12 Replies Latest reply on May 8, 2012 11:13 AM by Jeff_Coatsworth

    Word import - Help IDs via footnotes

    robert-sfl Level 1

      Hi all,

      has anybody succeeded in importing context-sensitive Help IDs using footnotes in Word documents? The help of Robohelp describes this, but it does not work for me.

        • 1. Re: Word import - Help IDs via footnotes

          Hello robert-sfl,


          I've tested it with linked Word documents, though I haven't implemented it in a live project yet. In Word, I created a footnote style with TopicAlias instead of a number. After that, I wrote an ID number as the text of the footnote. When I updated that document in RoboHelp 8 and checked the context-sensitive Help mapping, the ID number was there in the list.


          In the Word file, it looks something like this:


          Here's the HeadingTopicAlias

          Paragraph text here...





          I hope that helps!

          • 2. Re: Word import - Help IDs via footnotes
            robert-sfl Level 1

            Hello Susan,



            thanks for your help - now I understand and it seems to work too!



            • 3. Re: Word import - Help IDs via footnotes
              Susan_P Level 1

              You're very welcome!

              • 4. Re: Word import - Help IDs via footnotes

                I've been struggling this the past day and hoping this explanation does the trick. Am amazed that the help files within a product used to make help files is so weak in documentation to actually explain how a feature works. What a critical feature for developers with multiple people working on the same content and a desire to manage context sensitive help. Thank you for the post!

                • 5. Re: Word import - Help IDs via footnotes
                  SacredCow Level 1

                  Hello Susan,


                  Not sure if you still check this or not, but hoping you have an idea if you do and can spare a moment. This is the only forum I've found yet that seems to talk in detail of what I'm trying to do. Here's my situation:


                  We have a few developers working on a C# Winforms application in Visual Studio 2010. We've used code to tag our screens with the Map # as it pertains to the linking of topics and context sensitive help. We know the code works if I use the built in mapping screen to select the Topics and manual assign them or auto assign them to Map IDs/#s.


                  The problem with this process is that this document will be changing over time. The idea of linking to the word document makes it nice to update the word document outside of RoboHelp and then tell RoboHelp to update as we make changes. The issue is in losing any manually defined maps using the built in Map ID tools. We thought it would be great if we could find a way to manage the Map ID / Map #s in the word document so that they updated the RoboHelp file as we the document evolved as opposed to being over written and potentially falling out of sync between our source code and the docs.


                  I've followed what you did and unliked earlier attempts, I'm actually seeing the creation of the Map IDs carry into the robohelp document, this is awesome. However, I'm seeing the Map #s auto increment starting at 1. I was hoping that if I had the following:


                  Some Topic HeaderTopicAlias 




                  That my Map # would be number 102?


                  Am I missing something or is the software not capable of doing this?


                  Thank you in advance!


                  • 6. Re: Word import - Help IDs via footnotes
                    Susan_P Level 1

                    Hello SacredCow,


                    I'm really flattered to hear that my advice has been of some use to you! However, you'll notice that entry was from 2010... I haven't used RoboHelp in over a year. Opinion follows, and given my poor user experience so far I won't be surprised if the rest of this post gets deleted by the board moderators.


                    My company owns multiple Robohelp 8 licences. I was working on a system of documentation that involved dynamically linking Word documents. Shortly after writing that blog post, I ran into a bug that kept us from proceeding. Basically, we couldn't link Word documents to each other and maintain the links after importing them into RoboHelp. This feature is specifically mentioned in the RH8 documentation, so I contacted Adobe to find out why it wasn't working. For weeks, they did not return my calls. I called them several times, and after many long, repetitive conversations Adobe support finally sent my case to an engineer. (Note that my company actually had a Gold support contract at the time.) Several more weeks and calls later, I finally got a clear answer: Yes, this is an actual bug but no, we're not fixing it in RoboHelp 8. You'll have to upgrade to version 9 to get this functionality. Considering that we had bought Robohelp 8 just a year before this, we had no intention of paying several thousand dollars just to get a new version that did what the old version was supposed to.


                    tl;dr I strongly do not recommend using Word files with RoboHelp, and I can't say I recommend RoboHelp at all anymore. Perhaps the features you need are in RoboHelp 9, and if this is the case, I wish you luck using them. If you can, try to find another solution for your Help deliverables.

                    • 7. Re: Word import - Help IDs via footnotes
                      Jeff_Coatsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      @Susan_P - now why would a company that owns several RH licenses not have bought the upgrade package for them too? Seems kinda silly, IMHO.


