21 Replies Latest reply on Jul 23, 2013 8:57 AM by eallfree

    Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)

    Dave McGovern Level 1
      Hi, all -
      I have a rather large project (1500+ topics) for which I would like to create a CHM file that only includes a single chapter.

      I thought that using the new multiple TOC files functionality would allow me to accomplish this, but it appears I am misunderstanding it.

      When I create my pared down TOC and compile, the resulting CHM at first glance appears to contain only the topics from the TOC, but using the search functionality, I discover that ALL topics in the project are included and the TOC's appearance is the only difference.

      Is there a lightweight way to create a CHM for a subset of chapters and/or topics without using conditional build tags?

      I want to avoid conditional build tags because I believe that solution will require me to tag all topics I wish to exclude (since "Untagged text is always included in the generated output", according to RoboHelp).

      Since the TOC editor does not allow me to select everything at once via Shift/Ctrl keys and apply a tag, it looks like I have to click each chapter and apply the tag, then go back and deselect the single chapter I want to include.

      I suppose I could create a second project and import the desired topics into it, but that doesn't sound particularly inviting either.

      Finally, I guess I could edit the hhc file directly to tag everything at once. Not ideal, but I think it would work.

      If I instead choose to generate printed documentation, I can limit my output to a single chapter if desired (worked that way in X5 too). Very easy to do and intuitive.

      I appreciate any ideas. I do hope I am overlooking the obvious.
      Thanks
      Dave
        • 1. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
          You seem to be making the common mistake of thinking a build only includes what is in the TOC. It contains all topics in the project, except those excluded by the build expression.

          You can apply a tag to all topics in a folder and it will be applied to all the topics in the folder AT THAT TIME. If you add any, you will need to apply it to each topic or the folder again.

          Tags are the way to achieve what you want and it is not as messy as you suggest.

          • 2. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
            Dave McGovern Level 1
            Thanks for the reply, but I have to say this does sound messy, unless I am still missing the point.

            My project has 75 folders in it. If I want my CHM to only contain output from 1 folder, it sounds like I have to apply the build tag to the other 74 folders individually. I don't see how I can apply the tag to multiple folders simultaneously? The "Project Manager" view won't let me select multiple folders. I suppose I could create a new top level dummy folder, move my 75 folders into that, select the top level folder and apply the tag, then untag the folder I want.

            I'm trying to avoid having to "deselect" 74 items in order to select 1.

            Thanks again
            Dave
            • 3. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
              Why would you have to deselect?

              Applying the tag to 74 folders is a one off and not going to take ten minutes.

              You create a build expression that excludes them and use it when you want just the one folder. At other times, you don't use the build expression.

              You can have two layouts. One that has the build expression and one that does not.

              There's a one off overhead taking about as much time as posting this. :-)

              If it's still not clear, post back.

              • 4. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                Moonlion2 Level 1
                I'm with PigBodine actually. The idea of having to tag 74 things just to get one thing is fundamentally flawed. There ought to be a way--for a program that revolves around managing multiple objects--to do what PigBodine suggests. That you can't select multiple folders at once only throws fuel onto the aggravating fire. It frustrates me and it's not even my issue!

                I'd investigate every other option too before individually and manually tagging 74 of anything to get one of something. That this investigative effort would consume more time than manually tagging them in the first place is beside the point. From my perspective which is my own, it's not about time spent it's about avoiding having to do something silly and believing that there has to be a smarter way.
                • 5. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                  What other option do you have in mind?

                  74 folders at one level seems to be the issue and that is within Dave's control, not mine. If that is the way he wants it, all I can do is explain how to achieve what he wants.

                  I cannot reprogram RH to fix the problem.

                  If applying tags to multiple folders at the same time is what you want, you'll need to let Adobe know that.

                  You can try a tag of one folder and creating a build expression with ONLY but most people find that NOT expressions work best and I am not sure ONLY will work. I would test it myself but I cannot do that this evening.

