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Oh, boy, where to start?
To edit any topics in RH, you need to open the RH project and make your changes. Unless you're using a very good source control product, and you all are very good in using it, no one else should open that project. Otherwise, conflicts will arise. If everyone working in RH is crucial, you could break up the project into pieces and set up a merged project. See Peter Grainge's tutorial.
And, no, you should not even consider editing the pub files; it must be the source files.
If all you're doing is replacing image files, you could simply paste the new ones to override the old ones, in Windows Explorer. If minor edits are needed to topic files, one user proficient in HTML code could open the HTM file in an ASCII editor such as Notepad or FrontPage.
And absolutely do not work the project off the shared drive: LOCAL, LOCAL, LOCAL.
Yes, we are only replacing image files. So--since no one here is familiar with merge-- if we do as you suggest using Windows Explorer, the steps will be:
1) One writer works on his/her computer's local drive and the other writer works on his/her computer 's local drive (no shared drive).
2) Each writer creates an Image folder on his/her computer's local drive
3) Each writer captures (Snag-it) images from the application, opens the captured image in Photoshop and sizes the new image file to match the size and width, border, etc parameters of the image in the current Help's HTML code. (writer will have to view HTML code to get image size)
4) Each writer will copy the new image files into his/her local drive-based Image folder--giving the new image the same name as the image that is being replaced).
5) The image files in the first writer's Image folder are then copied to the Image other writer's Image folder.
6) The new Image folder containing all the new image files is copied into the RoboHelp source directory, overwriting the old Image folder.
7) The writer with the new Image folder (containing all the new images) then generates and publishers the RoboHelp project.
Is this correct?