5 Replies Latest reply on Sep 23, 2009 9:17 AM by CelesteD

    Context Sensitive Help (F1) not working if Help is already open

    CelesteD Level 1

      I came in as technical writer after help was already designed and being used for our farm accounting management software. Currently using RoboHelp HTML X5 (upgrading to 8 soon); around 3,400 files in the main project. Context sensitive help works fine when users hit F1 from any data entry screen as long as Help is not already open. However, if Help is already open, either having been opened from the menu or from the user having hit F1 from a previous entry screen, hitting F1 from a new entry screen shows the help topic that was already open, not the topic for the new entry screen. In order to get context sensitive help for the new entry screen, users must close Help, then hit F1 from the new entry screen.


      Our practice has been to generate help showing the navigation pane link in the topics, and without the "Show" link. Is this part of the problem? Or do I need to have the developers add some code to correct this problem?



        • 1. Re: Context Sensitive Help (F1) not working if Help is already open
          johndaigle Level 4

          Hi, Celeste.

          You didn't mention, but it sounds like you are using WebHelp as your output?

          CSH can be created two ways (at least!) There is the WebHelp API which is provided with RoboHelp X5 and there is the method described by Peter Grainge on his website (linked below)


          I don't think the Show link is the problem. Because of quirks in the way so many different browsers handle Javascript, you will find it necessary to include a "Close Window Button" in your windows as a best practice. I describe this in an article I wrote for the Adobe Developer Network which describes the RoboHelp WebHelp API which you might find useful for background.



          Meanwhile, here is Peter Grainge's article on various methods of calling WebHelp:



          Hope this helps.

          John Daigle


          • 2. Re: Context Sensitive Help (F1) not working if Help is already open
            CelesteD Level 1

            Wow! Quick reply, and helpful. Thank you, John.


            Oops, yes, sorry I forgot to mention that the output for our online help is WebHelp as provided with RoboHelp. Conditional build tags have never been implemented; we generate only one single-source layout per project. "Field level" F1 help consists only of opening the main help topic for a given entry screen. It sounds to me that the bottom line is that it is up to users to close an open help window in order for F1 (Context Sensitive Help) to open the proper help topic from a new entry screen. This could be either from the "Close this Window" button you suggest or by simply using the Close ("X") button. Because of browser variability, however, there is no way to "fix" the help so that it automatically goes from one topic to the next desired topic when F1 is pressed in a new entry screen. Do I understand this correctly?


            Thanks again for the help!


            • 3. Re: Context Sensitive Help (F1) not working if Help is already open
              johndaigle Level 4

              Hi, glad I could help.


              There are certain javascript calls which will close the window automatically when focus is shifted somewhere else, but there are gotchas. You will notice Yahoo and some airline sites that have popup calendars face the same problem.


              Not all browsers (or older versions) observe those newer calls dependably. So we are stuck with asking the user to close them.  If I understand what you want, you could enable the Show button. This would show the Navigation pane and the rest of the topics so your user could proceed deeper. Still, they will have to close the window! Alternatively you could manually put link "arrows" in the top right of the topic and let them navigate to whatever topic you choose. But, that's time consuming and even this trick is not accessed by F1, so I'm reaching here .


              What we really need is a browse sequence button that can be placed in the topic itself rather than those dinky arrows in the Navigation pane. I have requested this feature and maybe you could add your request here https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform&product=38



              John Daigle


              • 4. Re: Context Sensitive Help (F1) not working if Help is already open
                Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

                I think if you take another look at the article on my site that John pointed you to, it mentions the problem of CSH help not working if the help is already open. In our case, the developers played around with their code that calls the help and fixed it. How wouldn't help you but it does indicate that it is something the developers could fix.


                See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

                • 5. Re: Context Sensitive Help (F1) not working if Help is already open
                  CelesteD Level 1

                  Thank you, Peter. I'll check into this issue with our development team.