Adobe AIR layout

You use the Adobe AIR layout to generate Help as an Adobe AIR application, browser-based Help (with the theme and skin of an Adobe AIR application), or a packaged data file that can be viewed in an AIR Help viewer.

Adobe AIR is a cross-platform runtime for building and deploying applications that connect the desktop to the web.

For a list of benefits of generating output in the Adobe AIR layout, see About output types.

For more information about Help applications using Adobe AIR, see

Configure the Adobe AIR layout

You configure the Adobe AIR layout from the Adobe AIR option in the Single Source Layouts pod. In the Adobe AIR dialog box, you can select the output type, configure the installer settings, and define how the Help content is presented to the users.

 Select Adobe AIR from the Single Source Layouts pod and do one of the following:
  • Right-click and select Properties from the context menu.

  • Select Edit > Properties.

Select Help output

You can select one of the four output options for Adobe AIR:
 In the General tab of the Adobe AIR dialog box, select the output type:
Adobe AIR Application
Generates Adobe AIR output as embedded Help. The Help system is created as a single AIR application installer. You can install the AIR application locally or distribute it to your users. Users can update their installed Help system based on Adobe AIR whenever an update is available on the web. For more information about autoupdates, see the AutoUpdating section in the Adobe AIR Help article by Peter Grainge.
Note: You need JRE 1.6 or higher installed on your system to install the Adobe AIR application.

Browser Based Help
Generates browser-based Help as an Adobe Flex application that you can use as online or embedded Help. You can upload this output to the server with specific configurations. Users can view this Help using a browser with Adobe Flash plug-in 9.0 or later installed.
Note: Browser-based Help does not support Adobe AIR application features such as commenting, favorites, resources, RSS, and auto-update.

AIR Application And Browser Based Help
Generates the Help system in two formats simultaneously: Adobe AIR application and browser-based Help. You can view the AIR application after installing it on your computer. You can view the browser-based Help by uploading it to a server. The two Help systems are independent of each other.

Help Content Only
Generates the Help system as a data file (RHA) that you can view in a Help viewer. Use the Help Viewer wizard in RoboHelp to create a Help viewer. To view multiple files in a single view, you can write the location of all those files in a HelpConfig file.
Note: For the syntax of the HelpConfig file, see Create and locate a Help configuration file

Configure Help settings

 In the General tab of the Adobe AIR dialog box, set the following.
Output Location of AIR File
Click Browse to select a folder for the Help application installer (AIR file) and specify a name. By default, RoboHelp names the Help application installer by appending .air to your project name.

Output Location of Start Page (Browser-based Help Only)
Specify the first page to display in browser-based Help.

Help Title
Specify a title for your Help application.

Specify a version number for the generated Help application. Typically, you set 1.0 as the version number for the initial release of your Help application, and increment the version number for subsequent releases. The incremental version numbers help your users identify updated Help content in their local installations.

Help ID
Specify a unique identifier for the Help application. The Help ID can be alphanumeric and include periods and hyphens.
Note: When you deliver updated Help, change only the version number. The installed AIR Help uses the combination of Help ID and Version to identify whether a later version of Help is available.

Configure content

You configure the presentation of content in the Help application.
 In the Content tab of the Adobe AIR dialog box, set the following:
Conditional Build Expression
Specify a conditional build expression to apply to the output. See Conditional build tag expressions.

Table Of Contents
Select the TOC to be displayed in the generated Help. See TOCs.

Select the index to be displayed in the generated Help. See Indexes.

Select the glossary to be displayed in the generated Help. See Glossaries.

Variable Set
Select a variable set to override the default variable set in the generated Help. See User-defined variables.

Default Topic
The topic that appears when Help opens. By default, the first topic in the table of contents is the default topic.

Override Settings
Use the Apply To All Topics option to specify whether to apply a master page or a CSS to all the topics. If you do not select the Apply To All option, the master pages associated with individual topics become effective. If no master pages are applied to topics, they are generated as is. See Applying a master page or CSS at the time of generation

Configure the Help application installer

You configure the settings for the Help application installer.

 In the General tab of the Adobe AIR dialog box, set the following under the Installer Settings group:
Digital Certificate
A digital signature ensures that the Help system (or its updates) has not been altered or corrupted since it was created. All Adobe AIR applications require a digital signature and can't be installed without one. If your organization has purchased one from a certificate authority, click Browse to select it. Otherwise, click Create to create a self-signed (and reusable) certificate. See Create a self-signed digital certificate.

Enter the password assigned to the digital certificate.

Include Timestamp
Select to include a timestamp on the digital certificate. The timestamp provides information on how long the certificate is valid.

Program Menu Folder
Specify the program menu folder name. For example, on Windows, the string that you specify is appended to form the path Start > Programs > [program menu folder name] > [Help system title].

Set the Help viewer window and branding options

Appearance settings define the appearance for the Help viewer window.

 In the Adobe AIR dialog box, select the Template group and set the following:
Select a template from the pop-up menu.

Select a skin from the pop-up menu.

Width And Height
Set the width and height of the Help window.

Specify the entity that owns the copyright of the Help application. This entity is usually the name of the company publishing the Help content.

Specify Branding options
Click Select to choose PNG images for your Help system based on Adobe AIR. You can select different icons for the desktop shortcut, About dialog box, title bar, and taskbar. You can also display your copyright information or any brand-related information in the status bar of the Help application.

Template for the Help application

Choose the template that you want to use for your Help application. You can select one of the following three templates:
Note: Templates are not applicable if you selected the Help Content Only output type.
Classic Help
The Classic Help template divides the page into a top pane, left pane, and a content pane.

