8 Replies Latest reply on Aug 17, 2006 12:27 PM by Peter Grainge

    Converting Winhelp to HTML help

      Good morning,

      I currently generate three winhelp projects using X5 for MS Word. The projects consist of 4 -6 merged projects with extensive context sensitive help and build tags. Given the eventual demise of winhelp, I guess it's time to move to HTML. Is there anything I should do beforehand to make the conversion easier? Am I safe to assume it is better to use RH for HTML than producing an HTML output with RH for MS Word? Are there any "gotchas" I can expect? Since the projects are quite large, I'm hesitant to say the least.

      I'm grateful for the help I've received from the winhelp groups, and will be even more so with any tips/tricks you have to offer here.


        • 1. Re: Converting Winhelp to HTML help
          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
          Hi Jennifer

          Sorry for the slow reply on this one.

          Very definitely RH HTML will be better than RH for Word for an HTML output. The gotcha is learning to work with HTML. It's not that difficult, you just have to address the individual problems as they occur. At first I hated it because I had moved out of my comfort zone. Now I hate having to work with Word.

          So where do you start? First back up your existing project(s). Now repeat that step!!

          First you have to import the Word documents. Take a look at my site on that subject. Better still, do you have access to Dreamweaver?

          Then you have to start working with HTML. The editor does take care of most things but sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and get into the code. You need to understand the hierarchy of styles and there's some stuff on my site about that. Also do visit http://w3schools.com. It is the best free resource I know of for HTML information.

          Don't forget your developers will have to change all their calls to the help so make sure you work with them.

          • 2. Converting Winhelp to HTML help
            j*davis Level 1
            Hit the reply button too soon.

            • 3. Re: Converting Winhelp to HTML help
              j*davis Level 1
              Hi Peter,

              Thanks for posting back and no apology is necessary. I have 5 copies of my project, one of which is named DO NOT TOUCH, so we are on the same page regarding backups. I do not have Dreamweaver, but I see that Adobe will let my try it for 30 days.

              Is it better to import the .doc files than the hpj? After reading Robohelp's help, I was under the impression that importing the hpj was the way to go. I did my first trial run this morning and the project tab looks quite different....the images are not listed, baggage files galore, the map files are there, but do not contain the IDs, the conditional tags didn't make it...my old brain is spinning.

              I will check out your site and the other one you listed, and then get ready to roll up my sleeves.

              Thanks again,

              • 4. Converting Winhelp to HTML help
                Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                Dreamweaver imports a Word document with very clean code. The downside is that the tables are created with sqeaky clean code whereas RH uses its own flavour in the source. Depends on how many tables you have in your help. Trial and error on that.

                Importing the project has advantages in getting the new project close to your old one. Importing documents has, I think, the advantage of giving you more control over how each document is handled. Again trial and error on what works best for you.

                Looking at your issues:

                - the images are not listed. Not sure why. What I used to do was create a small RH for Word project with just a couple of topics, a basic toc and index and then import that in various ways. Perhaps doing that will work one way or another in showing the images. If you like to set up a small project like that and then cannot get it to play, send it to me.

                - baggage files galore. Expected files? If not, what are they?

                - the map files are there, but do not contain the IDs. Pass. Don't use map ids. Can anyone else help?

                - the conditional tags didn't make it. Search these forums. I believe that is a known problem with importing from RH for Word.

                - my old brain is spinning. Try alcohol to make it spin the other way and neutralise things. Even if it fails, you'll have enjoyed it!

                • 5. Re: Converting Winhelp to HTML help
                  j*davis Level 1
                  My winhelp projects do not have any baggage files, so I'm sure this had something do with the options in the import wizard. I did not change any of the defaults the first time around. There are subfolders for each of my .doc files under the HTML Files. Looks like my winhelp. The Images folder has subfolders for every HTML subfolder. They do not contain/list any images, but the images do appear in the compiled/generated (Sorry Rick I can't remember which one I should use ) project. The Style Sheets folder also has empty subfolders for every HTML subfolder, as do the Context Sensitive Help and Baggage Files folder. The interesting thing about the Map IDs is that they do appear in the Map ID report.

                  The project looks ok. I haven't imported the other projects, so there are a lot of "Page cannot be displayed" messages. Some training in HTML would do me wonders and, like you say, experiment with importing the individual docs or projects to see which works best. I'll definitely try to keep things neutralized.

                  • 6. Re: Converting Winhelp to HTML help
                    Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                    Hmph! I'm doing the posting and Rick is getting the credit in your mind!!

                    The folder structure does get recreated under images, baggage etc. However, you have confirmed there are no files shown in those folders so that deals with that. Have you clicked on the pseudo images folder itself to absolutely confirm that project manager does not know about them.

                    You compile a CHM output, you generate webhelp.

                    • 7. Re: Converting Winhelp to HTML help
                      j*davis Level 1
                      I'm sorry Peter. The credit is all yours. The only reason I put that in is that just yesterday I read the Top Ten Robohelp HTML Misunderstandings from Rick's page. We all owe you many, many thanks for all your help. Too bad we are on opposite sides of the ocean. I'd really like to buy you a beer.

                      I just clicked on the Image folder and all the subfolders and nothing is there. I right-clicked to check the properties and the only options I get are New Folder, Rename and Help. I didn't experiment too much today, since I've got some changes that need documenting.

                      • 8. Re: Converting Winhelp to HTML help
                        Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                        No worries.

                        If you don't get to the bottom of it, let me know the size of the project you imported from if you zip it up. Maybe I could take a look.