Highlighted

Print to PDF from Responsive HTML5

New Here ,
Jul 29, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I am wondering if anyone out there has tried to allow their users to print to PDF while viewing a topic in a Responsive HTML5 help system.

This is what I have in mind: While viewing a topic, the user clicks the Print button on the Help toolbar and selects Adobe PDF rather than a physical printer as the output destination.

Ideally, I would like the PDF output to look like a nicely formatted standalone document (similar to how it would look if I created the PDF myself out of FrameMaker, Word, etc.).

I have three concerns:

  • Overall document layout with approved branding elements. (not necessarily the same layout as in the help; could a different master page be applied during the PDF creation process?)
  • Functioning hyperlinks within the topic. (I understand that hyperlinks to different help topics would not make sense in a standalone PDF; I'm talking about links to bookmarks within the same topic.)
  • Automatic accessibility tagging that is reasonably accurate. 

Note that I am not talking about generating PDF as the output type for a RoboHelp project. I'm talking about allowing the user to make their own PDF from a topic that we provide as HTML5-based help and having that PDF look good and function well.

Is any part of this scenario possible, even with some type of third-party plugin? I idly mentioned this idea during a meeting with my boss and he got very excited about it, so any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks!

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Peter Grainge | Adobe Community Professional

The Holy Grail!

 

While viewing a topic, the user clicks the Print button on the Help toolbar and selects Adobe PDF rather than a physical printer as the output destination.

That bit only requires the user has a PDF printer and most machines now have the Microsoft PDF printer installed so that bit is easy.

 

Ideally, I would like the PDF output to look like a nicely formatted standalone document (similar to how it would look if I created the PDF myself out of FrameMaker, Word, etc.).

Yeah right. Not a chance. How do they grab you? 🙂

The issue here is no PDF printer including the full blown Acrobat can do that. Page breaks and stopping tables from splitting for starters.

 

I have three concerns:

  • Overall document layout with approved branding elements. (not necessarily the same layout as in the help; could a different master page be applied during the PDF creation process?)
    The user does not have access to those as they are in the source and the user is viewing the output.

  • Functioning hyperlinks within the topic. (I understand that hyperlinks to different help topics would not make sense in a standalone PDF; I'm talking about links to bookmarks within the same topic.)
    That bit might work, I haven't tested but it's probably dependant on the PDF writer being used.

  • Automatic accessibility tagging that is reasonably accurate. 
    Pass. My guess would be that would also be dependant on the writer but I'm doubtful

Note that I am not talking about generating PDF as the output type for a RoboHelp project. I'm talking about allowing the user to make their own PDF from a topic that we provide as HTML5-based help and having that PDF look good and function well.
I understand that and think we have covered what how it would work for the user or, more accurately, how it wouldn't.

Is any part of this scenario possible, even with some type of third-party plugin? I idly mentioned this idea during a meeting with my boss and he got very excited about it, so any guidance would be appreciated.
RoboHelp doesn't have any plugins, third party or not.

I think the moral of this reply is never get the boss excited about ideas without researching them first.

 

The only answer here is for you to create the PDFs and make them available via links or some other means.

 

If you are using 2019 New UI or 2020, there is an option to attach a PDF as a download. The idea being it covers the whole help. I know that is not what you were looking for but maybe that would work.

 

Sorry to ruin the idea but it's not that it is something that RoboHelp doesn't offer, it's just technically not possible because generating a PDF is the same as sending something to a printer, it has to be right when you send it. Get it right in FrameMaker and Word it can be done but not from web pages.

 

Views

138

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more

Print to PDF from Responsive HTML5

New Here ,
Jul 29, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I am wondering if anyone out there has tried to allow their users to print to PDF while viewing a topic in a Responsive HTML5 help system.

This is what I have in mind: While viewing a topic, the user clicks the Print button on the Help toolbar and selects Adobe PDF rather than a physical printer as the output destination.

