Latest posts by techwriter (see all)
- BOOK REVIEW: “Design for How People Learn” by Julie Dirksen - July 10, 2017
- 12 Top Characteristics of a Good Technical Writer - July 3, 2017
- What Are the Qualities of a Good Technical Writer? - June 28, 2017
© 2010 Ugur Akinci
I love RoboHelp 8’s ability to tag help text with conditional tags.
Why do we use conditional tags? To hide or display the tagged text depending on the audience. That way you can generate separate editions of the same help file for different audiences.
For example, you can display certain sections of your help file for “Employees” and others only for “Contractors.” Or you can switch on beginner-level information for “Beginners” but advanced-level details for “Veterans”. That’s all done through the power of conditional tags.
In effect, a conditional tag is a filter. It allows displaying certain types of selected text while hiding others.
RoboHelp 8 comes with two default conditional tags: Online and Print. You can rename these and use them for any type of filtering you like. Or you can delete them all together and create new ones.
To Create a New Conditional Tag:
1. Click the Create New Conditional Tag button (or select Format > Apply Conditional Build Tag > New/Multiply from the menu bar) to display New Conditional Build Tag dialog box:
2. Enter a name for the new tag. RH will automatically assign a default color for your new tag.
3. If you’d like to assign your own preferred color to the new tag, click the BLUE tag icon and select a color from the pop-up color list.
4. Click OK to list the new tag in the Conditional Build Tags list box (which RH8 calls a “pod”).
To Apply a Conditional Build Tag:
Imagine in the first topic we’d like to display the sentence Refer to Beginners Level TEXT BOOK by J. Teacher: “Introduction to Mechanical Engineering.” for beginners and Refer to Advanced-Level TEXT BOOK: “Advanced Mechanical Engineering.” for advanced users.
For this purpose we’ve created two tags: Beginner, and, Advanced. Here is how we apply them:
1. Write BOTH sentences one after the other in the first topic, just where you want them to appear in the compiled help file.
2. Select the beginner sentence and then select Format > Apply Conditional Build Tag > Beginner from the menu bar. Or, right click on the selected text to display the pop-up menu. Then select Apply Conditional Build Tag > Beginner. The tagged text will be HATCHED in the color of the tag:
3. Select the other text and tag it with Advanced tag, by following the same simple procedure described in Step 2. Your done with tagging!
4. Select View > View Item from the menu bar to display your topic with all its full content, including all tagged text.
5. Click Define button to the right of the Conditional Build Tag Expression field to display the Define Conditional Build Tag Expression dialog box:
6. To include ONLY the text tagged “Beginner,” click the Advanced tag and click RIGHT arrow to move it to the Exclude from Input list box. Advanced text will not show up in the final compiled help file. To include only the “Advanced” text, push the Beginner tag to the right.
7. Click OK and only the tag you did NOT exclude will be displayed both in the View Item screen and also in the final output.
For example, this selection
leads to this output:
While this selection
generates this output:
It’s very easy, isn’t it? Now you know why I love RoboHelp!