What's covered?

This topic is for those small bits of information that don't warrant a topic by themselves but are lifesavers when you need them! I expect most will come from the RoboHelp Forums and the Credit column will tell you who posted it.

UPDATE 25 April 2021. I have reviewed this topic and removed Snippets that relate to very old versions of RoboHelp that will not be in general use. Most Snippets indicate if they are Classic or New UI specific.

About Snippets

The number of snippets had grown to the point where it was difficult to easily find items relevant to a problem. I have now split the snippets into the following categories.


Generating Outputs






Content Creation




Importing from Word




The Navigation Pane


Printed Documentation


Source Control


WebHelp (Rh Classic)


Frameless and Responsive Skins

1 - Generating Outputs

If an AIR Help link brought you here, that form of help has been deprecated. This section will now cover Snippets related to generating outputs from your presets.






01 Aug 2022

Peter Grainge

Error message: Warning: Skipped copying external file.

When generating an output, you may see one or more warnings such as the one below.

Skipped copying external file "path and filename"

It is not a warning to be ignored as it is telling you that a link in one of your topics is pointing to something that will not be in the output.

The link is to something on your local drive or a network drive and browsers will not allow access to them for security reasons. Users will get a Page Not Found warning, hence you need to fix the issue.

The warning is written as an absolute path but the link is written as a relative path so searching on the reported path will not find the link. It would be more helpful if the report stated the link as written and I have suggeted that to Adobe.

Meantime you have to search on the filename but that can give many false reports as you may have lots of links to the target, with only one that is wrong. Search on parts of the path as well.

The one thing you can be sure of is that somewhere in your project, there is a bad link and you do need to find it.


23 Sep 2022

Amber and Peter Grainge

Editing the Minitoc.

By default all the headings shown in the minitoc have the same font for all levels. It helps users if the entries are indented according to the heading level as shown in the topics in the RoboHelp Tour on my site, as shown in this example.

In most minitocs the headings shown start at H2. Click on that level in the skin editor to see the configuration options.

In the minitoc on my site the first level shown is item-level-2. That has no indentation.

You will see that the next level is indented. That has been achieved by going to Layout > Padding and applying a left margin of 24pt.

The colour applied should be set by going to the Font settings and applying the required colour. At the time of writing this though that is not working because of a bug. It will be fixed in a future version so check first. If it still does not work, there is an easy workaround.

Create a CSS file as below but with your colours. In the skin editor go to Layout > User Assets and add that CSS file.

.RH-LAYOUT-MINITOC-item-level-1 a { color: rgb(0, 84, 159); }
.RH-LAYOUT-MINITOC-item-level-2 a { color: rgb(0, 130, 235); }
.RH-LAYOUT-MINITOC-item-level-3 a { color: rgb(110, 110, 110); }

Note there is a little catch. In the RoboHelp Tour the minitoc only uses Item Levels 2, 3 and 4. In the CSS file you create the numbering applies to the levels used. Thus Level 2 in the skin editor is Level 1 in the CSS.


10 Feb 2022


GZ Files.

This is the information Adobe gave me on this subject.


Gzipped(.gz) compressed files are used to improve search performance by reducing the download time, hence reducing the overall time for search results.

Since compressed files are smaller in size they, load faster. However in order for this to have any effect both browser and web server have to be configured to use them. Most modern browsers are configured to always request compressed files (unless user has disabled it) so there is nothing much to be done by user, but the web server might or might not have enabled them so that must be checked.

Whenever a browser makes a request for a compressed file such assearch_db.js, the web server will first look for a file named search_db.js.gz if it is present then it will be served, otherwise the original file search_db.js will be served.

The amount of time the browser takes o decompress these files is negligible compared with the time it will take to download an uncompressed file. In the end RoboHelp can only generate these files, which it does for all javascript files, but it has to be hosted and enabled by end users.


There is reference to GZ files in this RoboHelp help topic.


17 Jan 2022


Guide users how to search.

By default the Search box shows "Search...". Add some text so that users can get exact matches only.

Open Labels in the Outputs tab and look for Frameless > SearchPlaceHolder and edit the default text.


30 Sep 2021


Change the colour of glossary definitions set to Expanding Text.

When you generate help with the Glossary Style set to Expanding Text, there is no obvious way to change the colour of the expanding text. What you need to do is go to the CSS editor and create a Character style "expanding-content and style that as required.


12 Aug 2021

Peter Grainge

In the 2019 New UI and above Word output, only top level sections appear in the TOC

Classic had an checkbox for HTML Maintain Heading Levels.

If not checked the TOC looked correct but there was a problem in the body. In a simple TOC with just two levels of books, the second level book would have Heading 2 applied. Assuming the topics within that book started with Heading 1, that would get relegated to Heading 3 and all other headings in the topic would also get relegated. That could make a mess of the body of the document.

If checked the topics remained as designed but in the TOC the topic title would be Heading 1 while the book it was within would be Heading 2 or lower.

Neither were ideal. In the new UI versions Books have become Sections on the basis that physical books have chapters, there is now one book with many sections.

When creating the book TOC in RoboHelp you can still have lower level sections but when you generate onlt the top level section titles will appear in the Word. The topics in lower level sections will become part of the previous top level section.

A workaround to consider is to set all top level sections to CAPS and then move the lower level sections to become top level sections but leaving them in mixed case. That will produce a TOC in Word with all the section names.


04 Jul 2021


List numbering problems in Firefox.

UPDATE This issue was fixed in Update 6. Apply any later update and you should not see this problem.

If you apply Restart Numbering in a list you will see incorrect numbering in Firefox. This follows a change in how Mozilla interpret the counter-reset property.

The problem is more likely to be seen where Auto Numbering is applied to a paragraph or heading style but it does also affect ordered (numbered) lists.

Previously if you applied Restart Numbering, every subsequent item in the list would also change. Following the change in how Mozilla interprets the counter-reset property it will only affect the list item to which it has been applied. Edge and Chrome continue to support the generally accepted interpretation.

Fortunately there is a solution. Use RoboHelp's Find and Replace to search for "counter-reset" and replace it with "counter-set".

You will need to select Find in Source View. The backup settings are up to you. Personally I would create a backup of the whole project and then deselect those options to avoid having to remove the backup files later.


01 Jul 2021

Peter Grainge

Generation fails.

Generation can fail for various reasons so this is a general guide as to what to do.

View the Log

Right click the preset and select View Log. That should tell you where the problem is.

A common warning is Skipped Copying External File. Somewhere in your topics there is a link to a topic that is not in the project. Often that will be because someone has created a link to a topic in another project by mistake or to an output file instead of the source file.

Create a small TOC

Create a TOC with just one very simple topic and generate using that. If that works it suggests the problem is one of your topics. See the next item.

Divide and Conquer

Create two copies of the TOC used for the failing preset. Delete different halves of the content and generate using those TOCs. If one works and the other fails, you know where the problem is. Keeping repeating the process until you narrow it down to the offending topic(s).

Back to top

2 - Browsers

The Snippets that were here related to old versions of RoboHelp no longer in general use.

Back to top

3 - CHMs

The CHM output is less popular than it was and the compiler that has to be used was last updated by Microsoft in 2004. Nonetheless it suits some uses so these Snippet remain available.






22 Jan 2022


CHM Search not working.

Enter "Search CHM" in the RoboHelp forum and there are many pages of threads listed.

First you need MJ's Diagnostics - Helpware Wiki - KB ( That will report any missing DLLs and there is an option to re-register them.

You may also need to reinstall the Microsoft Help Compiler. Unfortunately that is no long available from Microsoft but at the time of creating this Snippet, it can be downloaded from two locations, maybe more.


Click here and when you land on that page there is a download link in Step 1.

The Web Archive

Click Here


24 Jan 2016

Eager Beager

Window caption displays as HTML Help, not the defined caption.

For localized versions of HTML Help windows, unless your version of Windows is in the same target language, the title will be "HTML Help".


18 Aug 2013

Bill Bloomberg and Tami Settergren

Searching in Asian Pacific (double-byte) languages / Garbage in TOC and Index.

My thanks to Bill Bloomberg for writing this up.

Compiling HTML Help files for Asian Pacific (AP) languages, including Japanese, Chinese (simplified and traditional) and Thai requires that you change the Location and Locale settings on your computer to match the target language. The Control Panel’s Region and Language dialog has everything you need to change your computer’s native language. It can be deceiving, however, because you must change the settings on three of the tabs, but NOT the fourth. Figuring out which of the three is not intuitive. Here are the steps:

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click the Region and Language icon.
  3. On the tabs listed below, do the following:
  • Format - click on the Format down-arrow and select a language. In this example, let's choose "Chinese (Traditional, Taiwan)".
  • Location - click on the Current location down-arrow and select "China".
  • Keyboards and Languages - don’t change anything here, unless you actually have a Chinese keyboard and enjoy trying to decipher Chinese characters on screen. This tab changes the language of many of the items displayed on your screen and in Windows Explorer, and expects that you will be entering data on a Chinese keyboard, which I assume is slightly different from an English one.
  • Administrative - click the Current system locale down-arrow and select "Chinese (Traditional, Taiwan)" again.
  1. When prompted, restart your computer.

You are now ready to compile your Chinese CHM files. When complete, open the CHM and test the Search function to ensure that everything works properly.

That’s all there is to it. I have tested this solution only on Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Home Edition, but it works just fine with both operating systems. The procedure shown above works equally well for Japanese, Thai , and Simplified Chinese.

IMPORTANT - For all other languages, none of this is necessary. Keep your language and locale set to your native language (English) and your should be able to compile in all non-AP languages.


See the full thread at this thread

See this thread for information about the TOC and Index showing garbage characters.


30 Dec 2012

Rick Stone

Glossary not shown and / or browse sequence bar not appearing.

From time to time there are forum posts about these problems even though the CHM works fine on the author's PC after compiling and clicking View Result. If the author opens the file directly or if a user opens it, then the Glossary or Browse Sequence(s) may not work.

The reason is that both of these RoboHelp specific features require a file named HHActiveX.DLL to be copied to and registered on the user's PC. When your CHM is installed, your developers need to copy and register the correct version of the DLL according to whether the user has a 32 or 64 bit system. The DLL contains the code that enables the glossary and browse sequence function.

When RoboHelp is installed, it automatically registers the 32 bit DLL on your machine and uses that so that your CHM works correctly when you click View Result, even on 64 bit systems. If you open the CHM directly on a 64 bit system, the Glossary and Browse Sequence(s) will not work unless you manually register the 64 bit version of HHActiveX.DLL that ships with RoboHelp 9 and above.

The 32 bit version can be found at C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe RoboHelp 10\Redist.

The 64 bit version can be found at C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe RoboHelp 10\Redist\x64.

There are various ways to register the DLL manually.

One way is to press the Windows key and the letter R, then enter "cmd" without the quotes and click OK. Then type cd: C:\Windows\System32 and press Enter. Next type regsvr32.exe followed by a space and then the path to the DLL followed by the filename. For example

regsvr32 path/hhactivex.dll

The above is correct for both 32 bit and 64 bit systems provided the correct version (32 or 64 bit) version of the DLL is in the folder.

I suggest you liaise with your developers.


If the glossary and / or browse sequence bar do not appear when you click View Result on your machine, check the properties of the window you selected when compiling. Make sure these features are enabled. It is important that the window was created when the CHM layout was marked as the default layout. Otherwise those properties will not be shown.


23 Apr 2011

Peter Grainge

Cannot open the file at mk:@MSITStore...

Trying to open a CHM and getting this message is something that seems to crop up regularly rather than frequently.

Usually the answer is to run MJ's diagnostics and it will find some DLL not registered and fixing that fixes the problem. There is more information in both of these threads.

Thread One

Update 17 April 2019 - The link to the second thread changed and my virus checker warned me against using the site.

However one person posted that the problem only occured with one CHM and, of course, an unregistered DLL will, in most cases, affect all CHMs. Digging deeper into the second link I found another cause of this message that would only affect specific CHMs.

"I finally found out that the error was caused because the name of the directory containing the .chm files had non-English characters. After changing the directory's name to simple English - everything works."

That is probably the first thing to check out if you have this problem.