Multi Tab Accordion
The Multi Tab Accordion template divides the page into a top pane, left pane, and a content pane.

Uni Pane
The Uni Pane template divides the page into a top pane and a content pane.

All the templates have different appearance and navigation options. They also have some common features. These features are support for TOC, index, glossary, search, print, and the Content pane. The following table shows the differences among three types of templates:


Classic Help

Multi Tab Accordion

Uni Pane

How do I

See Browse sequences.








Search results that show context




Showing/hiding the left pane




Viewing status bar




Note: Press F11 to show or hide the left and top panes.
You can choose any of the templates to use in the Help system and preview it before generating it.
Note: You can customize a template. By default, all the available options for content display and navigation in a template are selected.

Configure content presentation

You configure how the Help application behaves when a user uses it.
 In the Adobe AIR dialog box, select the View group, and set the following:
Enable Highlight Search Results
Select to enable highlighting of search results. Topics that match the search criteria appear with the search term highlighted. Click the Text pop-up menu to set the highlight color.

Enable Substring Search
Select to have search results include not only the exact search string but also text in which the string is embedded. For example, a search for “log” returns topics containing the words “catalog” and “logarithm.” A substring search takes longer than a whole-string search.

Show Context In Search Results
Select to have the search results displayed along with the first few lines of the topic.

Enable Commenting
Select to enable commenting. Click Browse to choose the local network folder where the reviewers' comments will be stored.

Enable commenting before you send the Help application for review so that reviewers can add comments to topics that they can exchange among their peers. See Start a shared review.

Click Add to add the location of Mac OS and Linux systems to synchronize comments.

Enable Auto Update
Enables the AIR application to synchronize the AIR file installed on a desktop with the current content on the network drive or an HTTP server location. Do one of the following:
Content updates within your network
Select File from the Type menu and click Browse to select the folder and file with the content updates.

Content updates outside your network
Select HTTP from the Type menu and enter the URL of the XML file that contains the updates to the Help contents.

The Auto-update feature helps your users update the Help application whenever an update is available. You can send the auto-update in the form of an XML file or host it on a web server. See Hosting updates for AIR Help.

Click to specify Mac OS and Linux locations to update the installed Help if you are hosting the XML file on a local or network drive.

Add Resources
Select and click the Add tab to add external links that appear in the Favorites group in the Help application.

You can add resources such as technical support pages, knowledgebase articles, RSS feeds, and related websites.

Show Online Content
Specify a URL from where the viewer picks up the online Help. This option is applicable only if you select the output type as Adobe AIR Application or AIR Application And Browser Based Help.

Configure a server to host browser-based Help

You can directly upload the generated browser-based Help to a server. Consult your system administrator for information about which server to use.

Note: Server configuration is not applicable if your output type is Adobe AIR Application.
  1. Select Server in the Adobe AIR dialog box.

  2. Click New. Specify the following options in the New Destination dialog box:
    Descriptive Name
    Name for the server to publish the Help system to. For example, if you are publishing a Help system for internal review, enter “Internal Review Server.”

    Connection Protocols
    Select the protocol for connecting to the server. Select FTP, HTTP, or File System.
    These are the FTP server connection details:
    Enter the host name of the FTP server.

    Enter the port number. Typically, FTP connections use the default port, 21.

    User ID and Password
    If your FTP server requires user authentication, enter the user ID and password that your system administrator provided for you.

    Select Anonymous if your FTP server allows anonymous FTP. You do not require a user ID and password for connecting to the FTP server.

    Specify these details for the HTTP server connection:

    Host Name
    Enter the host name of the server.

    Server Directory
    Enter the directory on the HTTP server to place the Help system contents. Some HTTP servers require a trailing slash (/) at the end of the path.

    Select File System and enter the destination path if you have access to a network path where you can directly upload your Help system contents.

  3. Set the following options:

    Check For Deleted Files
    Check for files that have been deleted from the destination.

    Prompt Before Overwriting Files
    Receive a warning before overwriting files on the server.

    Republish All
    Republish all files to the destination, overwriting existing files on the server.
    Note: If you are setting options for a master project, and a copy of the subproject is in the output folder, ensure that Republish All is not selected.

  4. To publish Help, click Finish.


  • For merged Help systems, publish individual projects to the same location. Do not use Republish All in the master project.

  • Set layout options once and automatically generate the primary layout by selecting the Generate button.

  • Generate or publish multiple layouts in a batch.

Create a self-signed digital certificate

You can create a digital certificate to test or privately distribute the Adobe AIR Help application. However, if you distribute Help through your website, be sure to procure a digital certificate from a certificate authority (CA), such as Thawte or VeriSign. Use the digital certificate to sign the Help system.

Digital certificates from certificate authorities can be verified through the web. They assure end-users that the Help application installer is genuine and free from malware. See for more information.
  1. Click Create near the Digital Certificate label.

  2. In the Create Self-Signed Digital Certificate dialog box, enter the following details:
    Publisher Name
    Specify the name of the publisher. Usually, it is the name of your company. If you are creating a Help application based on Adobe AIR for another company, specify the name of your client. Optionally, you can specify the organizational unit and organization name.

    Select the country of the publisher.

    Select the encryption standard for the digital certificate. The 2048-RSA standard provides stronger encryption than the 1024-RSA standard.

    Save As
    Click Browse to select a folder and save the digital certificate that you created. Self-signed digital certificates are saved with a .p12 extension.