I have just finished learning all the ins and outs, bells and whistles, and other magnificent features of Adobe RoboHelp. Where do I begin? Well, perhaps I should start from the beginning. That’s where most people start, right? I would be lying if I said I wasn’t overwhelmed when I opened RoboHelp for the first time. There were so many toolbars, windows and esoteric terms for my mind to digest: single source layouts, pods, skins, generating primary layouts, and user defined variables. Luckily, I had some help in learning RoboHelp, and that help came from a book called Adobe RoboHelp 10: The Essentials by Kevin Siegel. Step by step, I learned how to create and edit content such as topics, glossaries, indexes and much more. Furthermore, I learned how to test said content in many different formats (PDF, web browser, Word document, Multiscreen HTML 5).
One of my favorite RoboHelp features is AutoCorrect. Basically, this feature allows you to take a long word or phrase that you repeatedly use in your project and give it an alternate name. For instance, many of my exercises required me to type in Super Simplistic Solutions. Obviously, that would be tedious. This is where AutoCorrect steps in. As instructed in the book, I gave an alternate ID for the phrase Super Simplistic Solutions called “sss”. Every time I typed in the word “sss”, it automatically turned into the phrase Super Simplistic Solutions. By learning AutoCorrect and all the other features, I quickly realized that RoboHelp was designed to save time for content developers. I genuinely wish I had these tools back in my early college days when I wrote all those long research essays. Developing and organizing my content would be a snap if I could separate them into topics instead of just one long Word document.
Of course, I still need to learn quite a few more programs. My next goal is to learn FrameMaker, which I have heard is a bit more complicating than RoboHelp. Difficult or not, I’m diving head first into FrameMaker. I figure that knowing the ins and outs of RoboHelp and FrameMaker will make it that much easier to learn MadCap Flare.