30 Mar 2010

David Spreadbury and Rob Chandler

Microsoft HTML Workshop Version Number.

From time to time we see questions about whether the current version is 1.3 or 1.4.

The answer to this confusion is on Microsoft's site. The following extract explains the situation. See the full article.

Important  Please note that the latest version of the HTML Help technology is 1.4, as is the SDK. The latest version of the HTML Help Workshop download is 1.3. As of June 2009 there is no HTML Help Workshop 1.4.

As Rob Chandler explained on the HATT forum (since closed)...

All they are saying is ... don't worry that the Workshop internal version number is 1.3 while the HH Runtime is 1.4.


02 Aug 2008

Pete Lees and Leon Descoteaux

Duplicated results when searching a CHM.

In a since removed thread, Pete Lees pointed to Helpware's article explaining how this can be caused by links to topics outside the project. The text of the thread can be read in this text file and it contains useful information.

In another thread, Leon Descoteaux (MergeThis) suggested corruption in the single source layout and creating a new one fixed the problem.


16 Feb 2006

Peter Grainge

Print woes when printing all topics in a book in CHM help.

Two problems typically arise.

The style sheet definitions are lost.

To avoid that problem you need a copy of the stylesheet in each folder. Make sure your topics point to the style sheet in the same folder as the topic and they will then print correctly when the user selects "Print all topics in book", even though the topics may be coming from different folders.

Download this RoboHelp project if you want to prove it works.

Table borders do not print correctly.

A fairly common problem is that table borders do not print correctly when printing a topic from a CHM file. In fact the problem only arises when you select the option to print all topics in a book, rather than just the displayed topic. The problem is that the Microsoft help viewer cannot deal with the way RoboHelp writes the code for tables. Why it can deal with it from a single topic and not multiple topics, I cannot tell you. The appearance of styles generally can get messed up when printing all topics in a book but that can be resolved. Unfortunately the method does not fix table borders.

The only thing that I found that worked was to create the topics in Dreamweaver or some other editor. However, that works only so long as the topic is not opened in the RoboHelp editor. As soon as it is, the problem is back, even if you do not touch the table.


25 Jun 2005

Peter Grainge

What happens if a CHM file is linked to a web page?

I cannot really tell you what you will see as that will depend on the browser you are using, the version of that browser and the patches that have been installed. Typically you will be given the opportunity to Open the file or Save it. In reality, if you select Open, the file still has to download but it is then opened from a temporary directory. Some browsers will force you to save the file first.

In IE8, you will be offered the option of opening the file or saving it. Firefox used to force you to save the file but testing it in Firefox 3.5.3 it just opens a page of garbage on the server I use.

Click here to find out.

Either way, it is time consuming and the Security Warning message that will be displayed if you elect to open the help can be intimidating for some users.

Unless you can contemplate making registry changes that compromise security, a chm file is now effectively limited to being run from the user's hard disk. For anything else you need webhelp.

Back to top

4 - Content Creation






27 Jul 2022

Peter Grainge

Amber Boughen

LouEllen Heckman

Image borders not showing in thumbnails?

If an image style is applied to an image to put a border around it, that border will not show in the thumbnails or the expanded image in the output.

The easiest solution is to simply apply a border to the image in an image editor such as Snagit. The border will then show in your topic, the thumbnail and the expanded thumbnail.

The correct method is more complex but has the advantage that you can easily change the colour later or set different colours for different outputs. This is what you need to do.

Create an image style in RoboHelp

This allows you to see the border when creating content. It also lets RoboHelp write the CSS code so that you can paste it into the other definitions you will require.

This is a simple blue border created in the CSS editor.


In source view the code is as below and that can be copied and pasted into the other definitions that will be required.


If you now generate an output without selecting the Use Thumbail checkbox, the image will have a blue border as defined above.


If you want to use thumbnails, you need to click the image in the topic and select the Use Thumbnail checkbox, then set the size of the thumbnail image as shown below. In this example the thumbnail size has been set to roughly one third of the full image.


Without any further work, you will both the thumbnail and the expanded image but they will not have any borders.

The Solution

You need to create an additional CSS file that will be added to User Assets in your skin.

Depending on your requirements two or three definitions need to be included in this CSS. For the purposes of this example, that CSS will be called thumbnail_border.css.

Open a text or CSS editor and create the required definitions, which are:



.RH-LAYOUT-thumbnail-close (Optional)

In the first two you can simply paste in the source code from the img.blueborder style you created in your main CSS or you can define it as required.

The .RH-LAYOUT-thumbnail-close definition is only required to reposition the white close icon or define a different button.

Save the file in a temporary folder as thumbnail_border.css.

The CSS will look something like this.

The .RH-LAYOUT-thumbnail-close definition is optional and these declarations reposition the close icon to within the image.

You can also change the close icon by adding

background-image: url('path to and image filename’);

Note the button is now within the image rather than outside as above.


Adding thumbnail_border.css to the skin

Open the skin editor for your output and click Add Asset. Then browse to wherever you saved thumbnail_border.css. That will then be imported into the skin folder of your project. Edit the copy in your skin folder if you later need to make further changes.


Generate your output and now the thumbnail and the expanded image should have the required border.

Using your browser's inspect feature

Generate an output and right click on any part of it, for example the close icon above, then select Inspect. A panel will open showing the definition for that.

What is shown here are the default styles from the skin. The lines crossed through are ones that have been defined in thumbnail-border.css that have overwritten these defaults.

If you click on the values shown above, spinning the mouse wheel changes the value so that you can see how things will look when you define the same selector in thumbnail_border.css.


31 May 2022

Peter Grainge

Want to indent a section of your content or apply some specific styling.

Add a DIV style to your CSS file. You can add any other styling you want such as a background colour.

In the CSS add something like this example, which is specifically to apply just an indent. The class name of the indent can be whatever you want.

div.indent {
margin-left: 24pt;

In your topic go to source view and add the div tag immediately before whatever you want it applied to.

<div class="indent">

On the line below where the indentation is to stop being applied, add the closing div tag.



26 Apr 2022

Adobe and Peter Grainge

How to delete the whole index in 2019 New UI or above.

  1. Open Find and Replace.
  2. Enter this regular expression in Find
    <meta name="rh-index-keywords" content="(.*)".*\/>
  3. Enter a space in Replace.
  4. In Find and Replace Settings select only Regular Expressions and Find in Source View.
  5. Click the Replace icon.
  6. Check the index tab is now empty.
  7. If any or all of the index entries show, first close and reopen the project.
  8. It should be clear now but there may be just one index entry showing. If there is, close the project again and in Explorer go to the Index folder and open the IDX file in a text editor.
  9. Delete the single keyword that is showing so that the file reads as below.
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <keyword> </keyword>
  10. Reopen the project and the index should be empty.


25 Jun 2021

Peter Grainge

How to add a background image

To add a background image to all your topics add a line to the body tag in your CSS file

body {

background-image: url("your-image-name.png");


This assumes the image is in the CSS folder. Otherwise you need the relative path. It works for both online and PDF outputs, I have not tested it in Word. If you only want it in one output, then create a copy your CSS and just use the copy with the tweak for that output.

If you add it to the master page for that output that will override the topic CSS and give you your image in just that output.


To add the image to just one topic such as a PDF cover page, the steps are different.

Add this to your CSS

div.coverdiv {


height: 2000px;

max-height: 100%;

background-image: url('your-image-name.png');


This assumes the image is in the CSS folder. Otherwise you need the relative path.

The height shown above is way above what you need but the max-height will stop it splling over.

In the cover page add

<div class="coverdiv"> after the body tag and before any content and </div> before the closing body tag.


09 May 2017

Willam van Weelden

Want list numbers bold but text normal?.


Edit your CSS to include the font-weight attribute as below.

li {

font-weight: bold;


li p {

font-weight: normal;


NEW UI VERSIONS (Added 25 June 2021)

This can be done in the CSS editor.


03 May 2013

Peter Grainge

Smart Paste from Word loses images.


If you paste in content from Word using RoboHelp 9 or above, you can paste text, tables and images. A poster on the RoboHelp forums reported the images were not coming in. I tested and got the same result with their document and mixed results with other documents until I found the obscure but easily fixed problem.

In Word, open the document and go File > Options > Advanced > Web Options.

You will see an option Rely on VML for displaying graphics in browsers.

Deselect that and save.

Copy and paste again and the images will be included.

I believe the setting is per document.


18 Mar 2013

Peter Grainge

Problems with one list following another.


If you have say a numbered list item followed by say a bulleted list, you may find the closing tag for the first list appears after the second list.

This is a bug but there is a workaround.

Create a paragraph style called Spacer or suchlike. Set the font to be 1pt and no top or bottom margin. After the first list, insert a line using that style, then create the second list. With just 1pt between the lists, the space line will not be noticeable.


09 Feb 2013

Peter Grainge

Creating page breaks.


RoboHelp 9 introduced the ability to create page breaks that work when topics are printed from the online help and survive the trip to printed documentation. Generally the feature works fine but if the style following the page break is different from the style preceding it, a blank line is inserted in whatever is printed.

This alternative method avoids that problem and will work in any version of RoboHelp.

Open your CSS file and add this line.

.break {page-break-before: always;}

The first instance of the word "break" (in red) is the name of this style and can be changed to anything else you prefer but stick to alpha characters and avoid spaces.

When you want to insert a page break, go to the beginning of the line that is to be on the next page. Select "break" from the style dropdown. In the design editor you will see the page break symbol on the line above.


16 May 2012

John Daigle, Willam van Weelden and Peter Grainge

Non-scrolling region.


Authors who have produced WinHelp will remember the non-scrolling region, an area at the top of the screen that remained visible as the user scrolled down the topic. From time to time people have asked for a method of achieving the same with WebHelp.

The CSS style below will give you what you want and the lines are commented to help you understand what each part does.

H1 {
font-weight: bold;
font-size: 18pt;
/* sets height of scrolling region */
line-height: 30pt;
/* fixes the region to the position set by the following lines */
position: fixed;
/* sets position of top of scroll region relative to container */
top: 0pt;
/* sets position of left of scroll region relative to container */
left: 0pt;
/* sets position of right of scroll region relative to container */
right: 0pt;
/* sets all four margins */
margin: 0pt;
/* padding top right bottom left */
padding: 10pt 0pt 10pt 10pt;
/* prevent body text being seen behind non-scrolling region */
background: white;
/* adds a visible line at the bottom of the non-scrolling region */
border-bottom: 1px solid #000000;

With that alone your topic will look fine in Design View but in a browser the first few lines of text will be hidden behind the non-scrolling region. You can add some blank lines to compensate but it's probably easier to add

padding-top: 50pt;

to the body tag.

You will see too much white space at the top of the topic in Design View but it will be OK in the browser.

Change the measurements to suit your requirements.

Note: This method does not work in CHMs.


18 May 2010

Peter Grainge

Aligning Lists.

Getting different lists to align neatly in a topic is a frequent source of woe.

Click here to see how the different selectors (tags) affect the display of your lists. You can view that regardless of which version of RoboHelp you are using.

Then download this zip file. If you have RoboHelp 8 or above, you can open the project and play with the different CSS files to see how changing the property values affect the lists. If you have an earlier version, you can use the CSS files and create similar topics.

Note that the last item in some lists will not display correctly in IE8. This appears to be the way RoboHelp writes the HTML. The Default 5 topic displays correctly so the styles can be coaxed into working.


03 Oct 2009

Leon Descoteaux.

Return to top.

When you view topics or web pages, you may see the author has included a Return to Top link at many points in the page. Leon came up with a better solution, one link that is always at the bottom of the page!

With slight amendments and some of my comments, this is what he posted.

Leon's Post

We found that too many links became overwhelming. We decided to only provide a Return to Top at the bottom of each scrollable topic. I worked up a scrolling (floating) link. (Note the "z-index: 1;" setting in the .css file; that causes the link to always be layered over anything else on the page.)

It looks like this:

This is the code to be used within each topic and within your (MyProject).css file:

At the top of each topic (I have it just under the H1 heading)

<p class="top"><a class="topic" title="Return to Top" href="#">↑ Top</a></p>

In your .css style sheet file (place the after the default p & LI.p settings, and the A.topic's after the default A settings) {
     position: fixed;
     background-color: #f5f5dc;
     padding: 2px;
     right: 12px;
     bottom: 5px;
     z-index: 1;

PG: I did not include the link definitions in my CSS and it worked fine. That may have been because I already had appropriate definitions. See what works for you.