                  To bring the requirement to Adobe's attention, follow this link.

                  http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform

                  • 6. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                    Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                    Plans changed so I tested. ONLY is not an option as I suspected.

                    • 7. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                      Moonlion2 Level 1
                      quote:

                      Originally posted by: Peter Grainge
                      What other option do you have in mind?
                      What PigBodine suggested...

                      quote:

                      Originally posted by: Peter GraingeI cannot reprogram RH to fix the problem.
                      I'm not suggesting you should. Your solution seems to be viable and everything, it'll get the job done, but it's silly that a more intuitive and intelligent solution isn't already enabled by the application. It's not you that's frustrating, it's RH.

                      quote:

                      Originally posted by: Peter GraingeIf applying tags to multiple folders at the same time is what you want, you'll need to let Adobe know that.
                      What surprises me is that this isn't already available. Trying to select multiple folders was practically the first thing I did when I first touched RH7 and was quite dismayed over the fact that RH7 doesn't offer a seemingly very basic ability. After all, every other application or OS (that I can think of) that offers by-folder navigation or organization that I've run into also allows multiple selection of same. RH doesn't because...? (I ask rhetorically.)


                      Thanks very much for that link! Navigating things here at Adobe.com can be obtuse.

                      • 8. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                        Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                        In several years of supporting the forum, I've not seen anyone request this before.

                        However, my evening glass of whisky has helped me find the easy solution.

                        Go to the topic list, with All Folders selected, highlight all the topics and select Properties. Apply the tag via the Advanced tab. Then change the folder displayed to the one folder that doesn't need the tag and reverse the process for those topics.

                        QED.

                        • 9. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                          Moonlion2 Level 1
                          quote:

                          Originally posted by: Peter Grainge
                          In several years of supporting the forum, I've not seen anyone request this before.
                          Being able to select more than one folder at once? Seriously? That's incredible. Like I said, it was very nearly the first thing I did (well, tried). Weird!

                          • 10. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                            Dave McGovern Level 1
                            Thanks for the replies...

                            I guess my main problem is that the printed documentation interface allows me to do _exactly_ what I want --include/exclude topics based on TOC with no additional overhead-- while the CHM interface does not.

                            In the past, whenever I've had to create a subset of topics, I've done so via PDF. I thought creating a subset via CHM would work the same way, but I was wrong.

                            Is desiring the capability to generate a subset of topics based on inclusion as opposed to exclusion really that odd?

                            Two final points:
                            1. The use of the TOC as the control point for printed documentation is nice because it matches what the end user sees. That way, when they call and ask for a subset, we are working from the same starting point.

                            2. The "build tag at the folder level" solution can have issues if your TOC and your file structure don't match perfectly. I know in my own projects, my file structure is often flatter than my TOC, and my folder names don't necessarily match my TOC book names. Perhaps this flies in the face of best practice.

                            Thanks again,
                            Dave
                            • 11. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                              The TOC is not a control point for the printed documentation. Another common misconception. It is merely the default at the time you set up that print layout. If you later add stuff or remove stuff from the TOC, there is no longer a link and the print layout will not change.

                              Hopefully the method I came up with does give you what you need.

                              • 12. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                                Dave McGovern Level 1
                                I realize it isn't a dynamic link to the TOC, but when you go into the printed documentation dialog, does it not present you with a view of your topics based on the TOC to allow you specify what to include/exclude? That's the "control point" I was referring to. Sorry if that was unclear.

                                I would be interested in your thoughts on keeping the TOC in sync with the file structure. I honestly had never thought about it prior to encountering this issue. Do you advise having a 1-to-1 correlation between the two?

                                That's the main stumbling block I see for myself with the prescribed workaround going forward. If I am operating outside of best practices, then that's my fault...I'm just not convinced I am.

                                • 13. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                                  Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                                  No it does not present your TOC, other than the first time. After that the two are divorced. If you wanted to update the print layout to a later TOC you would have to use the left arrow to remove everything from the right pane, then select the TOC again.

                                  I think you are assuming because you can see the current TOC on the left, you are also seeing that on the right.

