Stylesheet mediums, located in the Stylesheet Editor, can automatically reformat your content depending on the output target you’re generating.
Let’s say that you have to generate two output targets from your project: online and print. You want the h1 headings to be blue in the online output; black in print output.
You could create two stylesheets, one for the online output with h1 set to blue; one for print with h1 set to black. That would work but it’s inefficient because you’re creating and maintaining two style sheets, and you will have to remember to pick the right style sheet when you generate each output.
Mediums are simpler...
Think of a medium as a category of output for which you want to set different properties for some styles instead of their default settings. Let’s say that most of your outputs are online so you decide to make blue the default font color for h1. However, because you want the h1's to be black when you print, “Print” is the medium.
Here's another example: You want hyperlinks and cross-references to use underlined blue text for online output, which you decide is your default. However, the links need to be black with no underline for print output. In this instance, you would tell Flare that links and cross-references should be underlined, blue for the default medium but black with no underline for the print medium.
When you define a target, Flare automatically sets its medium in the Advanced tab of the Target Editor. It automatically uses the print medium for Word, PDF, or Framemaker outputs and the default medium for other targets. Using the h1 color example, this means that h1s will be black in Word, PDF, or Framemaker targets and blue in all other targets. If necessary, you can create other mediums for custom needs and apply them to the targets, overriding Flare’s automatically applied mediums.
So how do you set the properties for a particular style for a particular medium? Open the Stylesheet Editor, then click the Medium drop-down menu. Here’s what you’ll see in Flare 12. (Note: In Flare 11 or earlier, the options are default, print, and non-print but the concepts are the same.)
Select the desired style, say h1, make sure the medium is set to default, and set the default properties (such as the font color to blue, for example). Then change the medium to the desired alternative, (print for example), and set the alternative properties (setting the font color to black for example). That’s it!
You can see the effect in two ways.
Switch between any mediums for which you changed styles. You’ll see the change. For example, here’s the effect for font color, first for the default medium with the color set to black. (Note the highlighted medium setting and font-color setting-- #4169e1 is hexadecimal for a dark blue.)
If you change the medium to print, you'll see settings specifically for printing. Note the highlighted medium and font color settings - #000000 is hexadecimal for black.
Change the layout when viewing the topic in the topic editor and you’ll see the medium change too. For example, here it is with the Layout field set to Web and the Medium field set to default. The title is blue. When you generate the output with the default medium, all topic titles will be blue.
Change the Layout field to print and Flare automatically changes the Medium to print. When you generate the output using the print medium, all topic titles will be black.
There’s much more that you can do with mediums but this overview should have given you some ideas of how they can enhance Flare’s single sourcing power.
Neil Perlin is MadCap-Certified for Flare and is a long-time consultant, troubleshooter, and trainer for the tool, going back to MadCap’s founding in 2004. He also has years of experience with older tools like RoboHelp and Doc-To-Help and now defunct tools like ForeHelp. He is also a certified app developer, trainer, and consultant for the ViziApps app development platform. You can reach him at email@example.com and at NeilEric on Twitter.
With traditional Conditional Build Expressions you choose to exclude specific content from your output. Once you generate the output, content is included or excluded from the output. If you use build tags to target multiple audiences, you have to create an output for every audience. Enter Dynamic Filters: With dynamic filters readers dynamically switch the information they want to see.
In the image above there are four holiday destinations in different countries. No country is selected in the Filter by area at the left so the reader sees all of the available content. If the reader selects US, only the content for the US (Mesa Verde, CO) is shown.
With Dynamic Filters you can create a single output where users themselves decide which content they need. You can use this to group content by user role, by module, or by locale.
Add Dynamic Filter to Output
Tag the content in RoboHelp.
Go to the Output tab and select your Responsive HTML5 Single Source Layout.
Select Use Dynamic Content Filter in the output.
Click Customize to open the Dynamic Content Filter dialog box.
From the Define area, click Add criteria button to open theTags and Expressions dialog box. (The Add criteria button is the second icon from the left.)
Select the tags and expressions you want to include as a filter.
Click the OK button.
Click Save to close the Dynamic Content Filter dialog box.
A project can easily contain thousands of topics. When you generate a layout, all of the topics are generated. But what if you want to exclude several topics from being generated? Using Conditional Build tags, you can mark topics or topic content. When the time comes to generate, you can choose to create conditions that control which tagged content is generated. Using conditions, you can maintain one large project but generate multiple layouts; each layout can have unique content. Content that is excluded from a layout is not seen by your users.
Tagged content appears in RoboHelp 11 and earlier as text with diagonal lines (first image below). In RoboHelp 2015 tagged content appears with an overline. The overline makes it much easier to read the content and see which content is tagged.
The downside of tagged content in RoboHelp 11 and earlier is that you can only create Conditional Build Expressions that show which tags are excluded. A Conditional Build Expression is a list of tags to exclude from your output. These expressions can get confusing because it is not always clear which tags to exclude for which situation. For example, a company has two divisions: East and West coast. Based on the name of the tag below, will the tag exclude content from the East coast or the West coast?
With RoboHelp 2015 you use common sense names to easily distinguish which Conditional Build Expression you need in which situation.
To create a Named Conditional Build Expression, choose Project > Pods > Conditional Build Tag and then click Create a new build expression.
The Define Conditional Build Expression dialog opens. Double-click a tag to exclude the tag from the output and then click Save.
Name the expression and click OK.
If you have existing Conditional Build Expressions, you can easily change their names. Open the Conditional Build Tags pod (choose Project > Pods > Conditional Build Tag).
Click Create a new build expression.
From the Define Conditional Build Expression dialog box, select an expression from the Expressions drop-down menu.
Adobe released RoboHelp 2015 last week, a major upgrade sporting several enhancements. This week we take a first look at some of the big changes.
Ribbon Based Interface
The menu has been redesigned to make RoboHelp easier to use. Options are sensibly arranged and menu inconsistencies have been cleaned up. Lesser known features like search synonyms are much easier to find and use.
Small improvements, such as working with tables, make editing content much easier.
One of my favorites is the Locate Item tool. Open a topic and select an image or a Captivate movie. Click the Locate Item tool and the item will be highlighted in the Project Manager.
Skins and Layouts
RoboHelp 2015 includes new WebHelp skins and Responsive HTML5 layouts. The WebHelp skins are clean and modern. Both WebHelp and Responsive HTML5 support Right-to-Left languages. Though for WebHelp you will have to use one of the six new skins.
The Responsive HTML5 Layouts have more customization options. It is now possible to choose which panes to include in the output, just as with WebHelp. The layouts have Facebook share and Twitter buttons included as well.
Named Conditions: Sensible names for Conditional Build Expressions.
Dynamic filters: Conditional Build Tags on steroids. Dynamically switch Conditional Build Expressions in your output for fine grained control.
Improved search results: Control the topic preview text in search results.
Mobile App output: Create a mobile app without any coding.
Right-to-Left: Output for right-to-left languages.
Find and Replace: The Find and Replace pod has new powerful features.
Scalable video: Adobe Captivate videos scale in Responsive HTML5 output.
I've mentioned what I consider to be the most important enhancements in RoboHelp 2015. Stay tuned for articles on each of these enhancements in the weeks to come.
I've previously taught you how to create links between Merged HTML Help projects. This time, let's tackle merged WebHelp. Merging WebHelp differs from merging HTML Help in that you select the RoboHelp project to merge instead of the output.
Prepare a Master Project
Open the master project's table of contents and click New Merged Project.
On the FlashHelp/WebHelp/Multiscreen/Adobe AIR tab, click the Browse button and open the RoboHelp project you want to merge.
Click the OK button to merge the project. (The child project will appear in the master project's TOC.)
Save your project and generate your master project.
Generate Merged Projects
Once you've created the master project, you need to generate the merged projects to the correct folder in the master project's output folder.
When you generated the master project, RoboHelp created the following folder structure:
For every child project, place the WebHelp output into the mergedProjects\<project name> folder. (Meaning that the child project called Child 1 has to be placed in the folder WebHelp\mergedProjects\Child 1.)