A.topic:visited {
     color: #4169e1;
     font-size: 80%;
     font-weight: normal;
     text-decoration: none;
     font-color: 000080;
     padding: 15;
A.topic:hover {
     color: #4169e1;
     font-size: 80%;
     font-weight: normal;
     text-decoration: none;

Simply customize my settings to suit your organization's style and formatting needs (fonts, location, padding, border, etc.).


25 Sep 2005

New topic.

Entering symbols / unicode characters.

Sometimes you want to enter characters such as © or something more obscure such as or that are not in RoboHelp's symbols. Here's the easy way that accesses all the characters available on your PC, including unicode, provided you have some unicode fonts! Look for Arial Unicode MS.

Go to Start | Run and type in charmap. Locate what you want, click Select and click Copy, then paste it in.

Select the Advanced view and then Group By "Unicode SubRange". An additional dialog appears making it easier to find what you need.


19 Oct 2007

Sheela Ayyagari

How to link to a specific cell in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

Sheela worked out this method.

  1. Name the cell(s) you want to refer to in the Excel sheet. Insert | Name | Define.
  2. Create a link to the file (normal procedure in RoboHelp)
  3. Go to the TrueCode tab and insert # and the name you gave as a suffix to the link. (It doesn't work if you attempt to do this in the hyperlink dialog.)
  4. Save the topic as usual and check the link in Preview mode.

Sheela advises that RoboHelp will prompt to import the spreadsheet and that has to be done if the link is to work.


02 Aug 2005

Peter Grainge

Changing the colour of hotspots.

How to change the colour of the dropdown and expanding text hotspots, as well as the text itself, is explained in this downloadable Classic version project.

Use Winzip's extract tool to retain the structure and then go to the !SSL! folder and open the two chm files you will find. These show the same topic but with different colours because of differences in the style sheet..

The RoboHelp project is supplied so that you can experiment with your own changes.

Ignore the topic on hyperlinks.


01 Jun 2005

RH Forum Post


RoboHelp allows you to add a tooltip over images by filling in the Screen Tip field in the insert images dialog. Perhaps you want to add a tooltip somewhere else, maybe over a paragraph? Hold your mouse over this paragraph. It's as simple as the html below.

<P><acronym title="Your tooltip">Your paragraph of text.</acronym></p>

Update 28 Mar 2012 - acronym is not supported in HTML 5. Try abbr instead.

If you want something more sophisticated, Leon Descoteaux recommended Walter Zorn's really neat solution.


07 May 2005

Leon Descoteaux

Links not displaying as defined in your style sheet?

Many authors have experienced problems getting their links to appear as defined in their style sheet. Thanks to Leon Descoteaux for posting this useful snippet.

Make sure that the links are arranged in the following order inside your style sheet, including any link classes you might be using, such as plain and fancy:









Also look for any embedded hyperlink styles. They can get written into topics created when you import a Word document. See Importing Using RoboHelp for more information about this point, even if you are using an earlier version.


02 Mar 2005

Peter Grainge

The Colour Palette.


Whenever you create a new project, you just get the standard colours when you click Format | Colors.

Ever since RoboHelp X5 and above the colours are defined in the file rhcolor.apj. Once you have the colours you want in one project, you can copy that file to other projects.

You might want to keep variants like rhcolor01.apj, rhcolor02.apj etc. Just rename the one you want and copy it into a project.

You can also edit the file. Open it in a text editor and create a new section. It will be obvious what you need to do.


06 Nov 2004

Rick Stone and Peter Grainge

Edit your files such as CSS and JS direct from RoboHelp using Notepad or your preferred text editor.


  1. Click Tools | Options | Tool Locations tab

  2. Click an existing extension, this will populate the Program for Editing and Program for Viewing fields with the application for that file type.

  3. In the field below the listed extensions, type over the whatever is shown with the file type to be added, precede it with a full stop / period (for example .CSS).

  4. Click the Add button.

  5. Leave the Program for Editing and Program for Viewing fields unchanged if they are displaying the required editor for the new file type, otherwise navigate to the editor / viewer to be used.

  6. Click OK.

  7. Add the file to be edited to baggage.

  8. Right click the file in the baggage folder and choose Edit from the context menu or double click the file. The file will open in the required application.


  1. Click Edit > Preferences > File Association
  2. Enter the file extension in the top left field.
  3. Click the browse icon and navigate to the program to be used.
  4. Click Open.
  5. Click the + icon.
  6. Click Done.

Back to top

5 - Email






20 Dec 2018


Create an email from a RoboHelp 2019 Responsive layout toolbar.


1] Go to the skin editor and select Custom Buttons. Click Add Button and give it a name.
2] Select that button in the Select Button dropdown
3] Add a button image.
4] Insert the line below in the Javascript OnClick Event
window.location.href = "mailto:[email protected]?subject=Issue in topic&body=Topic path is " + rh._.hashParam('t'); return false;
If you do not want the topic url, the line is
window.location.href = "mailto:[email protected]?subject=Issue in topic&body=Body text here";
5] In both cases change the address, subject line and body text to what you want.


15 May 2009

Steph Van de Velde

Copy topic title and URL to the clipboard.


Snippet 3 in this section enables you to add a text link or graphic to a topic that will generate an email with a link to the topic. The script relies on the text link or graphic being in the topic but Steph wanted a toolbar button.

He has kindly shared this script. It does not create an email but it does copy the topic title and URL to the clipboard.

Note that not all browsers allow JavaScript to copy data to the clipboard. This method will not work in Chrome and possibly not in Firefox.

You create a new toolbar button in the skin editor using the JavaScript action. Select the Inline JavaScript option and click the Edit icon. The function script is below.

function CopyURL()
var myHerf=parent.frames[1].bsscright.location;
var title=parent.frames[1].bsscright.document.title;
var tempCurLink=title + "\n" + myHerf;
var ok=window.clipboardData.setData('Text',tempCurLink);
alert("Press Ctrl + V to Paste the link in your email");

The above script will not work if you are using the Dynamic User-Centric Content (Content Categories) feature introduced in RoboHelp 9.


25 Sep 2005

Roger Nilsson, Sean McGurr and Willam van Weelden

Email this topic.


Click here to find out how to create an email with a link to a topic.


20 Jun 2004

Sheila Connelly

Create email.

To create an email with the To, cc, bcc, subject and body completed, paste the text below into the True Code view.

<p><a href="
mailto:[email protected];[email protected]
&amp;[email protected]
&amp;[email protected]
&amp;subject=Hello There
&amp;body=Type your message here.
">Mail To Example</a></p>

Delete any line you don't want. For example if you do not want the body pre-completed, delete the line

&amp;body=Type your message here.

I have added line breaks to make it easier to understand the content. After pasting the html into RH and deleting any unwanted lines, place the cursor at the end of each line and press the delete key once. The only spaces should be the one between "a" and "href" at the beginning and any that appear in the subject or body fields.

Click this link to see it work - Mail To Example

Back to top

6 - Importing from Word






24 Jan 2014


RoboHelp freezes when importing.


fm1476's first thought was that there was a hidden dialog. However, it proved to be that there were pending changes to the document. Once they were accepted, the document imported without further problems.


01 Dec 2007

Peter Grainge

Images not showing in Project Manager.


Sometimes when you import a topic, RoboHelp reports that the topic, all images and other associated files have been imported but you cannot see the images in Project Manager. A check via Windows Explorer shows they are there but not according to Project Manager. This is easily fixed. In Project Manager, create the folder using the name given in Windows Explorer. Not only will the folder be created, suddenly all the images will appear.

If some images are showing and others are missing, try renaming the folder. On changing from Images to Images1 for example, you will likely find all the images suddenly appear. Then you can rename again from Images1 back to Images. This tends to occur more when a folder only has images.

Back to top

7 - Miscellaneous

This section was in numerical and date order. Following a reorganisation Snippets from 1 to 54 are in one date order run and Snippets 55 to 65 are in another run.






04 Jul 2021

Help Essentials

Topics missing after upgrade from Classic to New UI.

After upgrading from Classic to the new UI some users have found that some or all of their topics are not showing in the Contents Panel. The most likely cause is missing or corrupt FPJ files in the Classic project. There is or should be an FPJ file in every folder containing a list of the topics and sub-folders in it. The upgrade process relies on that file. You can examine the files in a text editor.

This script runs through your Classic project and corrects corrupt files and creates new ones where required. See Scripts.

After downloading the script, backup your project and then go to Tools > Browse Scripts and browse to where you saved it. Close your project and run the script. Then run the Upgrade process again.


17 May 2012

Rick Stone and Kathy Maddox

How to copy a customised To Do list to another project


Kathy wanted to copy her customised To Do list to a new project. Rick Stone produced a method and Kathy documented it as below.

  1. Make a back up of the project that doesn't have the ToDo list entries you want.
  2. From RH, open the project that doesn't have the ToDo list entries you want.
  3. From the Topic List pod, select all topics and confirm that none of the check boxes are selected for any topic. (I don't know if this step is necessary but since I was going to delete these definitions from the project, I wanted to make sure that they weren't being used in any topic.)
  4. Save and close the project./li>
  5. Delete the CPD file.
  6. Using a text editor, open the XPJ of the project that has the TO DO list entries you want. (I used Visual Studio, but Notepad would work too.)
  7. Copy all of the text from <TOD0List> to </TODOList>
  8. Open the XPJ of the project that doesn't have the TO DO list entries you want.
  9. Replace all of the text from <TOD0List> to </TODOList> with the info from the 1st project.
  10. Save the XPJ.
  11. From RH, open the second project and set the ToDo list items for each topic as required.


07 Oct 2011

Gunjan Kumar

Add a CSS table to a snippet.


If your CSS file has tables defined, you will not see them if you are trying to add a table to a snippet.

What you need to do is click this icon and select the CSS that has the required table(s).


Then the tables in the selected CSS will appear in the Available Table Styles and can be added. They will work without problems provided all your topics use the same CSS as selected for the snippet.

If you use multiple CSS files, then each CSS will have to have the table defined. The definitions can be different but the table name must be the same. Thus each CSS must have a table style such as MyMainTable but in one CSS all the borders could be blue whilst in another they could be red. The key point is that the CSS for all topics using the snippet must have a table named MyMainTable.<


07 Oct 2011

Willam van Weelden

Show search results when find is in dropdowns and expanding text.


RoboHelp's search will find results that are in a dropdown or expanding text but the user will not see them when they go to the topic. See Scripts so that clicking the search results will go to the topic with the dropdown open or the text expanded to see the results.


09 Apr 2011

MeWrite and Lee Passey

RoboHelp slow and unresponsive - Check the number of publish location URLs.


This problem crops up from time to time and in most cases it is because the CPD file has become bloated. The solution is usually to delete the CPD as covered below.

There were two threads though where this did not fix the problem in RoboHelp 8. See this thread and this thread. There you will see that the initial cause was pinned on the number of layouts but I had seen projects with many more that worked just fine.

Eventually MeWrite identified that it was not the number of layouts but the number of URLs they contained. Lee Passey then identified a workaround. He identified that the list of publication servers is stored in an XML file named "pblsvrs.sss" and by swapping different versions of that in and out of the project, performance became acceptable.


19 Jan 2011

Peter Grainge

Want to clear out the list of used build expressions?


To delete the build expressions listed in the Conditional Build Expression dropdown, set the value in all layouts in the project to None. Close the project and delete the PSS file. Reopen the project and the dropdown will not contain any expressions.


13 May 2009


RTF Converter not found.


I encountered this problem recently and was assisted by an Adobe contact.

I was advised to check the value of a registry key and found it did not exist. So I created it and copied the details from a working machine.

The key was

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Text Converters\Export\RHRTF

Click here to see the details I set up.


18 Aug 2008

Rick Stone

Change the default width of the Horizontal Line.


Typical Rick! After I told someone that I didn't think you could change the default width when you use RoboHelp's Insert | HTML | Insert Line function, Rick posted the answer! Neat trick sir. Here's what Rick posted.

