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Hi Rebuild Team and welcome to the RH forums.
I stand to be corrected here but I believe the only limit in file names is the OS limit. That said, long file names in RH can cause some usability issues (e.g. when linking) so I'd strongly recommend you keep the file names as short as possible.
Just how long were you thinking of anyway? Could you not use abbreviated file names (e.g. FN1.htm for file_name_1.htm).
So far, we have a few with 20+ characters. We have a lot of of similar files and have to be very specific. We knew that there would be issues, and wanted to see if anyone had determined the "magic number" of characters.
Thanks for the quick response.
Another possible reason for long file names: Being specific in file names is important for projects that need to be localized, especially if topic titles are similar. I inherited a project that we are localizing, and the original author had created all topics with the file name the same as the topic title (just with underscores). It makes for some long file names (the longest is 66 characters, including the .htm extension), but with the localized versions of the project, the file name is the only way I can tell which is which. Three characters wouldn't tell me anything about what's in the file. (In another project that is being localized, I don't have any file names nearly that long, but I still have to be specific enough to know one topic from another when I can't read the content.)
I haven't yet seen any problems on Windows XP with a file name 66 characters long--not that I would recommend that many...
Experts, correct me if I'm wrong, but the character limit includes the entire path, not just the filename. If your folder structure goes deep, then you are more likely to run afoul of the 255-character limit.
I encountered this myself a few years back. The way it played out was like this: I created a topic in RH named SomeReallyLongTopic.htm. It looked fine. However, when I next opened RH, that topic showed as a broken link. Checking in Windows, I saw that the filename had been truncated to SomeReallyLo.htm. RoboHelp was looking for the original name, while Windows was enforcing the character limit - not a compatible situation. As expected, shortening the filenames solved the problem.
A quick Google points to many pages that indicate the limit of 255 is a Windows thing. Microsoft have posted a good workaround though. Ready for it? Yup, use less than 256 characters. Now that's what I call support. How would we manage without tips like that?