You can host output from Adobe RoboHelp on multiple hosting platforms. When your company uses SharePoint, you can even leverage the power of SharePoint to host your help.
Leveraging SharePoint has a major benefit: Access control. Using SharePoint’s access control of document libraries, you can control who in your organisation can view your help system. Note that access is limited to people who have access to SharePoint, so that generally rules out clients and customers without a login to your corporate network.
Before you publish to SharePoint, make sure you have a Document Library in SharePoint where you have read and write rights.
Set up a SharePoint output
To create an output for SharePoint, the best results are achieved with Responsive HTML5 special SharePoint output. In the Single Source Layout settings, go to the SharePoint page. At the bottom, expand the Advanced Options section and select Generate SharePoint Native Output before Publishing.
Simply generate your output. RoboHelp will create two folders: the normal output and the SharePoint output:
Publish to SharePoint
RoboHelp has a built-in feature for publishing to SharePoint. Unfortunately, it only supports SharePoint 2007 and 2010/2013 on premises. If you are using SharePoint Online, the best option is to open the document library, and drag and drop the RoboHelp output. Alternatively, use the Upload Folder feature in SharePoint to upload the project.
To access the Help system from within SharePoint, open index.aspx. The help looks and works just like a regular help output. You can copy the URL of the index.aspx file to allow others to open the help immediately.
Willam van Weelden is a Certified Online Training Professional (COTP), veteran Help Author, RoboHelp consultant, and technical writer based in the Netherlands. He is an Adobe Community Professional, ranking him among the world's leading experts on RoboHelp. Willam’s specialties are HTML5 and RoboHelp automation. Apart from RoboHelp, Willam also has experience with other technical communications applications such as Adobe Captivate and Adobe FrameMaker.
Adobe annnounced a major update to its Technical Communcaiton suite on January 31. The suite, which is available now, is a collection of tools including FrameMaker, RoboHelp, Captivate, Presenter, and Acrobat. Here's a brief overview of the tools that make up the suite:
Adobe FrameMaker 2017
Author and publish multilingual technical content across mobile, web, desktop, and print with FrameMaker. Easily work with unstructured and structured content in the same documentation. Work faster and smarter with advanced XML/DITA capabilities. Explore FrameMaker’s endless possibilities faster with reorganized and more logial menus and the new Command Search. Publish content as Responsive HTML5, Mobile App, PDF, EPUB, and more. And all this in the brand new high-dpi screen compatible interface.
Adobe RoboHelp 2017
Create and deliver policy and knowledge base content for any device. Publish next-generation Responsive HTML5 layouts. Help users find relevant content faster with best-in-class search, including search auto-complete. Dynamically filter content for personalized Help experiences. Generate content-centric mobile apps.
Adobe Captivate 9
Captivate helps you create attractive and instructionally sound eLearning. Go from storyboarding to Responsive eLearning using a single tool. Dip into the exclusive asset store to enrich your content. Create amazing courses that run seamlessly across desktops and mobile devices.
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC 2015
Acrobat changes the way you work with important business documents. Create, edit, and sign PDFs anywhere with the new Acrobat DC mobile app. Protect important documents. Send, track, and confirm delivery of documents electronically.
Adobe Presenter 11
Presenter transforms your PowerPoint slides into interactive eLearning with stunning assets and quizzes. Leverage HTML5 publishing to deliver courses to desktops and tablets. Track learner performance with the integration of leading LMSs.
This time I'd like to show you how to add a drop-down menu to the PDF form.
Below is an image of the postcard you learned to modify last time. There are three text fields and I've named them: "Date," "Name," and "City."
When the user submits the form, the data you get back is "Name=Value." If you leave fields unnamed and the user enters "Reno" as their city, you will receive "Text Field 3=Reno." It would make sense to receive "City=Reno." So please, name those text fields!
Adding a Dropdown Menu
I need a drop-down menu for the user to pick their state. In this example, I will just include a few states, but you will get the idea.
Note: Because I already turned the PDF into a form and I am just editing it, I chose Prepare Form and was taken directly to the form tools.
I clicked the Dropdown List tool from the Forms toolbar (6th from the left--blue when it's selected).
Click and drag to positon the drop-down object.
Editing the Properties
Double-click or right-click the object to edit its Properties.
On the General tab, name the drop-down list and add a Tooltip.