In RoboHelp 2015 and above it's Insert | HTML |Text Box | Horizontal Line and the version below will be your version rather than 7.00.

You have to close RoboHelp and open your Registry Editor.

All disclaimers apply. Don't come cryin to me if you munge your registry and don't have a backup. Yadda yadda yadda.

Got Regedit open? Cool. Try navigating to this HKEY:

There are many many entries in this spot. You want to locate the one that reads:

Double-click that entry and you should get a dialog allowing you to change its value. Mine looked like this before:
<hr style="width: 50%; float: aligncenter;">

I modified it and now it looks like this:
<hr style="width: 95%; float: aligncenter;">

Close Regedit and restart RoboHelp. Insert a Horizontal Rule and bask in the glory of your new desired width.


23 Feb 2017

Peter Grainge

Project errors or CPD file getting bigger than you like?


From time to time there are posts from people who are finding their project seems a bit slow and they have found the CPD file has grown larger than they are used to seeing. Alternatively they are experiencing an error in one project only.

Often people, myself included, will suggest deleting the CPD file and letting it rebuild. As you can see in my topic on Opening Projects, you should not lose anything if you are using RoboHelp 7 or above. In RoboHelp 8 and above there is an option to automatically delete the CPD so that a new one is created on opening a project.

Don't also delete the XPJ file as I have seen some people suggest. That is a last resort. See Opening Projects for more about that.

I have seen people suggest that if authors have a copy of Microsoft Access, they use that to compact the database (the CPD). This is a standard procedure on any Microsoft Access database that users of that program will be familiar with. It seems a pointless solution to me as deleting the CPD is quicker and supported by RoboHelp. Also all compacting a database does is remove wasted space. RoboHelp rebuilds it using data from other files and that can have the added advantage of removing errors.

For that reason provided you are using a version of RoboHelp with the Clear Project Cache option, deleting the CPD file is the recommended option.

RoboHelp 8 introduced the option to automatically delete the project cache (the CPD file) every time you open RoboHelp. Look in File > Options (Tools > Options before RoboHelp 2015). Note this setting applies to all projects, not just the one that was open when you applied the option. With the project closed, delete the file manually if you prefer


09 May 2007

Doug Wood

The Parameter is Incorrect.


A small number of people have reported getting this message when trying to delete topics. Initially the only solution was to create a new project and import all the topics and the contents of the HHK and HHC files. Topics could be deleted on another PC with RoboHelp installed but that did not solve the problem next time you want to delete something.

Eventually Doug Wood came to the rescue. His colleague Calvin Wilson ran into the problem and Doug used some tools to compare files in a project. He identified differences in the PSS file and that if you delete it RoboHelp rebuilds with no apparent issues. I have since had confirmation from Adobe that this is a file that can be deleted safely.

So just close your project, use Windows Explorer to delete the PSS file and then reopen your project. You will lose some information about when a Single Source Layout was last created but the problem will be solved.


28 Jun 2006

Pete Lees

I want a search on "beam" to find "beam", "beams" and "beaming".


Sara Writer posted:

In my earlier project I produced several different chm files which all behaved the same when searching from the Search tab. When searching for say 'beam' it also found 'beams' and 'beaming'. Now I have two new projects and they will only perform a simple search; i.e. 'beam' will only find 'beam' and 'beams' will only find 'beams'.

Pete Lees responded with this:

You may need to check the language setting for each help file as only US English files support "stemmed" searches of the type that you described.

As I understand it, you can't set the language of an HTML Help file from within RoboHelp. Instead, you must open the project (.hhp) file in Notepad or HTML Help Workshop and add a line like this to the [OPTIONS] section:

Language=0x409 English (United States


23 Feb 2017

Peter Grainge

Get back warning dialogs.


Some dialogs in RoboHelp allow you select an option so that they do not display again. To get them back it was Tools > Options. In RoboHelp 2015 and above, it's File > Options.


20 Jun 2004

Roger Nilsson

Search in Page.


Various javascripts are available to provide users with a search function that is limited to the current page. For example:

(This snippet originally pointed to another site but the script has been removed. The link above seems to do the same job but I have not tested it.)


25 Apr 2021

Stefan Gentz

How to import a PDF into the new UI Roboehelp and how to fix odd characters in an HTM file


Please see the attached PDF file.


14 Jan 2020


Search Issues 2020.


The search funtionality changed with the new UI and in the 2020 version there were many improvement. Nonetheless questions arise and Adobe have responded to these posts, hopefully their answers that include the search logic will help you.

Search Logic.

Enable Substring Search Setting Ignored.

Special Search for Search.


17 Aug 2020

Peter Grainge

Where is RoboHelp's TMP file for New UI versions?


Look in C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Temp\RHTMP.


20 May 2020


What does RoboHelp Server do?.

View this recording of an Adobe webinar. Click here.


30 Nov 2019


Change TOC and Index font in Responsive output.


This snippet can now be found as Item 15 in the HTML5 and Skins section.


23 Jul 2017

Peter Grainge and Adobe

Need numbered headings in RoboHelp 2019?


Click here to see how it works.

Click here to download the RoboHelp 2019 project. You can upgrade it to later versions.


31 Mar 2017


What versions of Windows and Office work with what versions of RoboHelp.

See this page on Adobe's site.


21 Mar 2017


Need RoboHelp's online help for older versions?

Click here to view the help for versions from RoboHelp 7 up in HTML format or download a PDF.


18 Mar 2017

Peter Grainge

Download previous versions of RoboHelp.

Click here to download any of these versions from Adobe's site. You will need your serial number to install.


25 Jan 2016

Peter Grainge

Using RoboHelp with 64 bit versions of Word.

In RoboHelp 2015 at least, the 64 bit version of Word is officially supported. However Microsoft warn that for compatibility with other apps, not just RoboHelp, it is best to use the 32 bit version of Word.

There are two pages on Microsoft's site that cover this issue.

Click here to see what Microsoft say about the 64 bit version. Note the first heading is "32 bit version is recommended for most users".

Click here to see Microsoft's page on choosing the 32 bit or 64 bit version of Office. Note the section "Limitations of the 64 bit version of Office".


25 Jan 2016

Peter Grainge

PNG images in Word converted to JPGs in RoboHelp.


Carolyn Hogan found that when she imported a Word 2010 document into RoboHelp 10, some PNGs got converted to JPGs of poor quality. This occurred with images that had been reduced in Word to less than 100% and to images in tables even though they were still set to 100%.

After some testing I established it is Word that is converting these images, not RoboHelp. Save the Word document using the Web Filtered option and you will see that the images have already been converted.

The solution is to reset 776782the images to 100% in Word and then import. There is a Word macro on my site that will do that for you. Click here. I suggest you run the script on a copy of the document so that the original can be kep unchanged.


25 Jan 2016

Willam van Weelden

Deleted images still showing in File Explorer.


When you delete an image from a topic, RoboHelp does not delete the image from disk. When you have been working on the same project for a long time, there is a good chance that your RoboHelp project folders contain many unused images that show in File Explorer but not in Project Manager. This can be confusing. But how do you know which images are still used and which images can safely be removed?

Click here for a free script that will delete them from File Explorer as well.


Look at the Unused Files Report.


25 Jan 2016

Willam van Weelden

Batch import files that have gone walkabout.


Sometimes people post to the forum that they have opened a project and there are red Xs against a lot of topics and all in different folders. They are still there in File Explorer and importing them one by one is a pain. No more thanks to Willam. Click here for a free script that will restore them into Project Manager.


25 Jan 2016


Search all words not displaying results.

A user reported that search worked just fine until Show Results That Include All Words was selected. Adobe responded that the search included words that were in the Stop List. The Stop List is there so that you can exclude specific words so it was doing its job. Either users must be trained to not use common words (not practical) or you must remove from the Stop List the words that cause problems in your help.


24 Jan 2016

Peter Grainge

Paste from Word without the formatting.

When you import from Word the HTML usually includes stuff only Microsoft apps need, typically MSO Normal. The oft quoted solution to avoid that is to paste into a text editor and then into RoboHelp. Along the way the inline styling is lost. It is possible however to paste straight into Word and then quickly remove all the inline styling.

Paste straight into RoboHelp and then select what you have pasted. Then locate Clear Formatting and it removes all inline styling.

In New UI versions click the Clear Formatting icon in Properties.

In RoboHelp 2015 see the Edit > Character. There is an icon with the letter A and a red X.

In RoboHelp 11 see Format > Clear Formatting.


24 Jan 2016

Rick Stone

RoboHelp locks up / You cannot see a dialog that you tried to open.


You start a process and RoboHelp appears to lock up failing to respond to any keystrokes or mouse actions. Sometimes a dialog goes off screen so you cannot see it is requiring an input. This can happen when you have been using two monitors and then change to one.

Try pressing the Windows key plus the left arrow key a couple of times.


24 Oct 2012

Peter Grainge

Which help format should I use?

On the RoboHelp forums we regularly see users not quite sure which help format they should use. Hopefully this snippet will help.

The first consideration is where the developers are going to install the help. Will it be on a server, on the user's desktop PC, or on a mobile device such as a smartphone or a tablet?

Let's look at the output options available in RoboHelp.

Output Type

Server or Local?


Frameless (New UI versions only)


This version was introduced in 2019 New UI and is the version where future development will occur.

For help that will be accessible from the internet, it works better with Google.

The RoboHelp Tour on this site uses the frameless Orange skin.

HTML5 (From RoboHelp 10 onwards)


This output introduced in RoboHelp 10 allows you to generate various outputs that can sit on a server, on a desktop PC or on devices such as smartphones, Android Tablets and iPads.

See the RoboHelp Tour for more information about this output.


Intended to be server based.

Can be installed locally but may encounter some issues such as links to PDFs failing in some browsers. Set Mark of Web option if this output is to be installed locally and viewed using IE.

This output is no longer used in the new UI versions of RoboHelp.

Some developers do not like this format for local use because of the number of files created.

WebHelp Pro

Can only be server based. Requires the installation of RoboHelp Server on each server from which the help can be accessed.

If your customers require the help on their server, they will require a licence.

This output is no longer used in the new UI versions of RoboHelp. Instead both the HTML5 and Frameless outputs can be used with RoboHelp Server.

Often users think this is simply a better version of WebHelp and publish to servers that do not have RoboHelp Server installed. It will not work properly without RoboHelp Server.

Microsoft HTML Help (CHMs)

Now effectively only for local installation. See CHMs on a Server for the full story.

This was beginning to look like a doomed format with little visual appeal. Microsoft have not updated the essential compiler that all Help Authoring Tools have to use for over ten years.

Fortunately in RoboHelp 10 Adobe have allowed WebHelp skins to be applied thereby giving this format a new lease of life.

See the RoboHelp Tour for more information about that.

Desktop AIR Help

Local only.

This output is no longer recommended and does not ship with the new UI versions of RoboHelp.

This new format was introduced with RoboHelp 7. It did not prove popular and no longer ships with RoboHelp.

See the Archive page.

Browser Based AIR Help

Server only.

This output is no longer recommended and does not ship with the new UI versions of RoboHelp.

See previous item.


Server only.

Flash is no longer supported so it follows this output will not work now.

FlashHelp was effectively WebHelp with an Adobe Flash front end that some find more, well, flashy.

FlashHelp Pro

Flash is no longer supported so it follows this output will not work now.



This is a very old form of help that shipped with earlier Classic versions. It will no longer work.


JavaHelp and Oracle Help


Most other Help Authoring Tools no longer support these formats that have not been developed themselves for many years. They are not supported in the New UI versions of RoboHelp.


05 Aug 2012

Peter Grainge

Thinking about DITA?

Are you wondering whether DITA is right for you organisation? If you are, then start with this link, it provides some questions and answers that will help you decide.

Click here for Easy DITA's article.

Click here for Cherryleaf's article (Added 18 March 2017).


06 Mar 2011

Pete Lees

Include string only when printing.


If you want some content to only be included when a user prints a topic, try this.

Add the following to your CSS. It creates a class called copyright and tells it not to display on screen but to display when printed. As written below, the print will be in the same style as Normal but you can change that to suit.

@media screen


p.copyright {display:none;}


@media print


p.copyright {display:block;}


Then write your content and apply the copyright class. It will look something like this.

