RE: RoboHelp Printed Documentation

Subject: RE: RoboHelp Printed Documentation
From: "Sarah Blake" <Sarah -dot- Blake -at- microfocus -dot- com>
To: "Gina Jones" <gina -dot- techwriter -at- gmail -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2008 10:34:22 +0100

> I'm working on a case for a client to integrate their printed
> content into their help project and generate multiple outputs. One of
> things they are asking for is examples of other companies out there
who are
> using RoboHelp or another authoring tool the same way. Do any of you
do this
> and if so, can you provide generic information such as what types of
> you generate, etc?

I used to do this at my last company. We originally had the
documentation in RoboHelp, then a client requested printed
documentation, and I'm /far/ too lazy to keep two doc sets updated in
tandem! So I essentially kept the source text in RoboHelp HTML (X5) and
used that to generate both WebHelp and Word docs (which I PDFed).

As I recall, the major issues were:

- Getting all the conditional text appropriately tagged, so that, for
example, 'related links' sections didn't appear in the Word versions.
- Sorting out the Word template used for conversion; there were a lot of
niggly little issues I had to deal with as they came up.
- Getting RH styles properly mapped to Word styles - see above. This
will be a lot easier if you can alter the style guides for both help and
docs to make them correspond better than mine did!
- Headers and footers: if you don't want RH's default footers, you'll
have to fix 'em yourself manually afterwards.
- Page references: forget it.
- Outline numbered lists: I can't remember what was wrong with them, but
I do remember that I was forever fixing them.
- Tables: needed reformatting.
- RH suddenly complaining that my beautiful, painstakingly-created Word
template was corrupt. Oh, how I laughed.

It would take me about two hours to fix up the 250-page Word doc that RH
generated, but I suspect that time could be cut somewhat with clever use
of Word macros. For minor changes close to the ship date I'd just make
the changes in two places at once and suck up the duplicated effort.

In short: it wasn't perfect, but it was /way/ better than no
single-sourcing at all.

Sarah Blake
Senior Technical Author
Micro Focus

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RoboHelp Printed Documentation: From: Gina Jones

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