Tooltips are helpful in two key scenarios:
If the user is disabled and is using a screen reader to read the content. The screen reader cannot read images but the tooltip will be read, so the user can know what content is intended there. You want your content to be accessible to everyone, don't you?
If images are disabled by the user (some people do it for speed, although images are important to me!)
From the Appearance tab, choose a Fill and Stroke. I reduced the text size a bit, too (the default is 12, which is gigantic). You can preview the form and make changes as needed.
I usually skip the Position tab, but you can use this section to accurately pinpoint the drop-down's location on the page.
I added my responses via the the Options tab. (I tend to make Item and Export Value the same but you can name the Item differently if you wish.)
Tip: I typically add a final response called "Select One." It appears at the bottom of the list and I want it to be the default, so I move it up the list by selecting it and tapping the "Up" button.
The response that is highlighted will be the default--in the example above, the user will see Select One as the default.
Here is the Final drop-down List
Here is the postcard with the drop-down list added.
When it comes to adding images to websites, PowerPoint presentations, or eLearning projects, you will likely be given JPEGs, GIFs, or PNGs. Let's review the three most common image formats and why/when to use them.
JPEG is short for "Joint Photographer's Experts Group." It is one of the most popular formats used on the web and in eLearning. JPEG compression (the act of making the image as small as possible while retaining as much quality as possible) is "lossy" compression, which means every time you save an image as a JPEG, it loses quality.
The first image above is a JPEG taken with my iPhone. In the second image, I have opened the file in Photoshop and zoomed in on the child's face.
The little squares you see in the closeup image are called "pixels." Every time you save an image as a JPEG, it loses some quality by throwing out pixels. So if you are editing an image in Photoshop, always save it as the native format first, which is a PSD (Photoshop Document).
In the Save As dialog box in Photoshop, choose "Photoshop" as the file format. This saves as a PSD and preserves all details. Then after you finish your edits, do another Save As and choose "JPEG." The original PSD remains fully intact.
The image below is an example of the same photo saved multiple times as a low-quality JPEG. Notice that that there is a squarish effect happening and details are lost. This effect is known as "JPEG artifact."
JPEGs use the "RGB colorspace," which has more than 16 million colors. This allows for beautiful continuous-tone images with fluid gradations and a full range of colors. It's a good choice for continuous-tone, but does not allow transparency or animation.
The "Graphic Interchange Format" (GIF) works in the "Indexed colorspace," so its color palette is quite limited--just 256 colors. GIFs do, however, support transparency and animation (the once-hated animated GIF is making a comeback; I see it every day on Facebook). The oldest format on the web (created in 1989), GIFs are saved as "lossless" compression.
In the image below, I have saved the image as a GIF and it contains just 256 colors. You can see that the image has lost some of its detail.
Here is an example of an image containing just 8 colors--all detail is gone and the image has a "posterized" effect.
GIFs are perfect for "flat color," i.e., logos or flat design graphics that don't have gradations or continuous-tone (remember: only 256 colors).
The "Portable Network Graphic" was created (approved as a web standard in 1996) to provide high quality continuous-tone but also allow for transparency and animation.
PNGs are saved in the RGB colorspace, so they have the full range of 16 million+ colors. What I like best about PNGs is the ability to save transparency, which I use every day in my workflow. I save my graphics as high-quality PNGs and allow transparency (a checkbox I choose in Adobe Illustrator when I export a graphic to PNG).
In a recent project I wanted to use an image of a headset, and I needed the background to be transparent. I opened the image in Adobe Illustrator and set the Export PNG options to High Quality and set the Background Color to Transparency.
Thanks to the Transparency option, I had the freedom to overlay the headset on the green background shown below.
We are proud to announce that our "Adobe RoboHelp 2015: The Essentials" workbook is now shipping.
"Adobe RoboHelp 2015: The Essentials" is a self-paced, step-by-step workbook that will teach you the essential skills needed to create and deliver user assistance (Help systems, policies and procedures, and knowledgebases). By following step-by-step instructions, you will learn to create RoboHelp projects from scratch and how to add content via importing from Microsoft Word, Adobe FrameMaker, PDFs, and HTML.
