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Welcome to the community.
Which output are you producing? If CHM, someone else will have to address that. But for WebHelp, the system developers are going to have to do some work here either way. For the scenario where you have only one set of help files, you could put the 10 in one subfolder within the help folder and the other 2 in a separate subfolder. The developers (or web admin) could restrict permission to the subfolder containing the 2 files based on the user's configuration.
The problem with not using conditional tags is that if you want those 2 topics in your TOC or index, they'll show up whether the user has rights to see them or not. You'd have to be careful not to link between the 10 files and the other 2; otherwise, the user who has rights to just the 10 will get permission errors if trying to follow a link to the 2. And I imagine that results for the 2 will show up in search results no matter who is doing the searching.
If you've got only 12 topics in your project, the cost doesn't seem very high to use conditional tags and have two sets of help output, but that's just my opinion.
Hope this helps,
That is perfect - THANKS. We have more than 12 topics - I just used as an example. Although it is not a very big project - But this is what I needed.
I really appreciate it. Kat