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Hi annaxanderson and welcome to the RH community.
Can you help us by saying what you mean by "generating the webpages in RoboHelp HTML". You add later about a CHM file but this sentence suggests otherwise. Perhaps you could tell us what process you are using to generate these pages.
Hello Colum, Thanks for the reply!
I am using Webhelp from Single Source Layouts to generate the .htm files in Robohelp.
I was just trying some things out with the renaming of files but like you said, it's not related.
Welcome to our community, Anna
I don't suppose you have given any consideration to creating a nice index? When I was working with my RoboHelp projects day to day I didn't even provide search as an option. In my opinion, Search should be considered a last resort in case the user simply was unable to locate what they needed using any of the other means available.
Index first - If they didn't find what they needed, I failed them a bit and the next best option was the TOC. If they didn't find what they needed in the TOC, I REALLY failed them and Search would be the last resort. And as you have seen, it operates kinda quirky sometimes.
Hi Rick, yes, there is no index. So are you saying, because there is no index, the search function is quirky ? Is the index what Robohelp uses to locate the right topics ?
For my understanding, which file extensions would the Search function reference ? <project>.xxx
No, it's not because there is no index. I'm just saying it doesn't sometimes behave as we hope. I'm saying that a nice Index is *THE* way to go if you want your users to be happy and find what they are looking for easily. You have to think like the user thinks. (Or anticipate how they will think)
What will they possibly want to type into the Index to find specific topics?
With an Index, you can provide a very narrow focus. With search, it's anybody's game. Consider the following. Maybe you have a help file for a grocery store. Perhaps you have a topic about Lemons. Another about Oranges. One about Grapefruits and one about Limes. For some reason, never in all the topics is the word "Citrus" mentioned. But you could index the term "Citrus" and link it to those four topics. Then if the user types "Citrus" into the index, they will find relevant information. If they used search, they would never find the topics unless you specifically added the word Citrus into the topic text.
Or think of things this way. Maybe you are creating a help file for an Auto Parts store. You have no index and only provide search. The user wants information about Spark Plugs. But typing the word "Spark" would return many different topics.
* Distributor Caps (Provide the spark for ignition)
* Coils (Provide the spark for the distributor)
* Warning (Be careful about causing a spark near gasoline)
* Another warning (Be careful about causing a spark near a discharged battery)
* Spark Plug Wires
* Another warning (Be sure to disconnect the battery to avoid a spark that will disable the computer)
* Spark Plugs
So it's possible that the user would have to wade through several non-relevant topics and waste time looking for what they are actually interested in.
Search builds an index that points to all terms found inside the foundation .HTM files that are your topics in RoboHelp.
Absolutely. I agree there should be an index. I have taken over a project without an index and I need to fix the Search issue . There is a requirement to have the Search capability available.
So perhaps, the Search index is corrupted. Do you know which file this is. Shall I delete it and have it rebuild again?
Search is normally used to find full words, not partial matches. I do know a bit of "stemming" functionality is present, but only the application developers can probably say with any real conviction why some words (or partial words) are stemmed and some aren't. I'm sure that *some* list may exist somewhere.
Out of idle curiosity, why do you feel it's "broken" if it's not finding partial matches? You may wish to look into substituting "Zoom Search". That is described at This link right here.
Hi Rick, I just did a test for PPE. (PPE is short for Personal Protective Equipment.) The Search in Robohelp returns 2 topics for PPE. But they are incorrect. It highlighted the partial word "P" in BP and "pp" in Support.
However, I cross-checked a search in windows explorer and found 8 valid topics with PPE and these are topics contained in Robohelp.