You will learn to enhance your content with graphics, dynamic effects (DHTML), and multimedia (eLearning content created using Adobe Captivate). Enhance the navigation of your Help content by adding hyperlinks, indexes and glossaries. Improve your production efficiency by learning about cascading style sheets, variables, snippets, and master pages. Learn how to control the look of the final WebHelp output via Skins.
The output files you learn to generate (Single Source Layouts) will allow you to deliver content to the iPad and other tablets, smartphones, and desktops using output formats such as Responsive HTML5, WebHelp, Microsoft HTML Help, Adobe AIR Help, PDF and eBooks.
I've previously taught you how to create links between Merged HTML Help projects. This time, let's tackle merged WebHelp. Merging WebHelp differs from merging HTML Help in that you select the RoboHelp project to merge instead of the output.
Prepare a Master Project
Open the master project's table of contents and click New Merged Project.
On the FlashHelp/WebHelp/Multiscreen/Adobe AIR tab, click the Browse button and open the RoboHelp project you want to merge.
Click the OK button to merge the project. (The child project will appear in the master project's TOC.)
Save your project and generate your master project.
Generate Merged Projects
Once you've created the master project, you need to generate the merged projects to the correct folder in the master project's output folder.
When you generated the master project, RoboHelp created the following folder structure:
For every child project, place the WebHelp output into the mergedProjects\<project name> folder. (Meaning that the child project called Child 1 has to be placed in the folder WebHelp\mergedProjects\Child 1.)
Once you generate all child projects to the correct location, open the master project output to see the results:
If you've taken any of our Adobe Captivate, Adobe Presenter, or Articulate Storyline classes, you are probably aware that these programs provide a selection of screen characters--cut-out pictures of professional actors in business, medical, or business-casual clothing posed as if they are talking to you. They are intended for use as a kind of avatar of the trainer.
There is research that shows that using a screen character as a pedagogical agent or learning coach, who speaks informally and appears to be giving the lesson, increases learning. (My reference for this is Ruth Colvin Clark and Richard E. Mayer, eLearning and the Science of Instruction.)
Over the past few weeks, I've had multiple students ask how hard it would be to use themselves as the learning coach. Believe it or not, becoming a pedagogical agent is easier than you think.
Put Your Picture into the Lesson. Place a professional head shot of yourself, your trainer, or expert on the introductory slide (including job title, credentials, etc.), and then have that individual record the audio narration for the project.
Create your own screen characters. Photograph your expert on a green screen background for a full set of screen characters in various poses. The IconLogic Blog has a whole series of articles on how to do this:
Create cartoons of yourself or your in-house experts. You can use the images over and over in on-going training videos. Here is one article to get you started: Using Bitstrips Characters.
If you don't have specific, known individuals in your company to act as your learning coaches, you are not stuck with the same four or five actors that come with your software. You can purchase additional screen characters from The eLearning Brothers. Or you can just make good use of some inexpensive clip art. By trimming out the background in ordinary office photographs, you can get some nice effects.
Whether you use generic actors or your own home-grown experts, screen characters are an excellent way to add the personalization, engagement, and local feel that will bring your eLearning to the next level.
Merged help is the process of combining outputs from multiple RoboHelp projects into a single help system. While the content is created from multiple projects, your users see a single, integrated help system.
Over the next couple of weeks I will teach you how to create merged help for several output formats. Since RoboHelp's layouts work differently, I will go over each layout in turn.
Why Merge Help?
Generally speaking, if any of the following items are true in your environment, merging may be for you:
You have a very large project (thousands of topics). Splitting the project into smaller projects may make maintenance easier.
Multiple writers work on separate parts of the documentation and you don't have source control. Without source control, only a single author can work in a project at the same time. Having multiple smaller projects makes collaboration without source control easier.
You need to update parts of the help separately from other parts. If you have a single project, you create an output for the entire project. You can publish only changed files, but you can't update only a single part. With merged help, you can.
You have modules that are reused in different products. With merged help you maintain a single version, and reuse that.
Which Outputs can I Merge?
You can merge the following outputs:
Microsoft HTML Help (CHM)
Master Project and Child Projects
When you merge help, you always have one master project and any number of child projects. The master project is the glue that holds everything together. When you generate your output, the master project makes sure that your help system is shown as an integrated whole.
Your master project is a regular RoboHelp project. You can use any features you want in the master project.
