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How do you automate your process for projects?

Explorer ,
Nov 02, 2023 Nov 02, 2023

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I have to admit I'm baffled. Maybe I'm expecting too much in this day and age  😉

 

I thought that RH would work like M$ Word; you create your contents using headings; generate a TOC and it works. Each time you update your Word doc, you just update the TOC and all is fine. Why can't RH work like this?

 

In my short time using RH, I've found that:

  • When I update the TOC, my Contents get rearranged alphabetically
    • This goes against reason; why can't I just lay out the skeleton of my project in Contents and RH maintains the structure?

So ... as I'm trying to mimic how Word creates a TOC, without rearranging my content, I think that I have to:

  • Number folders
  • Ensure the filenames of the Topics are numbered, within the folders, to maintain their proper order when the TOC gets automatically generated.

I know I can drag TOC items around, but I want all of this organization to happen automatically.

 

Also, if I have a folder and a Topic, within the same folder, do I have to use the same numbering for the name of the folder and the topic to ensure they are automatically arranged in the order I want?

 

</rant>  Any insights appreciated. Oh yeah, I'm using 2019.0.14

 

Take care

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Nov 02, 2023 Nov 02, 2023

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Word can do it because it's using heading levels in a single "topic" to generate the table of contents.

 

Robohelp on the other hand is using multiple files all at the same heading level. The Contents panel is simply a view of File Explorer (or whatever the Mac equivalent is) and that simply displays in alphabetical order. (I'm assuming you are using New UI, rather than Classic, although you didn't say in your post.)

 

While I've never used "autogenerate TOC" in over 20 years of using RH,  I imagine you would also need to number the topic within a folder, if you don't want them listed in alphabetical order inside the folder of the generated toc.

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Explorer ,
Nov 02, 2023 Nov 02, 2023

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Yes, Amebr, it's the new UI. My frustrations stems from the fact that I have to import near 700 html files and replicate the organization from another help system.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 02, 2023 Nov 02, 2023

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What's the other help system and what's the format of the toc file for that system look like? Perhaps it would be possible to convert the toc using some find and replace in a text editor. The toc format in RH is just xml so if the other system also uses xml it might be fairly easy.

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Explorer ,
Nov 03, 2023 Nov 03, 2023

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Yes Amebr it would, but that's not possible in this case, we only have the raw html files and have stripped out all the formatting from the old system so it will easily be imported int RH and then I just clean up the <p> tags with our own CSS.

 

Another question I have regarding the automatic sorting of items in the Content pane is how can I sort Folders with Topics?

 

I have named the Folders in multiples of 100, for example, 100_Welcome to the Machine, 200_Getting started, etc. 

I want a topic to be automatically nestled between the two folders so I changed the filename of the Topic to be 250_Things to know.htm, for example.

 

However, in true Windows Explorer fashion, the topic is listed below all the folders. 

Is manually sorting the TOC the only ways to place Topics between folders?

 

Thanks in advance to you and everyone who has been offerup up help!

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Explorer ,
Nov 03, 2023 Nov 03, 2023

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Sorry, I can't figure out how to edit my posts, but the Topic filename mentioned above should be 150_Thingstoknow.htm

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Community Expert ,
Nov 08, 2023 Nov 08, 2023

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If there is a pattern to how you need to make the TOC XML work, you may be able to quickly manipulate it using XSLT. XSLT is a W3C language for transforming XML. If you can supply before/after samples of what you have and what you need as far as the XML files, I may be able to help you code it.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 08, 2023 Nov 08, 2023

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LATEST

They don't have any, unfortunately. They only have the html topics to work with. 

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Community Expert ,
Nov 03, 2023 Nov 03, 2023

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It's 1am for @Amebr so let's see if I can help.

 

The only way to force the order of folders and topics. The folders can be 100, 200 and so on. That also allows you to slot in new folders with say 110.

 

Then within each folder you have a new numbering system. Go for a three or four digit prefix and again allow gaps so that you can get new topics in order.

 

Does that answer your question?

________________________________________________________

My site www.grainge.org includes many free Authoring and RoboHelp resources that may be of help.

 

Help others by clicking Correct Answer if the question is answered. Found the answer elsewhere? Share it here. "Upvote" is for useful posts.

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Explorer ,
Nov 03, 2023 Nov 03, 2023

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Thanks Peter, that's pretty close,  but I was trying to order Folders and Topics at the same time. Over the past week, I've had to re-adjust my mindset on how I approach RH. I originally viewed the TOC and Contents as mirrors of each other.

 

I'm now approaching RH by viewing the management of Contents and the Table of Contents as two separate tasks. While trying to keep my Contents organized and reflective of the TOC, I thought strict naming convetions of the filenames would somehow majically create the perfect TOC when I chose Auto-create TOC. 

I've come to the mindset that I might only want to Auto-create TOC when I have all of my Content in place.

 

I'm beginning to see that a lot of editng/cleaning up of the TOC is necessary to remove all of the numbering/naming I've been using  so that end users are not greeted by TOC entries such as 100_blah_blah.

 

The only missing piece I'm trying to get my head around is TOC workflow. In my current project I'm importing near 700 Topics/files. That's going to be a lot of massaging of the TOC. I'm figuring that once the Content is in place (filenames in the correct order) then I'll Auto-create the TOC.

 

Let me know if I'm correct with my next statements:

  1. I'm going to Auto-create the first TOC once all the Content is in place.
  2. Then I'm going to make all of the edits to the Folders' display names in the TOC editor.
  3. If I add any new Topics moving forward, I WILL NOT use Auto-create, but manually add the new Topics using the TOC editor.

Thanks and take care

 

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Community Expert ,
Nov 03, 2023 Nov 03, 2023

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The end user should not see the filenames, only the topic title.

 

When you create a topic, it automatically applies the filename as the title but you can change that.

________________________________________________________

My site www.grainge.org includes many free Authoring and RoboHelp resources that may be of help.

 

Help others by clicking Correct Answer if the question is answered. Found the answer elsewhere? Share it here. "Upvote" is for useful posts.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 05, 2023 Nov 05, 2023

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Yes, the only way to have a topic in between two folders is by using the Table of Contents file. It's not possible in the Contents panel.

 

Yes, if you want your contents panel to be as close a match as possible for your TOC, your 3 steps are the way to go.

 

Also, I'm just checking you know you can drag whole folders into the toc? And select multiple folders and topics in the Contents panel? 

 

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