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First compile the sub projects. Next, go to the master project and use the 'New Merged Project' icon in the TOC toolbar to import the sub-project .CMH files into the master project. These will be stored in the parent directory of the the main project.
Next, click on the 'insert hyperlink' option in the toolbar and select the 'Link to Remote Topic' option. Select the imported sub-projects in the parent directory of the master project and link to the required topics in those.
Generate the main project. This should result in a SSL (Single Source Layout) output subdirectory which contains the main project .chm file and all the sub-project CHM files you imported into the main project.
There's a Robohelp bug to watch out for here. If there are versions of any of the .CHM files already in the output SSL sub directory they will not be overwritten.
To get around this go back to the sub projects and set the output target for the SSL's to the output directory to the SSL in the master project. This will mean the .chm files you ship will always be the latest versions.
To update the master project with any updated sub project:
(a) Reimport the .chm file from the sub-project using the 'New Merged Project' icon on the TOC toolbar. (This is only really necessary if you've got new topics you want to link to in the sub project).
(b) Generate the .chm file in the sub-project so that it goes to the output directory of the main project. (Your SSL in the subp-project should already be set up to this target - see above).
If you go through this step by step I think you''ll find things will work.
thank you very much for your help.