Yeah, RoboHelp used to allow doing exactly that. Opening a single HTML page and making edits without being in the context of a project. But that fell by the wayside a few versions ago. Not sure when.
Note that even if you import hundreds of topics, there is no horrible additional code added. I think what you may be thinking is what happens if you choose to generate the output. Because it's that generation process that actually adds all the additional code to the topics.
As long as you just import the HTML pages to view them and tweak them, you could then just copy them back out once finished. I think if I were going to do that, I'd create a new empty project, then create a folder. And import them into the folder. That way all the HTML pages would be together in the same folder and that would simplify the copying down the road.
Thank you for the quick response -
I tried to create/open a new project and import a bunch of top level html files. RH did add a lot of meta tag stuff, "rewrote" the tables, changed some accented letter html codes to "blocks" (frustrating me) and automatically changed/rewrote link paths. Ok, so that didn't work.
Then, I created another new project and just imported ONE html file. It did everything listed above but change link paths because it didn't have the new filepath to reference ( the linked files were not in the project).
Maybe I need to do more research to find another software that will make it a little easier to edit the code. I may have to dust off Homesite (gasp!) ...but one negative with using Homesite is I can't edit files in something like Design mode - but it'll surely be better than Notepad; at least Homesite colors the code so it's easier to spot and doesn't add anything extra or automatically change anything......