1 Reply Latest reply on Feb 3, 2012 8:43 AM by Captiv8r

    Advice on "merging" multiple projects into one

    Tech Writer KC Level 1

      RH9 webhelp.


      We currently run as merged help, but for maintenance and other reasons, I would like to merge these into a single project. This is mostly due to the variety of style sheets and folder structures that resulted from many of our older topics being added using the import Word feature in earlier versions of RH. I've done this in the past with a few smaller projects, but it ended up requiring a fair amount of manual per-topic work that I'd like to avoid if possible, give the # of these that would be affected by this.


      My initial questions are:


      1. Is it recommended to use the import feature to add the child files into the parent? Or create a brand new project and add both parent and children files into that? Or to use some other method of adding/recreating the current files into an existing/new single project? Especially in terms of the questions below (i.e. folder structures, old/new styles, associated image files, etc.).


      2. Is there a way of importing that won't replicate the original folder structure? For example, in the projects I've created from scratch, all topics are under the basic folder for that project, while in older ones - which were mostly updated by importing Word documents - many topics reside in their own sub-folders, or in what were apparently early attempts to organize topics by subject. I would like to get rid of these sub-folders and have all topics in the same basic folder.


      3. Is there a way of importing images that can auto-update image file names if an existing one already uses it? Many of our older images were created using simple numbering (e.g. 1.jpg, 2.jpg, etc.). Between the various projects and the various subfolders in each project, we have a lot of shared file names, and in my initial experimenting it required a lot of manual work to avoid overwriting. Is there a way in RH (or even outside, I guess) to somehow automate renaming these images during the import process?


      4. Is there advice on mass-updating styles via style-sheets? I'm noticing a lot of weird display and control issues if I import a bunch of old topics and then try to apply our current style sheet to them. For example, RH will show that the new style is now associated with them, but they continue to display using the old style, or the wrong options (usually font styles and font sizes) are enforced with the update (for example RH seems to always default to want to use Times New Roman, even when neither the old nor new styles uses this font), or options (most commonly the font styles we use in the new style) will disappear from drop downs and the like. It just feels very buggy and not consistent or correct in being applied, and I'm worried about having to manually update or recreate a lot of individual topics because of this. Given we have some very ancient topics that have 'survived' 4 or 5 (or more) versions of RH, I guess I'm wondering if there's any old html code or similar that might be the culprit, and if so, how best to sort it out.


      Essentially, we're kind of unique perhaps in that we don't really want to retain the existing folder structures or style guides, but my experience with the previous go-through was that RH did what it could to retain those. Which is understandable, but for us it'd be nice to avoid that and especially if there's a way of doing so without having to manually move and edit each topic and image file as they're imported into the target project.


      Thanks for any tips or suggestions!

        • 1. Re: Advice on "merging" multiple projects into one
          Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Hi there TWnKC


          Personally, I'd copy the existing master, then begin importing the child topics in order to create a new project that is a combination of the former. And I do think it will be helpful moving forward to describe this as "Combining" as opposed to "Merging". Just so everyone is aware of the difference.


          As for the structure, it may be whatever you like and all you have to do is ensure you import the topics into the correct folder.


          Not sure about the images. That one will require a bit of testing. I might expect that if nothing is done you do run the risk of having them overwritten. So here is what I would probably do. Before importing, move images to a folder that is rather unique. That way they will be out of the way and won't get overwritten. By moving them inside RoboHelp, all references to them are updated as well.


          As for the style sheets, only picking apart what is happening will truly reveal the issues. My own guess here is that you are probably seeing some inline or embedded styling that is causing things to run amok. But once you sort what is happening, it shouldn't be a big deal to fix.


          I'm sure others will pop in and offer other additional advice.


          Best of luck to you! Rick


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