Optimizing Word documents for online output
If you are importing Word documents that have been published
in printed or online format, consider the following before linking
or importing them into RoboHelp projects.
- Determine the best mapping of Word heading styles to RoboHelp
styles so that you can achieve automatic pagination (splitting the document
into topics) based on heading styles. If your document does not employ
hierarchical heading styles, apply them before conversion. For example, you
can apply Heading 1 style to standalone articles in your Word document. Then
map this style to a similar RoboHelp style and define pagination
to create an HTML topic for each Heading 1 style. See Pagination and topic naming in converted Word files.
- Inline styles and style overrides
- You can convert inline styles to CSS styles in RoboHelp.
However, converting inline styles to CSS styles can lead to numerous styles
that share the same formatting. See Converting Word styles to RoboHelp styles.
- Header and footer information
- RoboHelp can convert headers and footers. However, to ensure
consistency across your topics, you can define a master page that
contains the required header and footer information. By using master
pages, you can also suppress page numbers in headers and footers. Convert headers and footers in Word documents.
- Chapter versus topic
- In printed documentation, the chapter is the logical and physical
unit for grouping content. In online Help, the organizational unit
is the topic, and users see topics one at a time. Although you can
group the content into folders that expand when the user navigates
the table of contents, only one topic appears on the screen at a
time. Try to provide comprehensive information without adding redundancy
by grouping related topics. See Pagination and topic naming in converted Word files.
- As you import Word documents, you can also import the Word
TOC into the RoboHelp TOC. You can define the topic hierarchy and
represent that hierarchy in the RoboHelp TOC. See Importing a Word TOC, index, and glossary.
- Context sensitivity
- In online Help formats, you can link specific topics to dialog boxes
and other elements that users encounter in the application workflow.
You can assign map IDs to topics in RoboHelp. However, you can also
assign context-sensitive Help markers in Word documents using custom
footnote entries. RoboHelp reads these footnote entries and assigns
the map IDs to the generated topics. Ensure that topics in the source
Word document are not overly fragmented. A topic must contain sufficient
information to make sense as a standalone unit.
if a short task doesn’t make sense without some introductory conceptual
information, don’t display that task as a standalone topic. To avoid overly
fragmented content, assign context-sensitive Help markers to topics
at a higher level. In this way, the generated Help topic can contain
the concept, the task, and any relevant graphics. See Convert context-sensitive Help markers in Word to map IDs.