<p class="copyright">Copyright <?rh-symbol_start name="Copyright" ?>©<?rh-symbol_end ?> 2011 My Company Name</p>

This was written for someone who wanted a copyright notice to appear in print, hence the class name. You can change it to whatever you want.


09 Dec 2009

Rick Stone and Amebr

Information types.

From time to time people ask about Information Types. In this thread, Rick Stone explains they are only for CHMs and the pitfalls of using them and Amebr explains the steps.

Download a PDF of the thread as at 9 December 2009.


07 Aug 2009


When does the HHP file get updated?


Sometimes it is necessary to open a project from the HHP file. It is important that the file is up to date if you have to resort to this method, so what updates it?

  • When any SSL is generated.
  • When the properties of the Microsoft HTML Help SSL are changed.
  • If the Microsoft HTML Help Window settings are changed.

You can right click a layout and change its properties without generating. This does not update the HHP, except in the case of Microsoft HTML Help which does update.


04 Aug 2009

Peter Grainge

Is there a limit to the size of a Word doc file.

Yes and no. There is a limit of 32 mb of text but the file size can be bigger because of graphics etc.

Here's the low down on Microsoft's site.


01 Mar 2009

Peter Grainge

What is the difference between Related Topics and See Also.

With Related Topics when you insert the button you are presented with a list of topics in the project and you link those to the button.

With See Also you select a Keyword when you insert the button. Those keywords are ones that you have entered as you create topics. You don't have to stop and figure out which topics get displayed. RH displays all the topics where you have entered the keyword in the properties. So every time you create a topic about Pop Music you enter the keyword Pop, every time you create a topic about Classical Music you enter the keyword Classical. When you add a See Also, you select Classical and all the topics with that keyword will display when the user clicks the See Also button.


23 Jun 2008


New to authoring?

I saw this link while browsing and made a note of the site below but not of where I found the link. So my thanks to whoever found the site, whoever you are!

OK. Sometimes the problem is not learning the tool but learning the job. That's where this link might help you. I don't agree with all the detail but nonetheless there is some good information. Approach what you read this way, as you read the pages, don't treat them as gospel but as food for thought. There's certainly more information about your new environment here than anywhere else I have found.

Click here. to go to Wikiversity. Enoy the course!


31 Oct 2007

Rick Stone

.book folders.


A few RoboHelp users have encountered a dialog advising them that a .book folder has been created. I haven't seen this one but RoboWizard has and here's a thread with an answer.

Date Posted:

10/30/2007 11:05:13 PM

Posted By: FMnRH (Junior Member)


After removing the "_" in between words in the Topic Title field of the Topic Properties dialog box, a "Notice" pop-up window appears stating the following:

Note that the 'book folder" C:\ (location of topic)\\, was created to hold the document and its resources.,

I click the OK box to close the Notice window. ,

I've never seen this message before when removing the underlines in the Topic title. Is this typical RH behaviour or have I done something wrong to prompt this notice message to appear?,



Date Posted:

10/30/2007 11:13:48 PM

Posted By: RoboWizard (Senior Member)


Uhhh, what version of RoboHelp are you using? Is it 6 or the new 7? I ask because there is a very elusive issue that the development team at RoboHelp has never been able to replicate surrounding this quirk. Normally, it's been my experience that it has only happened with imported content. You import content from Word and make a change via the properties dialog. You probably found that after seeing the message, the topic made an odd whooshing sound as RoboHelp lost track of it and placed the red X on it indicating it has gone missing. ,

The easy fix is to right click the topic reference and choose the Properties again. Then choose the File tab. After you do this, choose the "Open Folder" icon. This gets you near where you need to be. Inside this folder you should find another folder. If your topic was initially named whatzit.htm, you should see a folder named The topic will have been moved inside the folder. So to fix things, from inside Windows Explorer, drag the topic from the .book folder back to the folder containing the .book folder. Once you do this, RoboHelp will once again be aware of the topic and things should work better.,

Cheers... Rick,

Date Posted:

10/30/2007 11:51:39 PM

Posted By: FMnRH (Junior Member)


I'm using RH6. I was given a .chm file (help version 1) to update to another .chm file. I didn't have the original source files, so I imported the .htm files into a new RH6 project.,

I did what you suggested (moving the .htm file back to the original folder) and another RoboHelp HTML pop-up window appeared:,

The reference to the file, "C:(location of project folder)\originalfolder.css", from the file "C:(location of original folder)\whatzit.htm" contains illegal...,

Couldn't see the rest of the message because the location of the files were so long (buried under many sub-folders) and I couldn't re-size the pop-up window to see the whole message.,

Any suggestions? Should I be concerned about the illegal (unknown) things?,



Date Posted:

10/31/2007 12:00:09 AM

Posted By: Captiv8r (Senior Member)

Hi again,

Normally what happens is that the topic loses its reference to the style sheet. You should be fine. Just re-attach the style sheet by clicking the little toolbar button. (Looks like a little notepad icon),

Cheers... Rick


13 Oct 2007

Rick Stone / Gravenstein

Do I need to deliver all the WH folders and files?

People often ask whether or not it is necessary to publish all these files. My standard reply is "only if you want the help to work!"

The short answer is Yes. In response to a recent forum thread on this subject Gravenstein posted:

The RoboHelp help topic "Output Files for WebHelp" states:
"...The output files located in !SSL!\WebHelp\whgdata are HTML data files used in Pure HTML versions of WebHelp."

"...The output files located in !SSL!\WebHelp\whdata are HTML/JavaScript data files used in DHTML versions of WebHelp running on earlier browsers (such as Internet Explorer 4.)"

"...The output files located in !SSL!\WebHelp\whxdata are XML data files used in Java applet and DHTML versions of WebHelp running on later browsers (such as Internet Explorer 5 and Netscape Navigator 6.)"

Reading that, it would seem like you could delete at least whdata (and maybe whgdata) if you knew your users were running on a late-model IE only. I haven't actually done any testing on this, but I have thought about it. Is there more to it than meets the eye?

Gravenstein indicated that in her project these files amounted to about 300mb. My take on that is:

We are talking about less than half a CD here and into freebie memory stick territory. Against the risk of breaking the help in some way that nobody can foresee until months later when this is forgotten, it doesn't seem worth even a vague thought. I take your point about what is in the help but there's always the risk that it was either never 100% correct or that program changes have rendered it incorrect. Such things happen in any organisation. New developers, new authors etc, I'm with MergeThis. It isn't worth the risk for the saving.

Sometimes the pressure to reduce the size of the help comes not so much from considerations of the server on which it will ultimately reside but on the media that will be used to deliver the application and the help, or the fact that it has to be downloaded. Ask the developers if all their folders and files are needed. When they look horrified that anyone could be so stupid as to ask, just smile back.


06 Jun 2007

Yehuda Singer

Where can I find some information on Content Management.

Vasont Systems have put a really straightforward explanation of Content Management on their site. It's the clearest explanation I have seen.


22 May 2007

Peter Grainge

AutoRun an HTML file on CD.

If you want to run your help or any other HTML file from a CD, here's a useful link to a free utility.

Click here to visit AutoRunPro and download the files. Note I am referring to AutoRunPro, not AutoHTML.

Click here to download a little demo that I have set up. Just run AutoRunPro.exe to see what will happen when you burn the files to a CD. Better still, copy the files to a CD and insert it.


26 Apr 2006

Mike Feimster

Hidden text in HTML.

In connection with topic reviews, the question was posed as to whether hidden text could be inserted into HTML other than via the comments tag.

Quite simply you add style="display: none;" to a tag so that it appears something like the html below:

<p style="display: none;">Hello World</p>


<p>This is some <span style="display: none;">red</span>text.</p>

The text will not be seen nor will there be an empty line or space.

To reveal the text you would have to do a global find and replace changing the style to something visible that you do not use anywhere else. You would search on

style="display: none;"

and replace it with something like

style="color: red"

All the hidden text would be revealed and display red.

The replace needs to be unique so that you can do a reverse find and replace.

The html was suggested by Mike Feimster in connection with another use, namely getting words into a topic so that they would be found by a search even though they are not part of the topic text. Be aware that regardless of why you use this method, if style="display: none;" is in your generated help, the text will be caught by the search function.

Some might argue this will confuse users doing a search as the topic will be offered up but the user will not be able to find the word. That's true so it depends on who your users are and whether this is explained to them.


29 Jan 2006

Peter Grainge

Changing "Show".


File | Project Settings | Advanced button on General Tab | LNG File Tab
| Highlight Show=Show in [Common] section | Click Edit button and change
Show after the = sign.


11 Jul 2004

Peter Grainge

Printed Documentation - Open Office Conflict


See Print Issues.

Back to top

8 - The Navigation Pane






23 Nov 2011

Peter Grainge

Change the search and index prompts.


Phrase searches need to be enclosed in quotes but does the end user know that? Probably not so help them with a prompt.

To change the string from the default go to

File > Project Settings > General Tab > Advanced > LNG File Tab

and change FtsInputPrompt to your own string.

You can also change the Index prompt and many other terms used in the output.


03 Feb 2007

Peter Grainge

Want the TOC above the topic?


One poster wanted what they described as "a vertical layout in WebHelp similar to that offered in the vertical skins for FlashHelp". This means the TOC appears above the content. They found the solution below.

"I have found that the skn file in !SkinSubFolder! for the project contains two instances of frameset cols = "220,*": changing these to frameset rows = "220,*" seems to achieve the desired effect, and I have not yet found any glitches with the output (at least with IE6 as browser).


Try the supplied Studio skin.


03 Feb 2007

Philip Tory

Missing Index Tab.


Philip was working on a RoboHelp project and generating a CHM output, only problem was the index tab was missing! After a lot of poking around Philip found the solution. All his keywords were in the topics. By telling RoboHelp to create future keywords in the HHK index file, adding a single index word and then switching the setting back to store keywords in topics, the problem went away. It seems you need at least one keyword in the HHK index file.


14 Aug 2004

Rick Stone and William Huscher

Toolbar and Navigation Pane Fonts.


The font for the toolbar and the navigation pane in WebHelp can be changed by using the skin editor. Changing the font for the navigation pane changes it for the TOC, the Index, the Search and the Glossary tabs. If you want a bit more control then you need to edit some files in the generated or published output, whichever you use:

TOC = edit the font setting in whtdhtml.htm - this affects the items listed in your toc.

Index = edit the font setting in whiform.htm - this affects the text at the top of the pane

Type in the keyword to find:

It does not affect the entries displayed. They remain controlled by the skin setting.

Search = edit the font setting in whfform.htm - this affects the text at the top of the pane

Type in the word(s) to search for:

It does not affect the entries displayed. They remain controlled by the skin setting.

Glossary = edit the font setting in whgdhtml.htm - this affects the text at the top of the pane and the top of the results panel


It does not affect the entries displayed. They remain controlled by the skin setting.


Use the skin editor.

Back to top

9 - Printed Documentation






31 Jul 2005

Peter Grainge

Is Printed Media Outdated.

It was suggested in a RoboHelp forum posting that printed documentation is outdated and that only online help is required. Here's my response.


The correct media depends partly on the content and partly on the users. Has anyone asked your users rather than being prescriptive?

On content, if all the topics are short and easily digested, then online help only can be considered. If they are longer topics, and particularly if the content is complex, then it can be difficult to digest properly on screen. You can argue that any topic can be printed but sometimes you have users who want to improve their product knowledge and that is more easily done by scanning a printed manual and homing in on relevant stuff.

On users, there will always be people who prefer to work from the printed media. For a start they can annotate it. Don't make the mistake that these are older people. I find many younger people prefer this media, again with complex subject matter.

Nonetheless, you could avoid the cost of sending the document to a print-house. What we do is PDF it and ship the PDF as well as the online help. For users who want the online help, they still have it. For users and situations where printed media is preferred, they can print the PDF version in its entirety or in part. You avoid the cost but the customer can still have their printed version.

I think the key is to let the user decide. Horses for courses.

Back to top

10 - Source Control






11 Jun 2011

Author Care,
Gravenstein &

Multiple authors - when to use source control.