                      @SacredCow - can't help you with Word to RH, but I can tell you that the FM to RH process works fine at bringing over marker text to be used as the Map ID - mine are alphanumeric (e.g. GJK10) and get auto-mapped to the resulting RH topics that they are attached to. I then export the .h file to be used by our programmers in calling the help.

                      • 8. Re: Word import - Help IDs via footnotes
                        Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional



                        Abusive posts will get deleted but I see nothing abusive in your post. You have reasonably stated what happened so there is no reason to delete it.


                        Doesn't Gold Support include updgrades? If not the cost per licence when upgrading one version was specially priced but I do realise if you had many copies that could still amount to thousands of dollars.


                        With all that said, there are two issues I would like to pursue.


                        First, if I follow you correctly the issue is your documents have links between them but when linked to RoboHelp, those links no longer work. Correct?


                        Second, you recommend finding an alternative product. Did you find one?


                        See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips



                        • 9. Re: Word import - Help IDs via footnotes
                          SacredCow Level 1

                          @Susan, I am not surprised, I've seen this issue of "here's a feature (oh but it doesn't work) but upgrade and maybe it will!" Thank you for taking a moment to reply. Can I ask what you switched to and does it work well?


                          @Jeff, thank you for your reply, though I don't use FM and I'd prefer not to buy yet another product to compensate for what Adobe lacks, considering they claim it should work. You seem like a customer I'd like to have in terms of spending money and not expecting to have products that actually do what sales and marketing say they do.


                          To answer your question to Susan, if I may.... Maybe because people shouldn't give a company more money for a feature that was supposed to be functional in the existing version? Maybe because these consumers see a repeating pattern in Adobe business practices that do not deserve to be rewarded. Perhaps they've had enough? Maybe because the chances of the actual feature truly working is slim to none. It should work in RH8, Adobe said so in the help and feature files, for thousands more you'd prefer to trust they got it right now in 9.x?

                          • 10. Re: Word import - Help IDs via footnotes
                            Jeff_Coatsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            Wasn't suggesting that you should. I just know (being in the software biz) that version 1.0 of anything is going to have issues. The role of Sales & Marketing is always to try and convince you that their thing is the next great thing - take it with a grain of salt that it might not work in your scenario.

                            • 11. Re: Word import - Help IDs via footnotes
                              Susan_P Level 1

                              Thank you for your feedback. I'll try to address the previous posts in a logical order...


                              @Sacred Cow: You've hit the nail on the head. We (meaning myself, my fellow writer, my manager, and our procurement clerk) do not feel comfortable paying Adobe for further RoboHelp products. Their software is expensive and did not deliver an important feature, and the support they provided was severely lacking even though we paid for it.


                              @Jeff_Coatsworth: If I understand correctly (and I was not the person handling the money, our procurement clerk was), we were not offered a very good deal for upgrading. We would have had to pay thousands more dollars for a product that didn't fulfill our needs in the first place. Also, I don't see how RH 8.0 (actually 8.0.2, we downloaded the service packs) can be called a version 1.0. It was a mature product, and the feature to which I'm referring was clearly mentioned in the documentation.


                              @Peter Grainge: Our problem was that links created between Word documents held when in Word, but broke when we refreshed the RoboHelp project we'd added them to. I'd have to dig through my old files to find the exact details, but I remember it boiled down to a checkbox in the linking dialog (something like, "Preserve links between documents"). It took several phone calls and sending of sample projects before anyone on Adobe's side would even admit that the checkbox wasn't working. The lower-level support staff just kept telling me to check the box to keep the inter-document links. Actually, most of the lower-level staff I encountered didn't even seem aware that you could use Word with RoboHelp.


                              Overall: We now provide almost all our documentation through Atlassian Confluence, a wiki-based solution. Instead of having our engineers work in Word, they use the WYSIWYG interface available for each wiki page. We can then edit their work through the same interface. We can create a separate "space" (like a website) for each product, or create multiple ones to provide access to previous versions. The only thing we use CHMs for anymore is API documentation, and we create those with Sandcastle and Doxygen. We're currently writing scripts to transfer our remaining CHM documentation to Confluence wiki format. Confluence has its advantages and disadvantages, but in my experience it's easy to use and highly customizable. It's also reasonably priced and Atlassian's support, while limited to forums, is quick and knowledgeable.

                              • 12. Re: Word import - Help IDs via footnotes
                                Jeff_Coatsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                Sorry, I should have been clearer - it was version 1.0 for those of us trying to do FM to RH within the Tech Comm Suite; that's probably where we got a better deal on upgrades - all the pricing on the constituent parts was more attractive than the standalone point products were.