4 Replies Latest reply on Dec 21, 2011 7:39 AM by Captiv8r

    Importing dropdown text from Word - Using Word for editing

    George the scribe

      Hi. I'm in a new position, new to Robohelp (running Robohelp 8) and new to the documentation world, although I have been deeply immersed in Word for years. I'm running word 2007 in my new job.


      I am trying to set up a workflow in which documentation is maintained in Word documents that are linked to a Robohelp projects. There is a Robohelp project for each software product.


      I have been able to get most of it working, using matched styles, but I can't seem to find information about how to create a structure in Word that will convert into DHTML dropdown and expanding text in Robohelp. I hope I am not overlooking something obvious.


      We use dropdown text widely in our documentation, as a tool for offering small amounts (a sentence or a paragraph) of supplemental or explanatory information. Is there a method of preparing this material in Word and then importing it into Robohelp? I don't want to have to recreate it after each import from Word.


      Thanks for any guidance or suggestions you can provide!


      -- George

        • 1. Re: Importing dropdown text from Word
          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

          I doubt that is possible as the concept of a dropdown does not exist in Word as printed documents cannot have a dropdown.


          I sense that maybe you are using Word because you are much more familiar with it. Editing in RoboHelp is not unlike Word and you will quickly get used to it and find that alone has advantages.


          The thread title refers to Importing but in the body you refer to Linking and later Imoprt from Word. Importing and Linking are quite separate processes.


          See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips



          • 2. Re: Importing dropdown text from Word
            George the scribe Level 1

            Thank you for the response, Peter.


            Your instincts are correct: this issue relates to the deeper topic of where to edit and what to use as the "source" document. It's not just a case of creating Robohelp files. In our case, we derive some of our training materials from parts of the same files as our on-line help. The training materials are in PowerPoint. We also need a printable version of our help files.Furthermore, we need to track changes to the help files.


            There continue to be small changes to the help information, and we are trying to avoid the need to make the same updates in multiple files. By careful use of Word styles, we can export the training material to PowerPoint from Word. We can also link the Word file to Robohelp and get what we need there--almost. We find that Word's change-tracking works well for us. That is why Word seemed like a promising choice as the "single-source" master file.


            Our hope is to establish a single-source document format that can serve all these purposes, and our initial approach is to try using Word for that. But maybe a different format is better as a single-source basis.Can you suggest a better approach? Surely there are others trying to do similiar things. What has proved the best strategy?


            Thanks for any suggestions.


            -- George


            PS: I see that the topic is evolving from "importing drop-down text" to "what makes a good master file format". Should I re-post under a different subject?

            • 3. Re: Importing dropdown text from Word
              Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

              I understand your rationale but a couple of observations.


              You might find issue swith RoboHelp if the linked files contain tracked changes at the time of generation. That is certainly true of imported documents so I am guessing it also applies to linked documents.


              RoboHelp can produce printed output as well and by using conditional tags the same source document could produce one output for OLH (for you) and another for printed output (for training).


              At that point, I think the RoboHelp editor has a lot going for it but I don't think there is any way to generate straight to Powerpoint - waiting for Rick to chip in here. Maybe you could generate back out to Word and then to Powerpoint?

              • 4. Re: Importing dropdown text from Word
                Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Hi folks, Rick chiming in here.


                As I see it, there simply isn't a way to format anything in Word that will translate to a DHTML drop-down when it arrives in RoboHelp Happy Land. This is largely because the DHTML drop-downs don't occur by virtue of simply applying CSS. You must use RoboHelp to choose what becomes the drop-down and special code is added. Essentially, the text that is part of the drop down is placed in a special DIV at the top of the topic. Then JavaScript is used to present the DIV.


                However, I do have a thought or two. And part of this will require that we ask Willam to chime in as he seems to be our resident RoboHelp Scripting guru.


                Here's the thought. You stated that you are being diligent about applying styles. So I'm wondering if you developed a couple of specific styles that you would apply in Word. Then by knowing the name of the styles, assuming these carry over into RoboHelp, you could use the RoboHelp scripting engine to scan the text for the style name and magickally convert that to a DHTML drop-down. Again, only Willam (or Praful from Adobe) can say whether that will work.


                The other thought surrounds migrating all of it to RoboHelp and abandoning Word. You have the PowerPoint issue to consider. And again, I'm wondering if CSS can come to our rescue here? My thought on that is that you could have the specific CSS styling in RoboHelp that you are using in Word. When you create the printed output from RoboHelp, hopefully that styling would translate right into the document that could then be used to propagate the PowerPoint.


                So there you have it... Live, from Kansas City, MO!


                Cheers all... Rick


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