Join David Rivers for an in-depth discussion in this video Adding a mini-TOC to a topic, part of RoboHelp 9 HTML Essential Training.
One thing you can do for the users of your Help system to help them navigate longer topics specifically is to create something called a Mini TOC. It allows you to display heading content directly within the topic, so the content contained within a Mini TOC is going to be made up of clickable hyperlinks, giving users not only a quick overview of your longer topic, but also easy navigation to the information they're looking for in that topic. Let's see what it looks like by starting with an imported document. So let's go to File, still working with our How to Use LDC Skins project here, down to Import, and we will select Word Document.
We're going to go to the 11_07 subfolder of your Exercise Files where you'll find newsemail.docx, select that, click Open. It's just topic content, so let's not worry about Table of Contents, Index, or Glossary Conversion; we'll just click Next. What we will worry about is that the headings that are used, will convert properly using our RoboHelp CSS. So let's click Edit and then click Paragraph and start with Heading 1. You can see what Heading 1 looks like in our Word Document.
Down below it's going to be using the RoboHelp style from our How to Use CSS for Heading 1, and you can see that looks different. Perfect! But what about Heading 2? We've never done this before. Okay, Heading 2 is going to look the same in RoboHelp, because it's using the Source CSS file that's going to be imported here. So let's click the dropdown and choose Heading 2 from our RoboHelp Style, using the How to Use .CSS. So this should all be a review. Let's go to Normal, and sure enough it's using the RoboHelp Style called Normal. So it will look a little bit different. Everything looks good now. We can click OK.
Now when we click Finish, we'll be importing the file. You will see that it's imported successfully, including the CSS file that comes with it. But we can click Close now, and we should be able to find it here on our list in our Topic List. So let's just scroll down until we see newsemail, and this particular topic belongs in the Managing your Account Table of Contents. So let's just click and drag it up into that book, make sure you go over the Table of Contents and when you see the yellow arrow underneath Managing Your Account, with Managing Your Account highlighted, let go.
You will see it expands, and down below we see our topic. Now we'll probably want to rename this, so it looks proper, like news and email or newsletters and email. But we have the topic in here, so let's just double-click it to take a look over here in our Document pane. You can see it does use Heading 2 styles here. Those are the styles that our Mini TOC is going to pick up and create links from. Where? Wherever we choose. Maybe right at the top here in front of our first paragraph would be a good spot to insert the Mini TOC.
So click there right before the word, Also, go up to the Insert menu, all the way down to the bottom to placeholder and here's where we choose to insert the Mini TOC Placeholder. So we'll give it a click and we'll see the Mini TOC Options, which, by the way, we can come back to at any time. So you will see the default settings here. It's going to say, In this Topic, and then it's going to take our Headings in our topic and create links out of them, right at the top. Perfect! If we look over here at the left, you'll see that it's actually only going to start with Heading Level 2.
Heading Level 1 is our title, and we don't need to create a link from that. It's already at the top. So that's perfect! No particular structure, style. You can see No List Style is selected, but we can come back to all of this formatting later if we don't like what we see. So we'll accept all the default formatting and click OK, and that inserts our Placeholder for a Mini TOC. So as we scroll down, you can see there's the paragraph, and then our individual paragraphs with their Heading 2 styles. So we're ready to take a look and see what this looks like, using all the defaults.
Let's try Ctrl+W our old keyboard shortcut for previewing, and I have sized my window down. It's not a particularly long topic, but when you're looking at a topic where you can't see everything in one screen, that's where the Mini TOC comes in handy. Check out right at the top, it does say, In this Topic, and then there is a Hide link. So if you don't want the Mini TOC, you can choose to Hide it. Click Show, and it's back. Now you can see it's actually taken our Heading 2s and created links out of them, so if we want to go directly to Changing your email Address, we click that link, and it takes us to that spot in the topic, just like that.
So we'll close it up knowing that it works, but it might not look perfect. Like I said, we can always go back to those options by double-clicking the placeholder anywhere in the blue shaded area, there's your Mini TOC Options. So maybe you don't like it saying, In this topic. I don't mind that. I'm going to leave it as is, But let's try bulleted List instead of that no style that we see with our indents. We'll choose Bulleted List, and you can see what they look like. Now if you do have Headings 3s, 4s et cetera, then you'll see this cascading effect, but we only have Heading 2, so they'll be listed one over the other.
And if you wanted to, you could change the actual bullet itself. Maybe squares would look better, and then let's go down a little bit further. We won't need to worry about Indents, because we don't get into the heading 3, 4, 5, et cetera. Same thing for Spacing; we'll leave it at the default, and let's go down to formatting now. We can format the TOC itself or the caption that we see at the top. That's up to you. Let's keep Mini TOC selected. Let's change the background color. We selected or created a custom color called pale yellow in a previous lesson, so I'm going to select that one, but you can select any color you like.
You can see a preview over here. Now if you want, you can change the fonts as well. I'm going to drop it down to 10 points, make it a little bit smaller, but bolder. So let's go the Bold button. We'll bold our TOC here and click OK. Now let's preview with Ctrl+W again, and you can see that looks much different. So we have the shading in behind, so it stands out, and our links when we click them, they still work beautifully. So we'll Close that up, and make sure we Save all of our changes.
So if you are going to be using longer topics, that's where a Mini TOC can be very useful, adding a little bit of navigation to your topic, as well as giving a nice little preview of the subtopics within your topic right at the top.
- Touring the interface and workspaces
- Creating a project and importing content
- Auto-creating a TOC
- Merging help projects
- Generating FlashHelp output
- Controlling page layout with tables and DHTML
- Creating indexes, search terms, and glossary terms
- Building forms with buttons and check boxes
- Controlling output with conditional text
- Creating skins and master pages
- Reviewing projects and managing comments and changes
- Applying ActiveX controls
- Generating printed documents
Skill Level Beginner
Q: When I insert the ActiveX Calendar control and try to hide the title by setting the ShowTitle property to false, the title is not removed and remains visible. Why is this happening?
A: There are many ActiveX controls available and many versions of a control may exist. Different versions of a control can behave differently. Certain properties may work in one version of a control and not in another. ActiveX controls can be installed on your computer by different programs other than RoboHelp, such as Microsoft Excel and Access. In this title, version 11.0 of the Calendar control is used. If you are using a different version of the Calendar control, the ShowTitle property may not work properly. Go to www.microsoft.com to learn more about ActiveX controls and their properties.