Multilevel list numbering for sections and topic titles

New Here ,
Jul 20, 2021 Jul 20, 2021

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Hi, for the PDF output, I am trying to duplicate in Robohelp 2020 the method I used in Classic via Word output to create mulilevel list numbering on the TOC sections and the topic titles.

 

In the Word output, Classic had a TOC and heading levels problem as outlined by Peter Grainge here. I circumvented it by using H1 as the topic titles, and using my own custom subheadings within the topic, named MyH2 and MyH3. That way, when the 1600-page Word doc was generated, the sections and topic titles used the H1, H2, H3, etc. down to H6, and my custom subheadings within the topics were unchanged. I then applied a massive VBA script in Word that automatically formatted everything, including assinging multilevel numbering to the headings. Worked fabulously for many years.

 

I was excited to see Robohelp has a much improved PDF output. However, according to Peter's explanation of the new TOC, it appears that the ability to apply multilevel numbering on TOC sections and topic titles has been totally obliterated. It seems there is no way of generating a Word or PDF that retains the heading levels to even run a script on.

 

Is this really the case or am I missing something? If it's not possible, is there some workaround with javascript that could generate the numbering in the sections and titles? I can't possibly do it manually on a 1600-page document with many hundreds of topics.

 

I really hope I'm wrong here and look forward to being enlightened.

 

Thanks,

Jacob

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Community Expert ,
Jul 20, 2021 Jul 20, 2021

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Do you have the correct link for the problem in Classic? The link provided discusses how the toc works in RH2020, not older versions. If so I can have a read through and see if I have any suggestions.

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New Here ,
Jul 21, 2021 Jul 21, 2021

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The link goes to the correct page, you just have to scroll up to the Online and Book TOCs - Why the Change? section. I'll look into the autonumbering on heading styles that Peter suggested.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 21, 2021 Jul 21, 2021

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Unless I am misunderstanding the objective, I am thinking that Autonumbering on heading styles both true and quasi would give you the multilevel numbering you require.

 

See Lists and Autonumbering (grainge.org) but note the caution about accessibility.

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New Here ,
Dec 09, 2021 Dec 09, 2021

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Peter, I think perhaps you misunderstood. I want the headings in the generated document (Word or PDF) to follow the TOC structure. That way, the topics can have multi-level numbering applied to them so the reader can have some idea where they are in the huge 1700-page document.

I have been doing this in Robohelp classic for 15+ years. Within each topic, I use h1 for the title, and purposely do not use any h2,h3, etc. subheading levels in the topic, so that they do not interfere with the heading levels the topics receive in Word according to the TOC heirarchy. I also do not apply multi-level numbering to the quasi sub-headings I have within each topic - that is only applied to the h1 title of each topic. This has worked fabulously. After generating the Word doc, I have a VBA script in Word that applies the multi-level numbering to the topic headings (along with adding headers, footers, TOC, brief TOC, and front pages). Then I convert to pdf.

I thought the new Robohelp direct-to-pdf would let me get rid of the Word conversion stage and my VBA script, since it has the option of front pages, back pages, header, footer, etc. It totally blows me away that Adobe appeared to go backwards and actually remove the ability to generate a document with multipe heading levels of topics. Is this indeed correct? I can't find any way that autonumbering does this. If this is correct, then I am really curious how Adobe thinks anything other than very short pdf documents can be generated from the help without heading levels to create some navigation abilities.

-Jacob

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Community Expert ,
Dec 09, 2021 Dec 09, 2021

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Can you mock up something to make this clearer or screenshot something from Classic? 

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Community Expert ,
Dec 09, 2021 Dec 09, 2021

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Peter, I think this relates to the problem of not having "books within books" and RH2020 producing a completely flat structure. I can't remember how the styles come out in the Word output and whether that's structured enough to run macros on to fix...

 

Hopefully Jacob's mockup will clarify though.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 09, 2021 Dec 09, 2021

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I think I have worked out the objective. @Jacob Paso can confirm.

 

The idea is that the TOC will be like this.

  1. First topic
  2. Second topic
  3. Third topic

 

With the first topic the first heading will be

1. First Topic

then subsequent headers will be 1.1, 1.2, 1.2.1 etc

 

Then the second topic will be

2. Second topic

then subsequent headers will be 2.1, 2.2, 2.2.1 etc

 

I believe that can be done for online outputs but @Jacob Paso will have to test how well it converts to Word and PDF.

 

You set up autonumbering as I described earlier. In a topic that will give the numbering above but each topic by default will start at 1. You then click in the first heading and if Content Properties does not automatically get focus, click the icon on the right. There you can set the numbering to start at whatever you want. The rest should follow automatically in that topic.

 

How well that converts to Word needs to be tested.

 

The root problem reminds me of an article I saw many years ago. It argued "Every page is the first page". In the web world users do not read pages in the order of a book, they can click links and skip around to find what they want. Help files are the same so topics have to be written accordingly. Because of that the HTML world does fit nicely with numbering as would be applied in a book.

 

Try it in a simple test project with a small number of topics to see if that helps. I would be interested to learn how well the Word conversion goes.

 

The fly in the ointment is that if you have to insert a new topic, you have to manually reset the numbering in all subsequent topics.

 

If you can avoid numbering it may now appear to be an attractive option. 🙂

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