Synchronizing linked Word documents with RoboHelp projects

After you import or link Word documents to your RoboHelp project, you generate Help topics based on the project settings. When you import a Word document into a RoboHelp project, the topics are generated immediately and appear in the Project Manager pod. However, when you link a Word document to a RoboHelp project, the topics are not generated until you explicitly generate them. Because RoboHelp maintains a live link with the linked Word document, you can update a linked Word document if the source document or conversion settings in the RoboHelp project change. Icons of the project files in the Project Manager pod indicate whether the documents are in sync with the RoboHelp topics.

Update the topics generated from linked Word documents in the following scenarios:

  • Source Word documents changed after you added or linked them to the RoboHelp project.

  • You changed the pagination settings in the RoboHelp project.

  • You changed the styles in the RoboHelp project and want to revert them to as in the FrameMaker document.

  • You updated the CSS in the RoboHelp project.

If you imported documents into the project, the Project Manager pod does not indicate the synchronization status. If either the Word documents or the conversion settings change, reimport the Word documents and overwrite the RoboHelp topics already generated. When you update the documents, RoboHelp updates the converted HTML topics, TOC, index, and glossary.

Word document synchronization status indicators

The following table shows the different status indicators that appear on the Project Manager pod in RoboHelp for all linked Word documents.

Icon

Description

Source Word document that was linked by reference missing. The source document that you have linked to the RoboHelp project is moved to another folder, renamed, or deleted. Locate the source document and link to the new location.

Source Word document that was linked by copy into the project is missing, renamed, or moved to another folder. Locate the source document and link to the new location.

Source Word document that was linked by reference is out of sync because of changes in the source document. Update the document.

Source Word document that was linked by copy into the project is out of sync because of changes in the source document. Update the document.

Source Word document linked by reference is out of sync because of changes in the RoboHelp conversion settings. Update the document.

Source Word document linked by copy into the project is out of sync because of changes in the RoboHelp conversion settings. Update the document.

Source Word document linked by reference and generated topics are in sync.

Source Word document linked by copy into the project and generated topics are in sync.

Generate topics from linked Word documents

Generating Help topics from linked Word documents is a one-time activity. After you generate Help topics, you can update them whenever the source document or conversion settings change.

 Right-click the linked Word document in the Project Manager pod, and select Update > Generate.

Update topics generated from linked Word documents

RoboHelp does not update linked documents automatically when you link Word documents to a RoboHelp project. You define the conversion settings, including style mapping and pagination, and then generate the topics. Select options to update a linked document manually.

 From the Project Manager pod, right-click a Word document, select Update, and select one of the following:
Generate
Generates HTML topics from the linked Word document for the first time. After the topics are generated, the option changes to Update.

Update
Updates topics generated from the selected Word document. Only the topics that have changed are updated.

Update All
Updates all topics generated from all linked documents including all Word and FrameMaker documents. Because all documents are updated, including those that you edited in RoboHelp, exercise caution when you use the Update All option.

Force Update
Overwrites the current set of topics generated from the selected Word document. Use this option to force an update of the topics generated from the linked Word document after you edit the source in Microsoft Word. This option updates all topics including those that haven’t changed.

Force Update All
Updates all linked documents, including Word and FrameMaker documents, and overwrites all generated topics.

Preserve changes to a topic during an update

Normally, when you update a linked document, all topics generated from it are updated, overwriting any other changes you made in the generated topics. However, you can selectively preserve changes in generated topics and retain your edits.
  1. Right-click the linked document in the Project Manager pod and select Properties.

  2. In the Word Document Settings dialog box, select File Update Settings tab.

  3. On the left column, select the files in which you want to preserve changes during update and click OK.

Set alert when editing generated topics

You can set RoboHelp to alert you when you make changes to topics generated from linked documents. When you save the changes to such topics, RoboHelp alerts you that the changes would be lost when the linked documents are updated.
  1. Select Tools > Options.

  2. In the General tab, select Show Alert On Modification Of Auto Generated Topics From Linked Documents and click OK.

Mark topic edits for preservation

If you enabled the alerts when saving changes to generated topics, you can mark the topic edits for preservation during an update. Topics marked for preservation during updates are automatically added to the list of preserved topics in the File Update Settings dialog box.
  1. Edit a generated topic and save the changes.

  2. In the alert message that appears, select Preserve Modifications To This File and click OK.

Delete a generated topic

When you delete a generated topic, you have two options. You can regenerate the deleted topic when you update the linked Word document or completely remove the deleted topic from your project. By default, RoboHelp regenerates the deleted topic when you update the Word document.
  1. In the Project Manager pod, expand the linked Word document to display the topics generated from it.

  2. Right-click the topic that you want to delete, and select Delete.

  3. Do one of the following:
    • Click OK to delete the topic from the project permanently. The deleted topic is not regenerated when you update the Word document.

    • Select Generate This File On Next Update and click OK to delete the topic. When you update the Word document, the deleted topic is generated again.

Regenerate a deleted topic

If you delete a topic generated from a linked Word document, the topic is removed from the project. However, you can regenerate topics deleted from a linked document.

  1. Right-click the linked Word document in the Project Manager pod and select Properties.

  2. In the Word Document Settings dialog box, select File Update Settings tab.

  3. On the right column, select the deleted files that you want to retrieve and click OK.

  4. Update the Word document.

Edit a linked Word document

You can edit linked Word documents directly in Microsoft Word.

  1. Right-click a document and select Edit.

  2. Edit the Word document in Microsoft Word.

  3. Click Save. The modified Word document now appears in the Project Manager pod with a different icon. This icon indicates that the source content is now out of sync with the topics generated from the linked Word document.
    Note: Force an update of the document after you edit the source in Microsoft Word.

Delete a linked Word document

You can directly delete documents linked by copy from the Project Files folder, and you can delete the references of the documents linked by reference.

 Right-click a document and select Delete.

When you delete a linked file, all its associated documents, such as CSS, images, baggage files, and multimedia files, are also deleted.

Notes:

  • If a referenced file is moved to a different location, its icon changes. You can restore the link to the Word document by pointing to its new location.

  • Do not rename files generated after linking a Word document.

  • You cannot drag the generated topics outside the parent Microsoft Word document folder to some other location in the Project Manager pod.

Restore a link to a missing or renamed Word document

If any of the linked Word documents are moved or renamed, RoboHelp displays a missing link icon for the linked document in the Project Manager pod. You can restore the link to a moved or renamed file and have all the topics already generated from the document retained in the project.
  1. In the Project Manager pod, right-click the Word document that has the missing link icon.

  2. Select Restore Link To Word File, and browse to select the new location of the missing file.