Merged Microsoft HTML Help
Generate a CHM file for every child project. (Using the Single Source Layouts pod, generate Microsoft HTML Help.) Then open the project that is to be the master project.
Open the layout's table of contents and click New Merged Project.
On the HTML Help tab, click the browse button (the yellow folder) and open the CHM file of the child project you published.
Click Yes when prompted.
Click the OK button to merge the CHM file.
The child project will appear in the Master project's TOC.
Save your project and generate the layout.
All that's left to do is deliver both CHM files as your help system.Whenever the child project changes, generate the CHM from the child project. Replace the CHM in the master project directory and generate your master project. You can also replace the child project CHM in the output directly.
I often point out in my classes on writing eLearning voiceover scripts that a script is necessary so that when you record the audio you don't skip anything, don't stumble, and don't say "um." However, using a voiceover script for eLearning is way more useful than just that.
Let's say for example that your eLearning project will be developed in Adobe Captivate. Captivate allows you to type--or copy and paste--the script into Slide Notes, similar to the slide notes you might be familiar with in PowerPoint. From there, you can use the notes in several different ways.
First, just as in PowerPoint, you can create handouts that print the Slide Notes along with an image of each slide, like this:
Second, if you are going to record the voiceover yourself, you can display the notes in the recording dialog box, like a miniature teleprompter, for your ease in recording the audio. At the bottom of the recording window, click the Captions & Slide Notes button to display the notes.
Third, if you are hiring voiceover talent to record the audio, you can provide the script to that professional, slide by slide, so that he or she can record the audio for each slide separately.
Then, fourth, once you either record the audio yourself or import the recordings from your voiceover talent, you may need closed captioning. Once you have pasted the voiceover script phrase by phrase into the Slide Notes pane, you can create the closed captioning just by clicking a check box.
And if you have accurately divided the script into phrases as shown above, it will automatically be synchronized with the audio. Below, you can see the yellow markers indicating the closed caption that goes with each audio segment.
Fifth, suppose instead of hiring voiceover talent and instead of recording the audio yourself, you decide to go with Text to Speech. Since Captivate comes with several high-quality computerized voices from NeoSpeech, this is a viable option. Just as with the closed captioning, creating the Text to Speech from the Slide Notes is very easy. In the Slide Notes pane, you click the TTS check box.
Then you open the Speech Management dialog box, where the Slide Notes are automatically imported, click the Generate Text button at the bottom, and you've got your voiceover audio.
And as before, to get closed captions with that, you just click the Audio CC check box.
Sixth, and finally, if you are creating accessible eLearning that is 508 compliant, then the final thing you can do from that one voiceover script is automatically import the Slide Notes to the Slide Accessibility dialog box. This contains the text to be read by screen readers, for those accessing the training through audio only.
So, let me count them up--yep, that would be six (6) ways to use a voiceover script to help in the development of eLearning with Adobe Captivate. By starting with a good voiceover script, you not only create a clear and well-planned audio, but you also save tons of work by using the script to automatically generate any or all of these aspects of your eLearning project.
Are your scripts up to the task? Join me for my afternoon mini course on how to write a good voiceover script.
Using Captivate's Text to Speech feature allows you to quickly convert written text to voiceover audio. It's an awesome feature. However, we recently had a client who felt that Paul (that was the Speech Agent we used for the project) spoke too fast. The client wanted to know if we cloud slow him down a bit.
While you might think that controlling the cadence used by the Speech Agent was beyond your control, it's actually really easy. Prior to converting a slide note to speech, just add a bit of code (known as Voice Text Markup Language or VTML) to the text.
For example, if you want a Speech Agent to say I am an awesome person, all that you would normally have to do is write the text in the Notes window, click the TTS check box and then click Text to Speech.
In the Speech Management dialog box, select a Speech Agent and then click Generate Audio.
If you feel like the resulting voiceover audio is too fast or too slow, you can change the speed. In the slide Note, add the following code in front of the text: <vtml_speed value="50">. At the end of the text, type </vtml_speed>.
Click the Text to Speech button and regenerate the audio (the existing audio will be replaced with the new audio file). You'll find that the agent's speed has been cut in half (thanks to the 50 you added as part of the VTML code). You can experiment with the speed values until you find a speed that works best for you and/or your client.
If you'd like to learn more about VTML or see more tags, review the users guide for the VTML Tag Set by clicking here.