RoboHelp Search Observations

At work, I was asked to describe to my team how the Search within Adobe RoboHelp works and functions, so I wrote this quick guide, thought it may help others that may need this.

When you enter a search term within the Search box and press Search, the algorithm will display a list of topics containing that term. By default, the search results list shows the first 60 characters of each topic from the body text to give it context to the end user. Unfortunately, we cannot change the number of characters it displays.

To search for a phrase, you enter it in quotation marks in the search box. If the search term is “medical order” RoboHelp will return all topics with the phrase “medical order”.

You can also enable substring searches, for example, a search for “log” returns topics containing the words “Prologue” and “logarithm.” Substring search takes longer than whole-string search but can be integrated.

You can also narrow down the scope of search by combining search terms using what they call the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT etc. Similar to Google or most search engines online.

You can rank search results based on their relevance. For example, if a word appears in the title of a topic, its rank is higher than the word in the keyword list. A topic with the word appearing in heading 1 ranks higher than the word appearing in heading 2 and is displayed first in the search results.

From my experience, the hierarchy of the search algorithm is as follows;

1. Stop List – Each RoboHelp project has a default Stop List from which you can add, change or remove words. The Stop List words are contained in a projectname.stp file to be found in the root directory of the project. To change the contents of the Stop List we can go into Project Settings (e.g. File ► Project Settings). From there, click on the Advanced button to display the Localisation dialog. From there we can CRUD.

2. Topic Title – If the word is found in the title of the topic, RoboHelp will use that as a high weighting.

3. Indexes – Index file keywords can cross-reference (link to) other index file keywords. You can create and maintain multiple indexes for a project.

4. Keywords – You can assign a keyword to a topic that does not contain that word. For example, you can assign the keyword “formatting” to a topic about fonts, styles, and point sizes. If you enter “formatting” as a search term, RoboHelp displays that topic even though it doesn’t contain the word “formatting.” When ranking search results, RoboHelp gives more weight to keywords than to search terms found in the body of a topic.

5. Synonyms – These allow for variations in search terms. For example, you can define “cursor,” “pointer,” and “mouse” as synonymous terms. If the search term is “mouse,” RoboHelp will return all topics containing the word “cursor,” with that term highlighted.

6. Content – If the word is mentioned in the content/body text in the topic.

7. Glossary – If the word is mentioned in the glossary, term then text in the topic.

Please note, I am not an employee of Adobe, so if any of this is incorrect guys, please let me know I am happy to correct it to benefit the e-learning community.

Published by theirishduck

I love the ability where I can plan, prioritise, design, develop and deliver blended learning solutions for a variety of markets. I love to consult and advise about the best use of digital learning and improve design standards in line with evolving ways of working. I also enjoy to keep up to date with, understand and regularly recommend emerging technologies and practice to improve individuals, teams and organisational capabilities. With over 12 years digital learning experience and demonstrated experience in both instructional design and eLearning development, I have also a lot of experience conducting training needs analysis including how to leverage principles such as design thinking and root cause analysis to understand and address performance gaps. I also have led many facilitation workshops and even presented at iDesignX and Game Developers Conferences both here in Australia, Wales and in the United States. I bring loads of coding experience in Java, ASM, C++, HTML, JavaScript, SCORM and xAPI, as well as proven capability using Adobe Captivate, Trivantis Lectora and Articulate Storyline 360 Studio authoring programs. Of course, Adobe Creative Cloud is also part of my toolbox which I also use daily. Being taught traditional and advanced 3D animation techniques, I love hand drawing and polymer clay sculpture, but can also use the Blender, 3D Studio Max, Maya and Softimage applications. With strong multimedia, training and programming backgrounds, I understand modern learner behaviour including micro and social learning, I am very familiar with most LMSes and app-based (XCode and Android Studio), adult learning models and e-solutions. I also possess the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously, whilst being pro-active in delivering work independently with minimal supervision, but enjoy working in teams. I've been told I am a resilient, relationship focused guy which can manage and navigate conflicting views and stakeholders/subject matter experts.

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