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   Post reply ( Re: Need to write rtf in legacy format )
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Topic Summary
Posted by: Wayne Barbarek Posted on: Aug 17th, 2007, 10:05pm
Does this product import/export rtf files in their legacy format? I need something that will save my existing rtf files in the old legacy format -- i.e. that will rewrite the rtf files in a format that the MS Help Workshop will understand. The problem I have now is that when I save my files with Word 2003, it messes up the formatting of the rtf and I loose formatting, font sizes, etc. when I rebuild my hlp files using MS Help Workshop. All I need is something that will scrub the rtf files so that MS Help Workshop will like them after I make changes.
Posted by: Support Staff Posted on: Aug 18th, 2007, 2:39am
Hi! Of course it saves RTF compatible with MS Help Workshop.
Actually it is optimized so you can always do the edit within the program, and export to RTF / MS H W when you want to create the HLP file (the rtf output file is so perfect that you compile and you have the HLP, without having to touch it)
Posted by: Wayne Posted on: Aug 18th, 2007, 11:43am
RoboAuthor mangling legacy RTF files.
Based on your response, I downloaded and installed RoboAuthor. However, it seems to be using Word, and conflicts with other instances of Word that I may have open at the same time. So, if this program is using Word, then I do not think it will work anyway for my purposes. I need something that is isolated from Word -- because Word is my problem -- i.e. Word mangles RTF files from their legacy format!
Note: I have installed Microsoft Office 2003 on the Windows 2000 OS.
In any case, I managed to import an RTF file, using deferent methods in RoboAuthor. Depending on how I go about importing the RTF files, I get either nothing, but some footnotes, or I get multiple pages when there is only one.
For example, after importing the RTF file, I get the white screen with a line showing “Contents” and two additional lines, showing “Page 1” and “Page 2”.
What is not good here is that my single RTF file (which shows as a single page in my original compiled .HLP) has been split up into two pages -- one containing the main body of text, and another separate page, Page 2, with (severed) footnotes that belong to the first page.
Also, there is no indication that any of my footnotes have been recognized ( i.e. +, $, # and K footnotes).
I follow the link to “Page 1” and I see the main body of the page -- with its formatting a little messed up, but it all seems to be there.
I “Save As...” the page to an RTF file, under its original name, and all footnotes are stripped off the page.
I tried doing “Import...” and “Open...” and neither work to my satisfaction.
All “#, $, + and K” footnotes are strategically placed on each original document, and must not be relocated or moved by any automated processing -- otherwise, I lose the behavior that I require from WinHelp when searching, indexing and navigating the more than “1000” RTF files that, when compiled with MS WinHelp Workshop, make up our product.
Further, the documents are loaded with hidden text markers and hotspots, and other stuff, that must be preserved.
All other automated products that I have used in the past were incapable of handling these documents (or cannot do what is required in order to preserve the behaviors we are looking for in WinHelp,) and so we have to manually manage them; and, as long as they are maintained in their “legacy” RTF format, and all footnotes are preserved in their “original” locations in the documents, WinHelp Workshop compiles them fine and exactly the way we want.
Again -- bottom line -- I am looking for an RTF “Editor” that will allow me to edit and save RTF files in their legacy formats, so that the WinHelp compilers will not choke. I do not think that an automated help facility (with no manual user-defined modes) is what I am looking for.
These documents push WinHelp to its limits -- with pop-ups, hotspots, hypers that open secondary windows, frozen (non-scrollable) multiple line headers with custom background colors (different from the main document body,) use of built-in and custom macros, hyper-links to web pages and e-mails, thousands of every kind of footnote, etc.
These RTF files took over four years to create, which exploit features only available in WinHelp -- features that are “key” to our product. In other words, our product is built around WinHelp .HLP files!
According to the response I received when I posted my question on this forum, I was under the impression that I would be able to read, edit and save RTF files without them being mangled -- which is what Word 2003 does and what I am trying to avoid!
Any help on how to do that which we need to do will be greatly appreciated.
Posted by: Support Staff Posted on: Aug 18th, 2007, 11:57am
1) RoboAuthor does not use MSWord.
It calls MSWord only if you attempt to import DOC files
2) RoboAuthor is intended for creating Windows help files either in HLP or CHM. It can import RTF but it is NOT a RTF editor.
When you import a RTF already formatted for .HLP you must use the related import option (RTF for WinHelp) so it will import notes and keywords.
RoboAuthor is not an RTF editor so you will NOT see these things like they where in your original RTF document - footnotes, K $ # etc in a RTF formatted for WinHelp have a precise meaning. For example K keywords are imported as keywords and you will see these keywords imported within the internal RoboAuthor keyword feature (that is more powerful and is visual - there are no longer "K" notes, there is a visual keyword dialog instead).
This is similar for other things.
RoboAuthor is an all-in-one tool: normally people use RoboAuthor and nothing else to create either HLP WinHelp files or CHM HtmlHelp files (from a single RoboAuthor document you can obtain both outputs without any modifications).
You archive your work in the internal format (AEH) that is more powerful and compact than RTF.
You can of course import old RTF documents, but this is not the main purpose. So, even if 99% of the content should be preserved, it is possible that a 1% is not preserved.  
In other words, you can decide to import your system in RoboAuthor and redesign it (if something can not be imported identical).
The original design of the RoboAuthor interface speeds up the management: you are 20x faster than using MSWord / RTF, thanks to the visual linking interface, the realtime navigation between links (active also in the editor mode, with double clicks on links), etc...
Or you can install MSWord 97 and continue your old way: nobody forces you to buy/install/use Office 2003, just like nobody forces people to install Vista and have any sort of problems. I must say Microsoft people is very good in marketing as people buy new things even if old ones were actually better and less user-tyrannic (any new versions actually makes the user and the programmers less free...)... !

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