Ideally, I would like the PDF output to look like a nicely formatted standalone document (similar to how it would look if I created the PDF myself out of FrameMaker, Word, etc.).

I have three concerns:

  • Overall document layout with approved branding elements. (not necessarily the same layout as in the help; could a different master page be applied during the PDF creation process?)
  • Functioning hyperlinks within the topic. (I understand that hyperlinks to different help topics would not make sense in a standalone PDF; I'm talking about links to bookmarks within the same topic.)
  • Automatic accessibility tagging that is reasonably accurate. 

Note that I am not talking about generating PDF as the output type for a RoboHelp project. I'm talking about allowing the user to make their own PDF from a topic that we provide as HTML5-based help and having that PDF look good and function well.

Is any part of this scenario possible, even with some type of third-party plugin? I idly mentioned this idea during a meeting with my boss and he got very excited about it, so any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks!

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Peter Grainge | Adobe Community Professional

The Holy Grail!

 

While viewing a topic, the user clicks the Print button on the Help toolbar and selects Adobe PDF rather than a physical printer as the output destination.

That bit only requires the user has a PDF printer and most machines now have the Microsoft PDF printer installed so that bit is easy.

 

Ideally, I would like the PDF output to look like a nicely formatted standalone document (similar to how it would look if I created the PDF myself out of FrameMaker, Word, etc.).

Yeah right. Not a chance. How do they grab you? 🙂

The issue here is no PDF printer including the full blown Acrobat can do that. Page breaks and stopping tables from splitting for starters.

 

I have three concerns:

  • Overall document layout with approved branding elements. (not necessarily the same layout as in the help; could a different master page be applied during the PDF creation process?)
    The user does not have access to those as they are in the source and the user is viewing the output.

  • Functioning hyperlinks within the topic. (I understand that hyperlinks to different help topics would not make sense in a standalone PDF; I'm talking about links to bookmarks within the same topic.)
    That bit might work, I haven't tested but it's probably dependant on the PDF writer being used.

  • Automatic accessibility tagging that is reasonably accurate. 
    Pass. My guess would be that would also be dependant on the writer but I'm doubtful

Note that I am not talking about generating PDF as the output type for a RoboHelp project. I'm talking about allowing the user to make their own PDF from a topic that we provide as HTML5-based help and having that PDF look good and function well.
I understand that and think we have covered what how it would work for the user or, more accurately, how it wouldn't.

Is any part of this scenario possible, even with some type of third-party plugin? I idly mentioned this idea during a meeting with my boss and he got very excited about it, so any guidance would be appreciated.
RoboHelp doesn't have any plugins, third party or not.

I think the moral of this reply is never get the boss excited about ideas without researching them first.

 

The only answer here is for you to create the PDFs and make them available via links or some other means.

 

If you are using 2019 New UI or 2020, there is an option to attach a PDF as a download. The idea being it covers the whole help. I know that is not what you were looking for but maybe that would work.

 

Sorry to ruin the idea but it's not that it is something that RoboHelp doesn't offer, it's just technically not possible because generating a PDF is the same as sending something to a printer, it has to be right when you send it. Get it right in FrameMaker and Word it can be done but not from web pages.

 

Views

139

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 29, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

The Holy Grail!

 

While viewing a topic, the user clicks the Print button on the Help toolbar and selects Adobe PDF rather than a physical printer as the output destination.

That bit only requires the user has a PDF printer and most machines now have the Microsoft PDF printer installed so that bit is easy.

 

Ideally, I would like the PDF output to look like a nicely formatted standalone document (similar to how it would look if I created the PDF myself out of FrameMaker, Word, etc.).

Yeah right. Not a chance. How do they grab you? 🙂

The issue here is no PDF printer including the full blown Acrobat can do that. Page breaks and stopping tables from splitting for starters.

 

I have three concerns:

  • Overall document layout with approved branding elements. (not necessarily the same layout as in the help; could a different master page be applied during the PDF creation process?)
    The user does not have access to those as they are in the source and the user is viewing the output.