I don't normally cover source control as it is something I have studiously avoided and with no ill effects, indeed, quite the reverse. This snippet is an exception as La Kisha asked about the best way forward as she was going to be joined by another author. The responses were particularly helpful and I felt it worth recording the key points here.

In addition to the information below, Amber Boughen posted in this thread on 7th September 2021 with some useful information.

La Kisha posted

I've been the sole writer at our company for 6+ years. I finally have someone to help me; however, this has introduced a new challenge. We will both be working on the same RH project, and we will be using VSS for source control. I'm not sure how we should be 'sharing' this single RH project.

Does anyone have any best practices for when working in this type of situation?

I have questions such as:

  • When the other person is creating Index keywords, what if I have files checked out - how will this affect the adding of keywords?
  • When the other person creates new snippets or new user-defined variables, should he immediately check them in and let me know so that I can do a get latest and have the new snippets/variables in my project?
  • How do we manage both of us working on the same project, and having the need to check in/check out files, create new topics, etc. - what should our 'workflow' be?

Thanks in advance for any assistance/tips that any of you can provide!

Author Care responded

I recently faced a similar situation (we use TFS here incidently). What I did was to split the main help project into a merged help system with a master project and sub projects and then enforced a strict rule that only one author may checkout one project at a time. Our TFS revision control software was configured to forbid multiple checkouts of the same material.

Whilst you can both work on different topics in the same help project simultaneously in my opinion this is a messy way to author.

The golden rule here is to keep things simple and robust and don't be swayed by non authors in your course of action.

Then Gravenstein added this great post

I like Author Care's golden rule: keep things simple and robust. This topic touches on the three basic ways of sharing help authoring tasks. In order of complexity:

  1. Serial authoring. If you don't need to have both authors in the project at the same time, you can simply take turns working on the project. Just pass the files back and forth as needed. This is the most simple and robust approach.
  2. Merging projects. If you need concurrent authoring, then, yes, this is a simpler and more robust approach than source control. However, this only works if you can partition your material and your work assignments into two or more clearly-delineated parts. Merging projects can be a great solution, but it doesn't fit all cases.
  3. Source control. If multiple authors need concurrent access to the same material, then source control is the simplest answer.

Here are some tips and observations, based on my experience with RoboSource Control, in no particular order:

  1. Source control works best on small-to-medium-sized projects. Large ones can be unstable.
  2. Set it up to restrict file checkouts to one author only. Allowing two authors to work on a single topic simultaneously is bad.
  3. If possible, try to work in different areas of the project that don't touch. Remember that a single change in one topic can ripple out to many related topics. (For example, if you change the filename of a topic, every link to that topic must be changed.) If someone else is working in one of those related topics, you will not be able to complete your initial change.
  4. Make backup copies of your projects regularly, even though they are in source control.
  5. Create an administrator account to be used just for that purpose. Don't use that account for regular authoring. Don't give everyone administrative privileges.
  6. Designate one person as the administrator. Have at least one backup administrator. These will be the people who set up user accounts, override checkouts ("I need that file, and Joe is on vacation!"), resurrect old files, sort out source control conflicts, etc.
  7. Check in files as soon as you're done with them. Don't leave them checked out longer than necessary.
  8. If you have large projects, your virus scan utility can really degrade performance during certain operations, such as the initial "get" of project files. If this is the case, you might be able to configure your antivirus program to be friendlier to these source control activities.
  9. The help authors should stay in close communication. Let each other know what you're doing, especially if you are doing something radical like moving folders around. Be ready to check something back in if someone else needs it.
  10. Give a lot of thought to how your project is structured. Consider file structure, naming conventions, etc.
  11. Some actions are more source control intensive than others. (Moving, deleting or renaming folders are biggies.) Your project is vulnerable while these changes are in progress. If something goes wrong before the process is complete, you can end up with a mess on your hands. For example, let's say there's a network glitch while you're moving a folder, interrupting your connection with source control. You can end up with RH thinking that the folder is in one place, while source control thinks it's in another. The result is broken links and missing files. Time for the administrator to step in and sort things out. This is almost never a problem for small projects. It becomes a real issue for large projects.
  12. If you're getting close to a deadline, DO NOT pick that time to reorganize and rename files and folders.
  13. Follow the correct procedure for adding a project to source control. Doing it wrong will really mess you up. Adding a project to RoboSource Control is easy. I can't speak for other source control solutions.
  14. You might find it necessary to rebuild your cpd file more often than with non-source controlled projects.
  15. Have I mentioned lately that you should back up your source files?

Followed by another from her dealing with the specific questions

If one author is creating index keywords, when another has files checked out...I think it depends on how you have your indexing set up, whether the entries go into the topics or into a single file. (Feel free to jump in on this anyone.) If what he is doing requires a change to a topic that he can't check out, then I don't think he can complete the action. You could test this and see whether it's a problem or not. If someone is doing a large-scale action, it might be better for the other authors to stay out of the project while it's going on.

When someone creates new snippts or variables, is it best to check them in immediately...I would think that sooner would be better than later, but that'll be up to you and your team to decide. Be sure to keep each other informed about what your doing in your shared project.

How do we manage both of us working on the same project...what should our workflow be? When you open the project, get the latest version of the files. If you are working in unrelated areas of the project (recommended), you process will be more or less the same as in a non-source controlled project. Check in topics, especially any common files, as soon as you're done with them. If you need to make any large-scale changes to the project, discuss them in advance with the other writers, and arrange to do so while they are not in the project.

Truly, you and your team need to decide what your workflow is. Will you specialize, or will you decide that everyone does everything? For example, for consistency, you could decide that one person is in charge of laying out the structure of the project and creating each new topic, while the other person focused on technical content. Will you work only in folders A-F, while your neighbour works in G-M? Who will be the source control administrator?

Finally Amebr added this

If both of you will be working on the same project every day, I highly recommend getting into the habit of deleting the cpd first thing each day. (I find doing it first thing every day means I don't forget on the one occasion when it's actually necessary. ) I tend to do a Get as well to ensure I have all the latest files. This will show up any issues if people have been moving files around (broken links, missing topics, etc). RH 8 I think brought in a checkbox that deletes the CPD automatically on close.

However, if your project is one that takes 20min or more to re-build then this won't be practical. In this case, communication is key. Tell each other when you are about to rearrange, create, delete topics, etc so you can delete the cpd and get the latest files after these changes to ensure everything is synced. If you can, plan for one person to make all of these changes at one time to minimise how often you have to delete this file.

And backups outside of VSS are also useful to deal with RH deleting added files and adding deleted files in source control because it was out of sunc with VSS - while possible to get everything back from VSS, sometimes it's just easy to copy from a zip backup.

Note from Peter Grainge

Having read through that, you might understand why I avoid source control. It does have its place and in some scenarios it is the only sensible solution. However, the answer is to keep it simple and robust as Author Care said. In my world I can do that without source control.

Many thanks to those who provided great responses to La Kisha's question.

The full thread can be found on the RoboHelp Forums, click here.


20 Jul 2009

Laurin Marden and Leon Descouteaux

What not to put into source control.

I don't normally cover source control issues but regularly people have problems with what should and should not go into source control. Laurin and Leon have often responded so I thought it might be worth pinning Laurin's latest reply here.

"There aren't very many files that RoboSource Control excludes. Let's see, a quick tally of my RH6 webhelp project shows the following to be excluded:

* projectname.cpd
* projectname.pss
* projectname.hhp
* projectname.trl
* ehlpdhtm.js

That's not very many, but the consequences of adding them to RSC are severe--things get very messed up, very fast. That's why I always let RH control the upload into RSC. Not an option if you're not using RSC, I realize."

UPDATE 5 July 2020

The following information was posted in this thread by an Adobe staff member in relation to RoboHelp 2019 New UI.

"Files inside .rh folder need not be checked-in to version control.

Topics kept inside top-level-foldername/.rh/ have topic files whose text is saved here for find and replace feature. We find in these files for text search.

Files like .username.db.json is for reading the project while opening. Project open is faster with this cache file.

File .username.preferences.json contains detail related to recently opened files, generated outputs etc.

So yes, recommendation is not to check-in these files to version control. We make a ignore list of these files for our out of the box version control sysytems like GIT, TFS etc."

Back to top

11 - WebHelp

All Snippets in this section are for Classic versions. The new UI versions of RoboHelp use Frameless and Responsive skins.






18 Sep 2019


Locally installed WebHelp not working in Firefox 68.

Adobe have posted a fix on their site for RobHelp 2015 and 2017. It is fixed in RoboHelp 2019 with Update 9 or higher applied.


07 Aug 2017

Peter Grainge

Can WebHelp be hosted on Dropbox?.

The short answer is No. See this page in Dropbox's online help. The answer is probably the same for similar services as their servers would have to be configured as web servers and require substantial band width. Please let me know if you find otherwise.


24 Jan 2016


Search Error - Failed to initialize database.

LykkeErik reported

I had this problem in RoboHelp 9 and 11. Here is what I did to fix it (Ashish at the Adobe Help Desk provided the names for the MSXML files to load...and a lot of troubleshooting as well).

1. Delete the .cpd file from the (affected RoboHelp project folder.

2. If using RH11, ensure that RH11 is patched through 11.0.4.

3. Install the following Microsoft updates on your computer (the KB numbers are important. There are many updates with the same name, but different KB numbers):

-- MSXML 4.0 Service Pack 2 (KB954430)

-- MSXML 4.0 Service Pack 2 (KB973688)

-- MSXML 4.0 Service Pack 3 Parser (KB2758694)

4. Reboot your machine (even if it doesn't ask you to).

5. Regenerate your project.

Doing this worked for broken search functions in both my RH9 and RH11 projects.

Update 23 Feb 2017 - If you have RoboHelp 2015, just make sure you have all patches applied. With Service Release 2, RoboHelp was made MSXML version agnostic.


18 Mar 2013

Willam van Weelden

WebHelp toolbar button to open another webhelp output.

Occasionally someone asks how they can add a toolbar button that opens another webhelp output.

Willam's solution is very simple. Create a toolbar button in the skin and add the line below in the onClick event.


Subsitute "myurl" with the path from root of the first help output to the start page of the target webhelp.


10 Feb 2013


TOC does not open in WebHelp.

This problem has occurred when Google's IE Frame Add-on is deployed. See Item 10 in Using RoboHelp 10 for a solution. The solution is for RoboHelp 10 but hopefully the same change will work in other versions. Back up the file before making any changes.


30 Dec 2012

Willam van Weelden

Always open WebHelp with the navigation pane shown.

If a WebHelp topic is opened directly, the navigation pane is not visible. The properties of the SSL can be set to show a link that will open the navigation pane but with a simple script, you can force WebHelp to always show the navigation pane.

The method was on the Help Essentials site that is now closed. Click here for a PDF version.


7 Jun 2012


Seeing Superbold text in Firefox?

This item is fixed in RoboHelp 10.

DannyH reported that some bold text was appearing more bold than other bold text when viewed in Firefox but only on certain machines. Based on what was posted in the lengthy thread, I did some testing and this is what I found.

In the source when you apply Bold to some selected text you get what is shown in the first paragraph below. Note that span tags surround the text that was selected.

When you apply Bold to a paragraph you get what is shown in the second paragraph. Note the span is part of the <p> tag when bold is applied to the whole paragraph.


<p><span style="font-weight: bold;">This is some sample text.</span> This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample <span style="font-weight: bold;">text</span>.</p>


<p style="font-weight: bold;">This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text.</p>


Moving from source to output, that comes out as below:


<p><span style="font-weight: bold;"><b>This is some sample text.</b></span> This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample <span style="font-weight: bold;"><b>text</b></span>.</p>


<p style="font-weight: bold;">This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text. This is some sample text.</p>

Note in the first paragraph in the output that where there are span tags, RoboHelp has also added <b> tags. The posters problem is that when viewed on a machine using Firefox with "Use hardware acceleration when available" the text with those <b> tags becomes what he described as superbold. Unfortunately that is the default setting in Firefox and Danny has no control over that on his users machines. Google results seemed to indicate it would only affect certain hardware configurations and that, as stated at the beginning, is what he was seeing in his own office.

The thread is at

Fortunately TheRealMike73 can up with a classicly simple solution. Add the following to the CSS file.

font-weight:bold !important;

That defines bold as bold and nothing more, "!important" stops anything else in the CSS overriding it.


