Adding Customers - Adding_Customers.htm


      Status: Ready for Review


      I saved the report as TXT and opened it in Word and did a global replace of Status:^p (that is, Status, colon, new line) and then Status, colon, tab. That reduced it to 2 lines for each topic:


      Adding Customers - Adding_Customers.htm

      Ready for Review


      So that's still not very useful. I would have to write a macro or something in either the Word file or once I got it into Excel to concatentate those two lines.


      And even then, I could sort the data and get rid of the lines that show Complete (using an Excel formula), but how would I print out just those topics? If there are only a few, that's no problem, but there are at least 30. (Things changed and topics changed and now some need re-review, and some still have questions.)  Could I make an index out of those lines? No, that would involve a lot of work to write out the XML.


      Okay, so I tried another approach...


      Conditional Text


      I created a duplicate Table of Contents and applied my Questions condition to three topics. I then created a Printed Doc output and specified an Advanced condition saying to include only Questions. That gave me more than the three topics, but not all of the topics. The help says that you can use an Advanced Conditional Build Tag Expressions, and that if you want just those topics with a specific tag ("All topics to which one tag has been applied"), just include that tag.


      BUT it also says: "Topics and topic text to which you have applied no conditional build tag are included in the output."


      So, if I want only those topics to which I've applied a TOC condition of Questions, I need to create another condtion (for example, DONE), and apply that to all the topics that I don't want to print.


      So, assuming I have 30 topics with the condition Questions, I would have to apply my new DONE condition to 366 topics. Yes, I know you can apply a tag to more than one at a time, but I would be wary of doing more than 5-10 at once.


      Still, that looks like the best solution so far. I'm going to back up my project and then start doing that. In the meantime, does anyone have any other way of doing it?


      I'm using RoboHelp 9 (RH9).

        • 1. Re: Best way to create output with only topics that are not finalized
          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

          First, no reason to be concerned about applying a tag in the topic list to many topics.


          Before my time the company had an author who wrote in a topic "This is ****" intending to return to it later. He did when a customer phoned asking if the statement was true!


          What I have done is institute a simple method that also helps with reviewing. We add three hash marks ### to any topic at the top or at the point where it is incomplete. We do that using a character style rather than a paragraph so that the text can be within a paragraph. The style is called AuthorComment and we also apply a tag called AuthorComment. Both have a vivid colour applied. EXAMPLE ### Let me know if you have a problem with this.


          When we generate for internal review, we leave that stuff in as it grabs the attention of reviewers so they respond to the comment / question.


          When we generate for external use we add the tag to the build expression but we also do a search of all topics for ### using a third party find and replace tool. TextCrawler for example.


          It's simple and it works beautifully.


          See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips




          • 2. Re: Best way to create output with only topics that are not finalized
            MM Acton Level 1

            Peter, I use the ### convention, too: I put the three hash marks at the beginning and end of the comment. To make it really visible, I apply yellow highlighting to the whole thing. Then I apply a condition (currently I'm calling it Questions). I haven't tried the character style, though. Good suggestion.


            My problem is how to find and print those topics that have said questions. The Word document that I produce for review is over 800 pages, so I don't want to print the whole doc. (Even if I did, that wouldn't work out well because it wouldn't separate it by reviewer, but at least I could point out to the reviewer that "your topics are on pages 100-125" or something.)

            • 3. Re: Best way to create output with only topics that are not finalized
              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

              Like I said, use TextCrawler or similar to find the topics. Then you have to tag them. Going forward you would apply the tag when you add the hash tags to a topic.


              See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips