RE: Single Sourcing With RoboHELP

Subject: RE: Single Sourcing With RoboHELP
From: "David Knopf" <david -at- knopf -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 07:37:21 -0800

Bruce Cox wrote:

| I'm soon to begin work documentating a product that requires
| online help,
| along with user and reference guides. I see that RoboHELP
| includes a single
| sourcing feature that purportedly allows you to create
| printed docs from the
| various RoboHELP files.
| I'm wondering if anybody has anybody has had success with
| this method or if
| there is a better way to go. I expect to be using the latest
| versions of
| both RoboHELP and Word. Thanks,

RoboHelp does not really support single sourcing when one of the target
output formats is printed documentation (or PDFs). What RoboHelp does
allow you to do is *export* the content you've written RoboHelp to a
Word .doc file. You can then adjust, edit, reformat, and tweak this .doc
file as necessary to produce your printed documentation. The post-export
adjustments can take a considerable amount of time if you have
significant amount of content.

This is often described as single sourcing, but it is not. As soon as
you export your Help content to Word, you have created a second set of
source documents (one in RoboHelp for your online Help, and the other in
Word for your printed documentation). When there is an update to your
product and you need to update the online Help and printed
documentation, you have two choices: 1) make all the changes both in
your RoboHelp project and in your long-ago exported .doc file; or 2)
make all the changes only in RoboHelp and then re-export and
re-adjust/edit/format/tweak to produce your updated printed

We use RoboHelp a lot and consider an excellent tool for online Help
authoring. For true single source projects, however, we generally use
FrameMaker and WebWorks Publisher. I am told that Author-It also
supports true single sourcing, but I've not had the chance to put this
tool through its paces and therefore can't comment on how well it works.


David Knopf (mailto:david -at- knopf -dot- com)
Knopf Online (
Tel: 415.550.8367

RoboHelp MVP & Certified RoboHelp Instructor
WebWorks Publisher Certified Trainer
Member, JavaHelp 2.0 Expert Group
Member, RoboHelp Community Advisory Board
Co-moderator, HATT & wwp-users

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Single Sourcing With RoboHELP: From: Bruce Cox

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