17 May 2012

Willam van Weelden and Rick Stone

Search results listed alphabetically.

To suit specific requirements a question was posted to the RoboHelp forums asking how to have alphabetically sorted search results.

Willam came up with this project specific method.

Just ran a quick test on RH8 and it will probably work for RH9 as well:

In your output, open whfhost.js with a text editor.

  1. Find the line var g_nSortType = 0;.
  2. Replace the 0 with a 1 for ascending sort or 2 for descending sort.
  3. Save the file.

Rick Stone suggested modifying the file in Program Files, typically

C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe RoboHelp 9\RoboHTML\WebHelp5Ext\template_stock

Note: Backup the supplied file first and only do this if you want all projects to be sorted alphabetically.

23 Feb 2017 -I have been advised that this method did not work in RoboHelp 11.


23 Feb 2012

Willam van Weelden

Browser Back and Forward buttons.

If your webhelp runs in a standard browser window, users have access to the browser's back and forward buttons. If you developers deliver the help in a chromeless window, those buttons will not be available by default so you may wish to add your own as part of the help.

Open your skin in the skin editor and click the + icon under Toolbar

In the Text tab, you must enter an Item name. Then enter the text required and / or the image required. (RoboHelp's Gallery has lots of arrow images that you can use.)

In the Action tab, click Javascript and enter the required code in the onClick field.

For the Back Button


For the Forward Button


Make sure you tick those buttons when you generate the help or they will not appear.


09 May 2007

Rick Stone

Links to Baggage Files broken (for example a PDF file).

A number of people have reported that their links in webhelp to PDF files do not work. It is in fact because they are generating with the Mark of the Web (MOW) option selected and that output is being placed on the server. The MOW is only intended to allow authors to view their work locally. It is not meant to be included in the final output. Mostly that does no harm but it will prevent links to baggage files from working locally.


05 May 2007

Peter Grainge

Want a different style sheet to be used when printing webhelp?


I decided to revisit this item and found an easier way of getting the desired result. In the HTML below I will use print.css and screen.css but they can, of course, be whatever names you want.

RoboHelp 9 will write your existing css as

<link rel="StyleSheet" href="screen.css" type="text/css" />

Add media="screen" to give you

... type="text/css" media="screen" />

Above that add the css you want for print.

<link rel="StyleSheet" href="print.css" type="text/css" media="print" />

<link rel="StyleSheet" href="screen.css" type="text/css" media="screen" />

Provided the two css files have the same styles defined, albeit with different definitions, it will work just fine.

WARNING 1: It is important the screen.css is specified below print.css

WARNING 2: If print.css has definitions that are not in screen.css, those styles will also be available when editing topics. So if print.css has a paragraph class called say "redwarning" you could select it when editing and the text would be red. However in Preview and OLH the screen.css will apply and as that style is not defined there, it will revert to the standard <p> tag definition. The text will be red if the topic is printed. So the outputs are correct but the Design Editor view is misleading.

For the benefit of anyone who used my earlier instructions, these remain below pending further testing of the revised instructions.



In theory you should just need to add this line below your existing style sheet reference, using the name and path for your print style sheet.

<link href="print.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" media="print">

I decided to try it and of course it is not quite that simple.

The first line below is how RH references the normal style sheet in the source. The second line I added in the true code view and I then immediately saved and generated, having added print.css to baggage first.

<link rel="StyleSheet" href="standard.css">
<link href="print.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" media="print">

That worked but as soon as you switch to WYSIWYG, you see your topic with print.css applied! Not what you want.

Go back to true code and you will see RoboHelp has helpfully "corrected" your code. At that point it appears it cannot be made to work in the real world so I then tried working on the output instead.

I found the closing head tag </head> and inserted the reference to the style sheet to give

<link href="print.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" media="print">

The good news is that worked in the simple example. Realistically though your topics are going to be in folders at different levels so some topics will require the path to the style sheet to be amended to ../print.css or ../../print.css etc. How to deal with that simply?

Do a multifile find and replace in several passes working on the output. I would use FAR from RoboHelp's own tool should work for this one but I never rely on that, just in case its limit to working on one line causes an issue.



<link rel="StyleSheet" href="standard.css">

and replace as below using your own CSS filename (Click in the field to copy)


Search for

<link rel="StyleSheet" href="../standard.css">

and replace as below using your own CSS filename (Click in the field to copy)

and so on.

It worked in my tests but do make sure you take a backup of your project before you do this.

The process will need to be repeated every time you generate and that introduces another wrinkle.

The search criteria above will find topics you have tweaked before as well as the new ones. If you used FAR, you could search once on

<link rel="StyleSheet" href="standard.css">

and delete all other topics from the list FAR generates.

Then search for

<link href="../print.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" media="print">

and delete from the new list all the topics where that is found. Then you have a list of files where you need to do the find and replace to add the style sheet.

It sounds clunky but in reality when you have done it the first time, you will find it quite simple and quick, just so long as you are careful.

UPDATE 3 Jan 2011
What you can do is amend the same CSS used for the online help and include something like the change below. That will use the same CSS and override the usual definitions with just what you change here.
@media print {
   font-size: 10.0pt;


24 Mar 2007

Peter Grainge

Using the startpage.htm#target.htm method of calling webhelp with IE7.

After seeing a number of posts on various forums reporting the startpage#target method no longer works under IE7 I did some testing. What I found was if you open the help at the startpage and then add the hash and target details in the browser address bar, then the new page does not display, IE7 continues showing the original default page. This leads people to perceive that the method doesn't work.

It's not quite that simple though. It fails if you add the # and target details after calling the startpage normally but using hyperlinks the method worked for me and some others who have tested this.

  1. Click this
  2. When the default topic displays add
    to the end of the address bar.
    You will not be taken to the target topic as you would expect.
  3. Now click this link and you will see the method does work.
    Click here

So where your users will access target topics via links rather than typing into the address bar, the method is still good.

Also the method works when you use the startpage#target method as the first address you type in the address bar. It only fails for me when I add #target, not if I use it from the outset. Using forward slashes in the path avoids some problems.

It does seem however that calls from an application may not work. One poster reported "I've just gotten a confirmation from Adobe, that my issue with IE7 is a browser problem not a RH problem.  Apparently, other product help systems are affected and many reports have been sent to Microsoft to work the problem out."

Click here if you want to download the demo output and test it locally. Unzip to your C Drive to the default folder webcall. Double click the file TEST.HTM and follow the instructions there.


03 Mar 2007

Peter Grainge

"Hand" not showing over a button in your HTML?

If a button is a hyperlink, then when the mouse hovers over it, the cursor becomes a hand. However, it will not automatically do that if the button is calling some javascript.

The HTML for the buttons at the top of the page by default would be along the lines

<p><img src="path/filename .... </p>

and no hand would appear.

Amend that to

<p><span style="cursor:pointer"><img src="path/filename... </span></p>

and you have your hand.


08 Oct 2006

Jonathan Woodward

Jennifer Foster

TOC Fails to load on server.

Two posters found their webhelp worked fine everywhere except on the server when the TOC failed to load.

Jonathan Woodward reported, "We finally tracked it down to the security settings on the webserver where the application and OLH files resided. The webserver was blocking use of .xml, .js, and a few other important file types, thus causing the TOC to not load properly when accessed from the application."

Jennifer Foster reported, "The problem was that IIS 6 doesn't serve unregistered MIME types. For some reason, .js was not registered in IIS. To fix this, I just allowed all unregistered MIME types but doing an * as the extension and putting them as application/octet-stream. A better solution, though, would probably be to just register the .js file extension."


11 Jul 2006

Peter Grainge

Webhelp - Publishing Cancelled.

This crops up occasionally and I have never got to the bottom of it. Some say it is because one of the files or folders has become marked Read Only but when I checked my target, that was not the case.

Fortunately fixing the problem is usually straightforward. The quickest way is to rename the target folder and publish again using the original name, or publish to a new target folder with a different name. After that you can trash the original and rename the new folder.

Another reason can be the the publishing details have lost track of your username and password for the location you are publishing to. This can happen when you start working on a new PC. Just re-enter the details and publish again.


07 Apr 2005

John Daigle and Chrodgers

Print Button for WebHelp.

This is a different method to the one here before 21 Aug 2007. It does not require the user to click in the topic frame before printing.

Go to Skin editor and click the + sign to add a new button.

In the Text tab enter Print as the Item Name and complete the Text and Image options as required.

Now click the Action tab.

In the Action frame go to the OnClick field and enter


In the JavaScript frame click the Inline JavaScript option and then the edit button.

In the window that opens enter

(Click in the field and press CTRL + C to copy the code)

OK your way back out and generate the help. Don't forget to tick the Print button in the second page of the wizard.

The nice bit about this script is that the user does not have to click the topic frame before printing.

UPDATE 10 Feb 2011 - New scripts

See Scripts for Twisties & Show / Hide and Print. The Print scripts there work with RoboHelp 9 DUCC (Dynamic User-Centric Content) and you can provide buttons that allow the user to choose whether to print with all dropdown content or just what they have displayed.


25 Mar 2005

Rick Stone and Peter Grainge

Opening a Word document.

From time to time people ask how to open a Word document from the help.

UPDATE 29 Jun 2011
The information below remains true for users of older operating systems and older browsers. With Vista and Windows 7 the File Types tab is no longer available but the later browsers have changed the setup anyway.
Most browsers will now give the user the option to Open the file in the default application or to Save it.


Rick advises that you can use an HTML Help Shortcut control to accomplish the goal. You simply specify the file name where you would normally specify the application.


There is a way of forcing a Word document to open in Word rather than Internet Explorer but HEED THIS WARNING.

It requires changes to each users PC and many systems administrators will not permit those changes for very sound reasons. You may be placing documents on an intranet and know they are safe. However, the changes will affect ANY link to a Word document. If one of your users finds a Word document on another site and clicks the link, it could introduce all sorts of nasties onto your corporate network. There are many websites to help you find a new job!

Still determined? OK. On each users PC you need to go to Windows Explorer | Tools | Folder Options | File Types. Locate the DOC extension and click on Advanced. Clear the Confirm Open after Download check box. Next time you click the link, the document will open in Word. Depending on the location of the document and permissions, it may not be possible to use Save to save changes but the user can click Save As and save it locally.

Any Gotchas? Yes. If Internet Explorer is not your browser, some browsers will not let you open a Word document at any price.

The link below is to a Word document. Fancy clicking it to test those settings changes? Do back up all your RoboHelp projects first as it has a macro to delete them all. OK I am joking, I would not do that and the document is safe but I hope the point has been made - the next Word document could contain a malicious document. If you want to test how a document opens on your PC, it is OK to click the link below.

Click to open a Word document


14 Aug 2004

Leon Descoteaux

Force page breaks when printing HTML pages.

Update 29 Jun 2011.
RoboHelp 9 allows you to introduce page breaks via the interface. See the Insert menu. These page breaks will also create breaks in any printed documentation you publish.

Choose the HTML tag that you want to be the top of the next page, and insert the following:


That is, add it within any tag (p, H1, H2, etc.). For example:

<H1 STYLE="page-break-before:always">Main Tab</H1>


<p STYLE="page-break-before:always">Some text.</p>


Leon posted this on the forum but acknowledges the work of John-Pierre Cornilissen in finding the information on the site.

I would just like to add to Leon's excellent snippet...

  1. For those of you whose output is used internationally, make sure it works for both US Letter size and A4 or you might do more harm than good.

  2. In RH's WYSIWYG editor you will see this symbol where the page break will be.

Back to top

12 - Frameless and Responsive Skins






23 Aug 2021

Peter Grainge

Which skin type should I use?

See Skins.


19 Jan 2021


Hide the file path in Search Results.

This method was found for RoboHelp 2019 New UI but it should work for later versions.


21 Jul 2020


White border around topics in Charcoal Gray skin.

No matter what you do in the skin editor or CSS, you can't get rid of this white border alongside and below your topics?

In your output locate the folder (template\<skin name>\layout.css), towards the end of the file. By default it will be set to a hex value as shown.

div.topic {
background-color: #ffffff; }

Change that as required.

