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Hi Simon and welcome to the RH community.
If your "2008 report" topic is a few lines, you could add a glossary term and use the glossary wizard to create expanding text entries but I guess this may not be relevant in this instance. If so, then a link is the way to go but there is no way to create an automatic link.
You could do a find and replace using a tool such as FAR or BkReplacEm which work over multiple lines of HTML. Failing that, why not create one link, select it in the WYSIWYG, go to the truecode, copy the contents to the clipboard, create a Notepad file, paste the code and save it. Then when you need to use the link, just go the truecode and paste it in.
Thanks Colum, at least you've saved me searching for an option that does this in RoboHelp! I'm guessing the way to go is some form of global html search and replace, as long as all my pages are in the same folder. I'm thinking for example to replace "2008 report" with "<a HREF="2008 report.htm">2008 report</a>" within the HTML code but across all pages in the topic.
That's the idea. The reason I say don't use RH's in built search and replace tool though is that it can not find code split over more than one line. The two products I mentioned are widely used by RH users and offer this facility and more. BkReplacEm is even freeware.
here's another thought - if the link is always (or even frequently) in a paragraph by itself, or included in a paragraph that is used again and again, you could create a snippet that contains the link or the boilerplate paragraph.
I wish snippets could be inserted in paragraphs, but for now, this may also be an option for some of your frequently used links.
of course, that only helps going forward - Colum has you going in the right direction to address content already in place!!