RoboHelp 2019 - PDF Output

There are some big changes in the generation of printed documents, the key one being you don't need to have Microsoft Word installed on your computer.

In Classic versions of RoboHelp Microsoft Word was required as part of the process of creating a PDF file, that is no longer a requirement.

Creating a PDF Output

Click Output > Output Settings the first time you generate so that you can configure your PDF preset as required. After the preset is configured, you can either go back there next time or you can click the Quick Generate icon top right in RoboHelp.

The icons above the list of presets allow you to generate an output, view it or create further outputs.

PDF files can be created in two ways:-

  • If the PDF will not require any editing after generation, you can use the PDF preset.
  • If you need to make any changes such as where page breaks occur, then use the Word (DOCX) Output first. After editing, you can generate your PDF from there using any PDF generator.

Preset Configuration

The settings appear in five groups as below.


Variables can be included in the Title. Place the cursor where you want the variable and press CTRL + 1.

The language should be set for the Table of Contents, Index and Glossary page.

You can select a script to run after the PDF has been generated.


Most of the options here are obvious but be aware of a change from Classic versions. Previously in all versions of RoboHelp, the content has been limited by design to just those topics in the print layout. You can still work that way if you prefer by creating a Print specific TOC but note the Include All Referenced Topics option. Select that and topics that are not in the TOC but do have links from topics in the TOC will also get included.

Classic versions of RoboHelp had an option to limit the depth of the TOC in printed outputs. If you want a limited depth, set up a TOC with the required number of levels.

The cover page needs to be an HTM file. If your cover page is in DOCX format, save that as a Web Page in Word.


Here you have various options.

Same Appearance as Online with no Header or Footer

If you want the printed output to simply contain the topics using the came CSS as the online help with no header or footer, leave the Master Page field set to None and ignore the options on this page.

Different Fonts and/or a single Header and/or Footer

If you want your printed output to have different fonts and/or headers and footers, you need to create at least one master page. Link the master page to the required CSS and define what you want in the header/footer. The header and/or footer will then be applied to all pages of your PDF provided you leave the checkbox clear.

Instead of using your own master page, RoboHelp 2019 ships with an optimised PDF Master page. It is recommended that you use this. If you want different odd and even master pages, create a copy and name the pages to differentiate them.
If your project was created before Update 6 was released, create a new project and copy the PDF master page and CSS from there into your project.

The PDF master page is associated with a supplied pdf.css file to give you more control over the appearance. Double click the CSS file to open it in the editor where you will find many styles that you can edit to meet your own requirements. The appearance of the TOC can be defined up to six levels.

Use of this CSS is recommended but you can copy the styles to your own CSS if required.

Multiple Headers and/or Footers

If you want different pages to have different headers and/or footers, then tick the checkbox. That will reveal the additional fields shown below with the Topics fields displayed.

If you are using the supplied PDF master page, it is suggested that you create copies of that and amend them as required.

Topics - First Page

Leave as None or select the master page to be used for the first page of the topic section.

If the same master page is to be used for all topics, tick the Apply To All Topics Pages checkbox. The Even Pages and Odd Pages fields will then be hidden.

Topics - Even Pages and Odd Pages

If different master pages are to be set for Even Pages and Odd Pages, leave the checkbox clear and select the required master pages.

TOC / Index and Glossary Sections

You can either click the Apply To All Sections button to apply the same settings to the other sections or you can click the dropdowns for each and apply the required settings.


Here you set up the page settings. Click the link icon if you want to apply different top, bottom, left or right margins.

The Limit TOC Depth field is now controlled by the TOC that you associate with the PDF.


You can create a Publish Location for this output. Typically that will be used to deliver it to developers. How this is set up is described in Publishing.

Generating the Output

Once you have defined the preset, click the generate icon.

Cancelling Generation

While an output is being generated, you can click the Cancel icon at any time.

Generation Errors

When you generate an output using Quick Generate, if it fails for any reason click the Error icon to access the log.

If you generated directly from the preset, you will get an error message. Right click the preset and click View Log.

Viewing the Output

Click the view icon on the Output Presets toolbar. RoboHelp can create a PDF but it does not install a reader unless it is part of Adobe's Technical Communication Suite. If you don't have a reader installed, you will need to download one.