For an RGB value it would be as below with your values.

div.topic {
background-color: rgb(119, 119, 119); }

In other skins you could create a CSS file with this definition and add it to User Assets. Unfortunately that option is not available in this skin so you need to make that change whenever you generate.


08 May 2020

Peter Grainge

Second home page.

When you click one of the tiles, what happens next depends on the structure of your TOC and a skin setting.

By default, it the tile (top level book) has nested books, you will see a second home page. The order of the tiles in the second home page is the same as the first home page, as set in the skin's Layout > Home Page. That cannot be changed.

What you can do is deselect Drill Down in the skin's Home Page settings. Then the help will open at the first topic or book below the tile clicked.


08 May 2020

Jonathan Smith & Peter Grainge

How to reduce the tile size in skins with home pages.

For some projects, the tiles are just too large. Resize the tile box and the text doesn't move with it. Once Jonathan had explained one change and some other bits, I managed to get what was wanted. These details were with the Oceanic frameless skin but should be similar with other skins that have a home page with tiles.

Open the skin in the skin editor and go to Home Page > TOC Tiles.


Change the height and width as required. I set them both to 100 px.


Change the height and width as required. I set height to 50px and width to 80 px.

Click the icon next to margin and set a top and bottom margin. I set top to -80px and bottom to -6px. Note these are minus values. The top brings the text closer to the icon and the bottom gives additional space between two rows of icons.

If you have different tile-box dimensions, you will need to change the margins until get what you want.


No changes made here.


With the reduced size tiles, you will probably need a reduced size font. I reduced it to 0.8 rem. You will also need to watch for long titles. They will get truncated but the user can hover over them to see the full title.


As you can see, the original images no longer fit. Either substitute the original by creating your own to fit the tile size you have set or resize the originals. The can be found in the publish > skins folder of your project.


The other information that Jonathan gave that may help the more technical is this.

"The tile-box sits behind the details-box so reducing the height of that won’t affect the position of the details-box. There are basically 4 layers starting with the tile-box. The details-box, the title-box, and the title are all sat on top in that order."


22 Apr 2020

Adobe and Peter Grainge

Change TOC, Index and Other Skin Fonts.

Classic Versions

To change the TOC and Index fonts using Classic Versions, locate and open the layout.css for the skin.

- If you know the font required will be on the users' machines you only need the toc-holder and/or idx-holder definitions shown in blue. The "font-style" and "font-weight" lines are optional.

- If you cannot be certain of that, you need to use the @font-face method and include all three definitions. How is described elsewhere on my site. Click here.

To edit other skin fonts, you need to first identify the style name using the method described for the New UI versions, then edit the layout.css file as described above.


@font-face {
font-family: "Quicksand";
src: url("Quicksand-Regular.otf");

.toc-holder {
font-family: "Quicksand";
font-style: italic;
.idx-holder {
font-family: "Verdana";
font-weight: bold;


New UI Versions

Responsive Skins

For the TOC and Index in responsive skins, see the instructions above but add the above definitions to a CSS named as you wish. Add that file to User Assets as described below.

For other parts of the skin see the instructions below to see how to identify the style name and then amend it as in the prevous paragraph.

Frameless Skins

If you know the font required will be on the users' machines, use the skin editor for frameless skins.

For fonts where you cannot be sure the font is on the user's machine, you still select the required font in the skin editor but you also need to add the @font-face definition to a CSS file that you then add to User Assets.That is described in more detail in the demo on my site.


Go to the skin editor and locate the field to be edited.

Set the font to something that you know is not used elsewhere in the skin, Broadway in this example and generate an output.

New UI Users

In the output locate the Template folder in the skin used and go to userstyles.css.

Search for the font name in that file. Using this example, you will find the style below.

.RH-LAYOUT-HEADER-logo-box {
font-family: Broadway;

Copy the style definition but do not amend it there.

Add the style to a new CSS file or one that you are already using in User Assets.

In the skin editor go to Layout > User Assets and click Add Asset. Browse to the CSS file and add it. You also need to add the font file (Quicksand-Regular.otf) to User Assets,

Classic Users

Locate the layout.css and search for font name there. This file may open with all the styles in a single line, if it does download Brackets and use its Beautify feature to make it easier to read. Edit the definition there. You will need to add the @font-face definition to the file as described in the demo on my site.


06 Apr 2020

Peter Grainge

Constrain logo from stretching to skin header height.

The requirement was to have a wide company logo without it stretching and distorting to fill the header height and requiring too much width.

Let's say the required logo was the red area you see below.

What was happening was that was the logo stretched to fill the height and became indistinct, it also wanted too much width in the header. The solution was twofold.

What I did was increase the canvas height using Snagit. Note canvas height rather than image height. That gave me space above and below the image which retained its original size. That space was then filled with the same colour as the heading.

That made the total image height greater so it didn't need to stretch and retained its clarity.

In the skin editor I then replaced the original image with this new one. I also adjusted to Logo Width to suit the image.

The end result was that the logo part of the image was the size required and the area above and below looked like it was part of the header.


20 Jun 2018

Willam van Weelden

Want the index and glossary on the left in the Indigo layout?

Willam explained how to do this on the RoboHelp forums.


20 Jun 2018

Willam van Weelden

Adding your own layouts to the Gallery.

This information for Classic versions only.

If you have created your own layout and want it to appear in the Gallery, export the layout as a SLZ file to
C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe RoboHelp 2017\RoboHTML\ResponsiveHelpExt\Layouts\en_US
Willam's full reply is on the RoboHelp forums.


20 Jun 2018

Mark Dennett

Want a stripe below header in Charcoal Grey layout?

Mark did. See his answer on the RoboHelp forum.


11 May 2018

Jeff Coatsworth

Preview output by device screensize.

You can simply generate an HTML5 output and when viewing it you change the size of the window. That way though you cannot see the dimensions of the point at which a layout changes. If you use the Chrome browser, the developer tools can come to the rescue.

In Chrome open the output you want to view, then click the top right menu and click More Tools > Developer Tools or press CTRL + Shift + I. Then click the icon shown or press CTRL + Shift + M.

You can manually drag the window around and you will see the dimensions changing or you can input your settings.


28 Feb 2018

Willam van Weelden

Long book names in Indigo layout.

When a book name is too long for the space in this layout, it gets truncated and followed by an ellipsis, as below.

A forum poster asked how to get rid of the ellipsis.

Willam responded:-

If you search for the text 'text-overflow: ellipsis;' that will take you to the correct location.

The TOC grid consists of a DIV element with a hyperlink and a label. The label truncates the text if it doesn't fit. By removing the white-space, text-overflow and overflow properties, you can get the text to show up. From there on, you can change the DIV element and hyperlink to correctly show the text you want to.

I asked Willam about changing the font size as well or instead as I thought that too might help. Willam then added the following to the post:-

You can change the font size of the blocks so that they show more content. A smaller font set will allow for more text to be displayed. In your CSS, locate the first line below and add the font-size line below:

div.frontpage-toc.grid-5 div span.label {

  font-size: .75rem;


If you add a font size as above, more text will be displayed. The bolded 5 is the number of tiles selected to be displayed at the front page. So if you use a four grid row, search for grid-4 instead of grid-5.

There is no need to set the font size for every device separately.

REM is a percentage of the page's base font size. You could also use EM or %. REM is generally easier to work with. Avoid point sizes or other set font sizes as they will not scale very well on different devices.


17 Feb 2018

Willam van Weelden

Script error when previewing a layout.

Seeing a script error like this when previewing an HTML5 layout?

See Willam van Weelden's solution on Iconlogic's blog.


01 Feb 2018

Guy Alroy and Adobe

Calling HTML5 and Frameless help with a filter applied.

Classic Versions

Classic versions only support Responsive HTML5 help. To open responssive outputs with a filter applied, use the format:-

path\index.htm\?filter=filtername - where index.htm is your start page name.

The filter name should be as seen by the user.

New UI Versions RoboHelp 2019 onwards

In both frameless and responsive outputs you can specify a default tag so that the help always opens with that filter applied. If you need to supply a URL to open the help with a filter applied, format it as below.


where URL is what would open your help without any filter applied. Note that it is the tag group that is used, not any group set up in the Dynamic Content Filters.

For example, the link below will open the RoboHelp Tour on my site with the link applied.


09 May 2017

Willam van Weelden

CSH calls to a topic in an HTML5 Output do not show the TOC.

Using Map IDs, it was the case that if you opened a topic directly, it would display with the full layout including the TOC. After applying Update 4 to RoboHelp 2015 or in RoboHelp 2017, that will no longer be the case. Instead the topic will open with just a Show link (the term can be changed in the LNG file). This will also occur if you use URLs in the format PathToTopic/topic.htm.

The reason behind this is given on Adobe's site and is quoted below.

When a topic in Responsive HTML5 output is accessed by clicking on its direct link from Web search, the link gets redirected and the responsive layout is applied on this topic. The Web crawlers (including Google) do not index pages that have JavaScript redirects applied on them.

This meant that authors with their help online were not getting the topics found by Google. To fix this, the redirect has been removed.

If you do not want your topics online or found by Google, here's what to do to bring back the full layout, with thanks to Willam.


Use the format PathToStartPage/index.htm#t=PathToTopic/topic.htm

(Note the #t= between the home page call and the topic call.)


By adding a small script in your topics, you can force the skin to be shown. Nothing needs to change and your users will never see the 'show' link. It basically returns to the behaviour of RH2015 before Update 4. The downside is that this particular script doesn't discriminate between CSH calls and regular links where you may want to just open the topic. Though the script can be amended.

Simply add the script below to the bottom of your topics. You can use a master page footer or manually add the code before the </body> tag. Don't add the script in the <head> as that won't work.

<script type="text/javascript">
function checkHelpWindow() {
if(window.self === {
if(typeof(rh) != "undefined") {
rh.model.subscribe(rh.consts('EVT_PROJECT_LOADED'), checkHelpWindow);

Update 22 September 2017 - This has been changed in Update 2 to RoboHelp 2017. CSH will now open showing the TOC etc whilst still being capable of being indexed by Google where the help is available on the internet.


09 May 2017

Peter Grainge

Ocean Layout.

If content filtering is applied, the radio buttons work but do not show what has been selected in Firefox. Works fine in IE.

This layout was removed in RoboHelp 2017 Update 2 because of various other issues that were found.


07 May 2017

Peter Grainge

Issues with Merged Help using Responsive layouts.

Using the Indigo layout -

  1. On opening the full merge, selecting one of the "book" icons, expanding it and selecting a topic, that topic is displayed. However, there are no breadcrumbs and the TOC does not synchronise. On expanding the TOC on the right and selecting the same topic, the breadcrumbs appear and the TOC syncs. This should happen on initially accessing the topic.
  2. If I open a child directly using File Explorer, it initially shows just the "book" icon as below. As soon as you access a topic, the TOC on the right shows all three outputs. If the full merge is available, then the TOC should reflect that. Also when you click the Home logo, all three books appear. Again that should happen at the outset.
  3. If you copy a child output to a location outside the merge and open it. you cannot access any content, including if you search. Quite simply, the child output is non-functional. One of the key things with merged help is that the parent should work with whatever child projects are installed and that they can also be installed separately.
  4. If you don't include a child output, any search will fail.

Using the Azure Blue layout:-

The TOC synchronises and this layout does not have breadcrumbs. Otherwise it has the same issues as the Indigo layout.

It would therefore seem that merged HTML5 help only works properly if the full merge is accessed and available. Where merged help is created to break the project for authoring purposes, Items 2 3 and 4 will not be an issue and Item 1 is really just cosmetic. Of more importance are the scenarios where developers point to a child project.

  • Accessing a child project directly when it is within the full merge initially gives an incorrect TOC. Also it allows a user access to all the outputs which might not be the requirement.
  • Installing only a child project fails completely. The output cannot be used.

UPDATE 8 May 2017: Re Item 4, it seems that merged HTML5 differs from merged WebHelp if less than the full merge is to be installed. With WebHelp, you could just delete the child output folder. With merged HTML5, it is necessary to generate the parent again with that child removed from the list of child projects in the TOC.


18 Mar 2017

Willam van Weelden

Adjust TOC Width.

See the response from Willam in this thread.

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