First, let's get a bit clearer on our terminology, shall we?
What you are seeing is not a "Build Tag". Sure, the Span indicates a tag and it's there when you build, but a "Build Tag" is a special tag inside RoboHelp that you apply to specific content that you wish to omit from the build using a counterpart known as a "Build Expression".
A Build Tag in RoboHelp looks like this:
<?rh-cbt_start condition="InProgress" ?>New model coming<?rh-cbt_end ?>
What you are reporting is an inline styling element.
Is this a project that began life in RoboHelp 9? Or was it created in an earlier version and was upgraded along the way? Does the same thing occur with a totally new topic you create?
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First, you are right when you want to make the terminology clearer. Thank you.
I agree, it is not a RH9 build tag.
Is this a project that began life in RoboHelp 9? The answer is No.
Or was it created in an earlier version and was upgraded along the way? The answer is Yes
Does the same thing occur with a totally new topic you create? The answer is Yes. The topic with only the beginning of the sentence was created on September 2011 and I upgraded to RH9 in May.
I've been reading forum topics for a while but just newly registered today. I wanted to chime in on this discussion because this is a problem we have seen as well.
My tech writing team is using RoboHelp 18.104.22.168. We initially noticed this problem in our generated build (WebHelp) as it displays in our company's product. In Internet Explorer, the text displays correctly (as if IE sees "transparent" but defaults to "black"), but the text looked as if it wasn't there at all in Firefox (except if I highlighted the area with my cursor). A look at the htm files showed the problem reported in this thread, where a transparent color had been assigned to the font.
We are unsure as to why this would happen, though we've tried to discover a pattern. Occasionally, we have seen the transparent tag right after text that had been changed to a new style (bold font or a color other than black) or right after text that is hyperlinked, but it's not consistent. This has also happened in text using paragraph styles and text using list styles. We've run into this issue in two different RH projects (one much larger than the other but both created previous to upgrading to RH 8), and it usually occurs when we have been working heavily in the projects, making changes to lots of topics per day.
Some advice we've seen in similar forum topics is to avoid using the Change Font Color button in the toolbar and only use the Font dialog box (from the Format menu in the menu bar or from the side menu that opens when you right-click). As a workaround, we periodically run a search (Find and Replace in Files dialog box) on the word "transparent" to try to catch any issues before they get into the product; the search also finds any intentional uses of "transparent" as a background color in tables, but we can at least look at each instance and make sure no text font is transparent.
A quick note: IE8 and lower don't support transparent for text.
I've never seen this behaviour. Can the text have ended up in your master page so that new topics automatically contain some of that code?
Instead of a find and replace operation, you could also create a script that will only strip out these span tags that set transparent text colour. Much faster and much safer.
Yes, that is a good point. Within the Font dialog box in RH 8, there is no "(Transparent)" choice in the Font color: drop-down list like there is in the Highlight: drop-down list. This is just something that for whatever reason shows up in the html code. If we open the Font dialog box for any text that does have a transparent tag, the Font color: drop-down displays the choice "(Automatic)."
We do use master pages but just to assign breadcrumbs to topics as needed, so the only content in the master pages is the breadcrumb Placeholder. I checked the htt file to be sure, and there is no "transparent" tag there. The text (headings, paragraphs, steps, etc.) in our topics is created individually for each one.
Thanks for the suggestion about running a script.
P.S. Here is the old thread where someone else was having the issue when using the Change Font Color toolbar button: http://forums.adobe.com/message/53168#53168.
Message was edited by: RuTechWriter
Thanks for your help, William.
Just to clarify again for anyone viewing your site, text with this transparent tag IS visible in Internet Explorer (defaults to black) and when viewing within RoboHelp (both Design mode and Preview mode). The text is NOT visible in Firefox (or Google Chrome or Safari).
We have cleaned up instances of this in our projects thus far, but to test the script you provided, I tried recreating the problem. Every time I chose "Automatic" from the Change Font Color toolbar button drop-down, this "transparent" tag was assigned, so maybe that narrows down the cause of the problem. Possibly it's a bug that should be reported... not sure.