                                  Create a test project with just a few topics and you will see it all more clearly.

                                  As to synchronising the TOC and the folders, that is what I do more or less, and I stress, more or less. It just happens to suit my projects. I am not slavish about it and if you have a good reason for the two being different, it's not wrong. Whatever works for you.

                                  • 14. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                                    Dave McGovern Level 1
                                    I think we are just talking past each other now.

                                    Most of my printed documentation layouts I create are throwaways. A user calls me up (while viewing the CHM on their PC), and requests the "Account Maintenance" chapter. I create a printed documentation layout using the TOC presented to me by the interface (which is current, because this is a new output project) and select that chapter. Bang...I'm done. No need to tag every topic in the entire project, etc.

                                    At this point, I discard the SSL layout. Oh sure, I keep some around if I think someone else might ask for it in the next few days, but I do know enough to update it. But the interface is so user friendly (and this is the point), that to have to recreate it from scratch in the future (using the most recent TOC) is not a concern.

                                    This is what I want to do with CHM. Without build tags. I guess it would be nice if the CHM build interface would have a similar interface with those big arrows to allow me to move files around en masse.

                                    • 15. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                                      Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                                      Well I am sorry you think that way. "I think we are just talking past each other now." I thought I was trying to help you.

                                      You hadn't mentioned the layouts were throwaways, it does help to know things like that. I had thought this was a one off exercise.

                                      • 16. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                                        Dave McGovern Level 1
                                        I do appreciate your help. I did say "thanks" a few times in there....

                                        I was trying to ascertain whether the functionality that exists for generating a subset of printed documentation existed for generating a subset in a CHM. I find the "select what to include" approach of the printed doc interface to be more natural than the "exclude all...then include some" approach required by build tags. Maybe this is a limitation imposed by the HHC.

                                        I am unhappy that this is not the case, but as you say that would require a programming change by Adobe and can't be solved in this forum.

                                        I am a little encouraged that it looks like I can attach build tags directly onto the TOC (I don't believe this was the case in X5). This raises a couple of new issues for me, but those are structural issues in my project.

                                        I am grateful that you explained how it works.
                                        • 17. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                                          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                                          When you said "I think we are just talking past each other now" I thought you meant I wasn't really listening to you.

                                          As long as you are happy that what can be done has been explained, we're OK.

                                          What you want would be useful I am sure so I hope you have posted a request on the link provided.

                                          • 18. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                                            Dave McGovern Level 1
                                            I apologize that my reply came across that way.

                                            I just upgraded to v7 last week...I saw the "multiple TOC" enhancement mentioned on a new features listing a while back, and I think I had convinced myself it was something that it isn't.

                                            It looks like you can apply build tags via the TOC that simultaneously flag the topics (good news for me as my folders don't map perfectly to my books). My preliminary tests indicate that this does do what I want.

                                            Open the TOC
                                            Select the book.
                                            Right-click, choose Apply Conditional Build Tag > New/Multiple
                                            Check both the TOC and Topics columns when you specify the build tag to apply

                                            The items are flagged in both places.

                                            I think I will submit the request to Adobe because IMHO it will make things easier. But I'm glad I can get what I need with the current version.
                                            • 19. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                                              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                                              No worries.

                                              It may not apply to you but if your TOC does not contain all the topics in the project, some could get missed. After applying the tags via the TOC, in the Topic List you can configure the columns to display topic and / or content tags. Display Topic Tags and you will see any gaps.

                                              In your request, do make it clear you want the ability to generate ONLY tagged topics.

                                              • 20. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                                                donalmc Level 1
                                                I do think that a build option that said 'Exclude untagged files' would be useful.
                                                • 21. Re: Using Mulitple TOCs to Limit Output (v7)
                                                  eallfree

                                                  I just had a similar issue where I only wanted to include a small subset of the files in one of my outputs. I managed to solve it using Peter's tip to put all the files I didn't want to include in a folder and then tag the folder. However, I think that an 'Include' expression would have made this much easier, as I believe it would have been in Dave's case too...