HelpServer uses PDF to support printed output. The topic printing explains how to print folders and topics directly from the Workbench. Besides this printing features, the Workbench also allows you to extract the content in a pdf file by means of the 'Export' function that you can apply to any folder or topic in the Workbench tree. The following example demonstrates how to extract the entire ‘Project: Animal information' in a pdf file.
Exporting as PDF
Popup the menu of the folder for which you want to generate the output and select ‘Export > PDF’. This will open the 'Export' window.
Selecting the export options
On the first pane you can select various options that influence the exported result such as
Enabling or disabling the included hyperlinks that are outside the exported scope. If you leave these enabled then you will be able to click on the hyperlinks in the exported file. This will open a browser session to retrieve the hyperlink target in real time over the Internet. If the hyperlinks are disabled then they are not clickable. Of course the hyperlinks that refer to targets included in the exported scope remain active.
Excluding large files from the output. Any files larger then the amount specified in the spin button will not be included in the export. Usually this applies to links to video or sound files you might have inserted in the content.
The print layout to determine the page set up.
The ‘Scheme’ to determine the look and feel of the content on the printed pages.
The user profile.
Assembling HelpServer objects for output is a very dynamic process that is based on attributes in user profiles such as variables and values. Furthermore, security profiles based on the user profile can exclude folders and topics from the output. It is very important to select the correct user profile. By default your own profile is used but you can select another one by clicking on the ‘Browse’ button. The 'User chooser' window will open and you can select a specific user profile.
Selecting a user profile
As always, the security determines the selectable user profiles here.
This options is to generate an autorun file in case you want to put the output file on a CD or DVD.
Once you have set the options you can click ‘Next’ to continue.
The export process main pane
On the next pane you can choose a location to store the output by clicking on the ‘Browse’ button.
Choosing a location
The output will be stored in a subdirectory of the chosen location. This subdirectory is related to the type of output to organize different output types. The main location is remembered in your profile.
You can also choose the file name. By default the name is composed of the class name and the description of the folder or topic. Furthermore the language code is added at the end of the file name.
Exploring and verifying sizes
By expanding the nodes on the 'Export' window you can fully explore the folder to have an idea of which content objects you are going to export. If you uncheck the box in front of a tree node you exclude parts of the content from the output. Here in this example we have excluded the glossary folder. In real live, that wouldn't make much sense, but it is just for demonstrative purposes. This option would become more useful if, for example, you start the export from a rather huge library and you are interested in only a few specific books.
If you click on ‘Verify sizes’ the entire folder will be scanned and each item’s size will be indicated in the tree node. Then the total amount of KB to be downloaded is indicated on the right lower part of window. This amount will be adjusted if you check/uncheck the nodes in the tree. In this way you have an idea of the amount of KB that will be transferred.
If you click ‘Start’ the actual file generation is launched.
If you export content for offline usage and you do not want other people to change it behind your back if might be a good idea to check it out persistently. You do this by selecting the 'Launch check out' option. Then the moment you click 'Start' on the 'Export' window the 'Check out' window pops up to perform a persistent check out.
Checking out the content persistently before exporting
If you interrupt this process by clicking on the 'Stop' button or by closing the window prematurely the entire export will be aborted.
Because this kind of check out is always persistent, the content remains checked out after you close your Workbench. You will have to perform a manual check in the moment you decide not to use the exported content anymore.
Next, the selected tree objects are scanned to collect all the selected objects and to include these in the output file.
If the content contains files, then these are downloaded one by one. This is performed on the ‘Export files’ window which will automatically popup.
Exporting the files
If you have selected the ‘Auto start file export’ option on the ‘Export’ window then the export of the files will automatically start. If this option is not selected, you will have to click on the ‘Start’ button of this window. The ‘Status’ column indicates the status of the export per file. Large files excluded from the output are marked in this column.On the first export, all the files in the project are processed. On the next export, only the changed files are processed on the condition that you export to the same location.
Generating a PDF file from a folder
You can follow the generation process on the lower part of the window. Depending on the size of your folder this can take awhile. The next image shows where the exported PDF file is located the moment the process is finished.
The location of the exported content
And this is how it looks when the PDF file is opened.
Exported content shown in Acrobat Reader