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Substring Search in CHM Output

New Here ,
Feb 11, 2024 Feb 11, 2024

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Hi, Is there any way to enable substring search in CHM output? If someone has (finally) found a different solution for a compressed, offline HTML output, I’d love to hear about it.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 11, 2024 Feb 11, 2024

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I assume you are using Robohelp RH2022. The process is similar for Robohelp Classic versions. If you're not using Robohelp, then you'll need to check on the forums for whichever tool you're using to generate the chm. 🙂

 

In your chm Window Settings, select the Adv. Search checkbox. If you don't have a window definition, create one and make sure that setting is selected. Make sure you select that window as the Default Window in the CHM output preset.

 

You'll then get some checkboxes at the bottom of the Search tab. I think "Match similar words" is the one you want.

 

This site provides more details about chm search. https://help-info.de/kb/HTMLHelp/100003-hh-faq-search-for-word-or-phrase-in-chm-file/#to-refine-a-fu...

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New Here ,
Feb 11, 2024 Feb 11, 2024

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Thanks so much. I am indeed using RH 2022. The advanced search option is an improvement, but it still requires users to use wildcards in order to find a substring. Is there any way to automate that so that substrings will appear in the results even without adding an asterisk * before and after the search term?

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Community Expert ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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You're talking about CHMs, right? These are an extinct form of output developmentally - MS dropped them years decades ago.

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New Here ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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I know. But what good alternative is there for an offline compressed output? My company insists that the output must be compressed (i.e., a project with tens-hundreds of HTML files is not an option).

 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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There's nothing really out there - I use a self-extracting exe program to package my HTML5 up for local installs. That squishes it down to a reasonable size in one file.

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New Here ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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Thanks, that sounds like an excellent solution. If you wouldn't mind sharing what program you use/recommend and any other details about the process, I'd be very appreciative.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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I use a couple - one's a really old program that isn't made anymore called Wise, but the other is WinRAR. They both work much the same way - you tell it to pick up the folder containing all the HTML5 files and compress it into a self-extracting executable. The Wise program has a way of creating a front-end UI so the person running it can point it at a location on their LAN server and run it (which unzips all the files/folders into that specified location). Probably any installer program like InstallShield would work too.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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@Jeff_Coatsworth CHM on a server?

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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 ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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Nope - HTML5 files

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Community Expert ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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Doh! Of course. 

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

 

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New Here ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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Thanks for your help!

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Community Expert ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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I understand your predicament. It somewhat amuses me that your company insist on you using a format that relies on the Microsoft Help Compiler that was last updated some twenty years ago and is no longer available to download from Microsoft's site. They pulled it a few years back.

 

It had security issues as described in CHMs on a Network (grainge.org).  Are your IT people aware of this and would the developers use tools like this for their work? See if that helps you argue the case, if you want to.

 

Because CHMs rely on the Microsoft compiler, there are no tricks other than the one @Amebr has described.

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

 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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Is the issue the developers don't want to ship multiple files or they don't want multiple files on the users' machines? 

 

A exe will ship one file but the developers will have to then extract the files. 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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Hmm, I just tried it in an old chm i found on my PC (no idea what it was created using) and the find simialr words setting works in that one, but when I copy the text from that chm and generate one in RH the same search doesn't not work the same. So it almost seems like RH is not creating the search to spec somehow. However, getting any changes to how RH generates chms may be difficult.

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New Here ,
Feb 13, 2024 Feb 13, 2024

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Thanks for trying that out. Where I'm specifically encountering a problem is in our programmers guide. People search for the name of an interface, but without the "I" that precedes it and the version number that follows it (e.g., the topic and interface name is IMeshLayer80 and they search for MeshLayer. Even when Find similar words is selected - the search comes up blank. One solution I guess is to create index entries for each of these abbreviated interface names so that they'll show up in the Index. But I'd like to hide the Search tab then (so that people don't perform failed searches). Is there a way to hide the Search tab in the CHM?

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Community Expert ,
Feb 13, 2024 Feb 13, 2024

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I believe it can be deselected in the Window settings.

 

Will you be swapping one problem for another if an index term doesn't find what the user wants?

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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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New Here ,
Feb 18, 2024 Feb 18, 2024

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You're right. Thanks for that advice. Sorry I hadn't checked that myself. If I create a very-comprehensive index, I may be better off. Otherwise, you're right, I might be swapping one problem for another. Thanks for all your help.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 13, 2024 Feb 13, 2024

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Ah yeah, when chm was developed I don't think any searches worked like that without wildcards. 20 years ago the similar words setting was cutting edge and i'm pretty sure it was only similar based on grammar rules like plural and tense (user vs users vs using) and even then was not hugely accurate. 🙂

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