Anyway, thanks for the script!! This was a new experience for me; I'm using a script for a different project, but it's a python script I run outside of RoboHelp since that's what our developers use. I found some material and references to other resources on your site to figure out how to do this; very good to know. The script worked as expected and got rid of the transparent tagging without breaking anything else as far as I can tell ;-)
Ruth, thanks so much for reporting exactly how the transparent tags ended up in the code. Had I not known exactly what you did there is probably no way I'd ever have discovered that. And it fully explains why I have never had it happen.
Here's the deal. From a pure efficiency standpoint one should always try and govern all they can with styling via the associated CSS file. When you select that drop-down and choose "Automatic", you are choosing to directly apply an in-line style. And when we facilitate RoboHelp classes we always admonish folks that you want to avoid using in-line stying as much as you can.
I just tested this in RoboHelp 9 and the issue isn't there. So it appears there would be nothing gained by filing a bug report.
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Thanks for the response, Rick.
It took me a while to narrow it down to this specific workflow. We have a team of three working on multiple projects - and it's astounding sometimes how differently we all do things - but we've learned a lot of good lessons researching some of our issues on the forum, working more with styles being one of them! Typically when we are changing the font color, it's for a word or phrase within a paragraph, not the whole thing, so that's why we've used the Change Font Color tool and more recently the Font dialog box to be safer. I've started playing around with Character Styles, which we have never used before, so hopefully this is a safe way to assign formatting for individual words without assigning to a full paragraph or using any of the in-line style tools.
Thanks for the update concerning RH 9... although that makes me wonder how the original poster (tecwriter38) has seen this tag using RH 9.
Thanks again; this has been very helpful!
Just a couple of possibilities. The tags were maybe introduced in 8, the project was upgraded and later discovered in 9?
The issue persisted in 9 but the most recent service release corrects the behavior?
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I'm trying like hell to fix this same problem (I've got output pages with whole chunks of missing text all over the place), but can't quite work out how to run this script.
If I open the script via the RoboHelp menu commands, the app hangs and I have to close it. I've tried to use this ExtendScriptToolki, but I don't think it's working . . . or I'm doing something wrong.
This "transparent" code just came out of nowhere and I'm a bit beside myself at the moment.
Any advice for either the script . . . a permanent fix . . . etc.? I've opened the CSS file and can find nothing to fix globablly.
How large is your project? The script will parse all topics, masterpages and snippets so it can take a while for larger projects, especially on slower computers. If you run the script from the ExtendScript Toolkit, be sure to select RoboHelp
as the program to run the script.
You can also use a find and replace tool to replace all instances of <span style="color: Transparent"> with an empty string. Then hit Tools > Update DHTML effects in topics to remove all the leftover end tags.
Hello - just thought I would chime in since the script William shared worked ok for me. When I run this from within RoboHelp, it hangs for me as well, i.e., there's no message letting me know that anything is happening, and I see a non responsive icon in the title bar (rather than the RH logo). It takes a while for my project, but if I just wait, a dialog box eventually does open to say that all topics, snippets, and masterpages were processed.
If you still have trouble, the Find and Replace method works well... just takes longer. That's what we had to do before getting William's script.
For a permanent fix, see my earlier comments in the thread for details on what we were doing when we started seeing these problems. Now that we have changed our workflow, we haven't seen this happen again.
Hope you get this resolved!
Appreciate the feedback.
Here's a wrinkle . . . I'm not even seeing the <transparent> tag in the code anymore. But it works fine when the output is rendered in Internet Explorer, but with Chrome and Firefox, the whited-out text and blank spaces persist.
I sent a link for someone to review some new content, thinking the problem had gone away since it looked fine to me, but they responded by saying all the text was missing. Of course, they were using FireFox . . . and I felt like a fool.
Well, I seemed to have found two different <P> tags in my default.css file, one of which had a "transparent" attribute for font color. Perhaps during all the madness of this rogue tag/code, it snuck in there somehow. Beats me.
Anyway, I've changed the font attribute to BLACK though I almost think I should just remove one of those <P> tags. Weird that IE must have picked up the "correct" <P> tag, but not for Chrome and FireFox.
Feel like Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes: "This is a madhouse!"
LOL, that it works in IE is due to a bug (IMHO) in IE. IE doesn't allow you to use 'transparent' as text colour, while other browsers just alow it.