Authoring - Auto selecting a topic in a folder

A HelpServer folder is shown in the web browser in a typical tri-pane web page. The left pane is the table of contents, the right pane shows the content of the selected topic in the table of contents. This is what people usually see when they start browsing a HelpServer folder.

A typical HelpServer folder previewed

The large empty space at the right isn't filled until people start selecting. HelpServer's look and feel mechanism is perfectly fit to make the view more attractive. But in most cases using an 'auto select' topic is the first step to obtain a better view.

An 'auto select' topic is automatically pre selected the moment its containing folder is viewed in the web browser. Usually it is some introduction that for examples welcomes people or provides an overview when entering the project or the folder. In the next example we have added a 'Welcome' topic to the 'Animals' project. Usually an 'auto select' topic is the first topic but it can be a topic anywhere in the folder.

Adding a welcome topic

You turn this topic into an 'auto select' topic by popping up the menu in the tree and selecting 'Properties > Auto select'. The auto select is a reference property and if you visualize all the properties in the table on the right you can also see and change it there.

Indicating the auto select property

An auto select topic is visualized by a '->' sign in front of the tree node. The next image is an enlarged view of that sign.

The auto select indicator

If you now preview the folder the right pane shows the content of the 'auto select' topic.

Previewing a folder with an auto select topic

Because it is automatically shown perhaps it would make more sense not to bother people with that topic in the table of contents. This can be achieved by popping up the menu of the topic in the tree and selecting 'Properties > Hide description'.

Hiding the description of an auto select topic

And this is how the folder looks now.

Previewing a folder with an auto selected topic

There can be only one 'auto select' topic per folder but each folder in the structure can have its own 'auto select' topic. If dependent folders have an 'auto select' topic it is activated the moment the folder is expanded or selected in the tree.


 About HelpServer
 Starting up and logging on
 The basic working principles
 Introducing the Workbench
 Adding a new project
 Creating the content structure with folders
 Adding the content in topics
 Previewing the result
 Changing the object description
 Adding new objects at a specific position in the folder
 Rearranging objects in a folder
 References to content objects
 Using the work modes
 The properties of a content object
 The properties of a reference to a content object
 Copying, cutting, and pasting
 The object status
 Searching for changed content
 Recovering unsaved changes
 Enabling and disabling a reference in a folder
 Auto selecting a topic in a folder
 Controlling the levels in the folder structure
 Grouping topics in a folder
 Your profile and Workbench preferences
 Using the content in help and documentation systems
 Formatting the content
 Searching and replacing text
 Reusing content with shares
 Navigating with hyperlinks
 Navigating with pointerpaths
 Using bookmarks and jumps
 Duplicating content with clones
 Using tables
 Including media files
 Navigating to web pages
 Using embedded chunks
 Including html code
 Navigating with menus
 Using snippets
 Spelling checking
 Using the view mode
 Creating an index
 Creating a FAQ
 Creating a glossary
 Team authoring
 Working with projects
 Setting up structured authoring
 Generating file based output
 Creating printed output
 Importing files and folders
 Loading files in the project gallery
 Converting legacy content
 Including legacy content in real time
 Transferring objects between installations
 Customizing the look and feel
 User accounts
 Working with templates
 Working with metadata
 Workflow management
 Using event exits
 Appendix A: The URL parameters
 Appendix B: The object indicators
 Appendix C: Play Javascript