  • Functioning hyperlinks within the topic. (I understand that hyperlinks to different help topics would not make sense in a standalone PDF; I'm talking about links to bookmarks within the same topic.)
    That bit might work, I haven't tested but it's probably dependant on the PDF writer being used.

  • Automatic accessibility tagging that is reasonably accurate. 
    Pass. My guess would be that would also be dependant on the writer but I'm doubtful

Note that I am not talking about generating PDF as the output type for a RoboHelp project. I'm talking about allowing the user to make their own PDF from a topic that we provide as HTML5-based help and having that PDF look good and function well.
I understand that and think we have covered what how it would work for the user or, more accurately, how it wouldn't.

Is any part of this scenario possible, even with some type of third-party plugin? I idly mentioned this idea during a meeting with my boss and he got very excited about it, so any guidance would be appreciated.
RoboHelp doesn't have any plugins, third party or not.

I think the moral of this reply is never get the boss excited about ideas without researching them first.

 

The only answer here is for you to create the PDFs and make them available via links or some other means.

 

If you are using 2019 New UI or 2020, there is an option to attach a PDF as a download. The idea being it covers the whole help. I know that is not what you were looking for but maybe that would work.

 

Sorry to ruin the idea but it's not that it is something that RoboHelp doesn't offer, it's just technically not possible because generating a PDF is the same as sending something to a printer, it has to be right when you send it. Get it right in FrameMaker and Word it can be done but not from web pages.

 

www.grainge.org for free RoboHelp & Authoring info. Use the blue Reply button at the top to help me help you.
The black Reply link nests replies and they sort out of order.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
New Here ,
Jul 29, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Peter, thank you so much for your thorough and detailed reply---I really appreciate it!

We currently provide several standalone PDF documents that duplicate our help content but are packaged differently; for example, a high-level overview of common tasks for an administrator. I inherited all of this and I will spare you the painful details, but currently we are dual-maintaining content and I would like to get rid of these PDFs by creating help topics along the same lines. However, internal and external users are very wedded to the notion of having a PDF, and although I can tell them that "Adobe PDF" is an option for the Print function in our help, the results are just not the same.  

I suspected that it would not be possible to achieve everything that our standalone PDFs do, but I just wanted to see if there were options I had overlooked.

Thanks again!

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 29, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

You can do some formatting of the printed output the user generates using a print stylesheet. I haven't done much beside ensuring the skin and web related buttons don't print out. 

 

Because Classic doesn't support multiple stylesheets, I've just use @media print in my regular stylesheet. I haven't tried including a separate print stylesheet in RH2019 New UI or RH2020.

 

You could probably do a bit of fancy formatting by using background-image and such - theoretically anything referenced that way should get pulled in to the output. It would take quite a bit of playing to get right though.

 

Smashing Magazine has a good article:

https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/05/print-stylesheets-in-2018/

 

 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 30, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

A print css allows you to change the styles and the article shows some other techniques including setting page breaks. The problem with that method of page breaking, which is built into RoboHelp 2020, is it is mostly based on styles. Typically to get a good document you don't, for example, want a page break before every Heading 2, just "this one" because you want to keep it with something that follows or in one area you have five or six Heading 2 styles with minimal content below. It's a human decision. Same with splitting tables and preventing row breaks.

 

Ultimately I am of the opinion that nothing will be better than generating to FrameMaker or Word or suchlike, formatting it as you want, then creating a PDF that allows you to change the page breaks and format tables. It's a process that cannot be automated.

 

I don't mean to discourage anyone from trying what is in the article, a lot of which is now in RoboHelp 2020. There is useful stuff there. I'm just saying it does as much as can be done automatically but nothing will replace those human decisions on what the document should look like.

 

www.grainge.org for free RoboHelp & Authoring info. Use the blue Reply button at the top to help me help you.
The black Reply link nests replies and they sort out of order.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...