Once you generate all child projects to the correct location, open the master project output to see the results:
When you create a list, there are several list styles you can use in RoboHelp: bullets, squares, lowercase alphabet, and numbers. But RoboHelp brings one more great feature: you can use images instead of bullets.
Create a List Style with Custom Images
On the Project Manager pod, double-click your style sheet to open the Styles dialog box.
Right-click List and choose New.
Enter a name for the list style and press [enter].
Click the Create a bulleted list button.
Select the list images option.
Click the browse button to open the Image dialog box.
Select the image you want to use as a bullet and click OK.
Then click the OK button to save your changes.
Apply an Image List Style
Open or create a topic, and then create a regular bulleted list.
Select the list.
Right-click and choose Bullets and Numbering.
Go to the Custom tab and select your list style in the left section.
I have previously taught you how to embed YouTube videos in a RoboHelp project. While immensely popular, YouTube is not the only video site. This week, let's focus on embedding videos located on the Vimeo website.
First, access the Vimeo site, locate the video you'd like to use, and then click the Share button located on the video.
Next, go to the Embed field and copy the embed code.
Now that you've got the embed code copied, the rest of the work occurs in RoboHelp. Go ahead and open a RoboHelp topic, switch to HTML mode, and then paste the embed code in the topic as shown below.
Lastly, you'll need to edit the HTML just a bit. In the src attribute, type http: in front of the url.
Save the topic, generate the layout, and open the topic in your browser to see the embedded video.
Note: Vimeo includes a hyperlink with a description below the video. Retain this link unless you have the correct license for removing it.
Sub-numbering is important for many procedures and legal documents. You simply can't have sub numbering in RoboHelp without multilevel lists, unless you want to manually type in all sub-numbers. But with multilevel lists, you control this behavior right from the style sheet!
To add sub-numbering to a Multilevel List, first Create a multilevel list. Then, on the Project Manager pod, double-click your style sheet to open the Styles dialog box.
In the Styles dialog box, select your multilevel list. From the Apply Formatting To drop-down menu, choose a level that will use the sub-numbers.
Click in the Edit Style field and, from the Insert Level drop-down menu, choose 1.
Click OK to close the Styles dialog and save your changes.
And that's it. From this point forward, any of your multilevel lists can include sub-numbering (as shown in the image below):
One of the hottest new features introduced in Adobe RoboHelp 11 is Responsive HTML5 layouts. The Responsive HTML5 output dynamically changes the way the content is presented based on the device the reader is using. For example, while a reader on a desktop might see a traditional table of contents on the right side of the page, someone using a smart phone will see a table of contents that is optimized for touch:
Responsive HTML5 output uses Screen Layouts, the skins for HTML5 output. With these skins you can control how your output will look for your users.
If you have used Responsive HTML5 before, you may have seen the following layout in the gallery:
The image above shows the Responsive Layout as it was delivered when RoboHelp 11 was released. You'll be happy to know that Adobe released an update of this layout with the RoboHelp 11.0.1 patch.However, even if you have installed the patch you may still be using the old layout.
A few weeks ago I showed you how you can use master pages to control the headers and footers of a generated Microsoft Word document. But setting a single header and footer for your entire Word document may not be what you need. The Table of Contents may need a different header and footer than the actual content. Perhaps the even and odd pages require different headers and footers. With RoboHelp 11 you can use different master pages for different sections of your Microsoft Word output.
After you have created multiple master pages, you assign these master pages to different sections of the document:
Open the Single Source Layouts pod (View > Pods > Single Source Layouts).
Double-click a Printed Documentation layout to open the Print Document options.
Click Multiple Header/Footer to open the configuration dialog box.
Select a section in the left side of the popup.
From the First Page drop-down menu, choose a master page.
From the Even Pages and Odd Pages drop-down menus, choose a master page.
Repeat these steps for all of the sections of the document.
Click OK to return to Print Document options.
Click Save and Generate to create a Microsoft Word document.