Making Help Authoring a Pleasure to Do
Free DownloadStart your free trial now
Step-by-Step Guides
Tips & Tricks

How to Setup Outline Levels in Printed Documentation

With HelpSmith, you can create not only electronic documentation, such as a CHM help file or online Web Help system, but also a PDF manual that can be viewed in Adobe Reader, or printed out from HelpSmith directly.

When you compile your help project as Printed Manual, PDF, or MS Word document, HelpSmith automatically creates the Table of Contents section that corresponds to the Outline Levels of your help project. The Outline Levels including chapters, sections, and sub-sections are also exported to the body of the printed manual document.

The video below demonstrates how you can setup and customize Outline Levels settings (e.g. chapter numbering, formatting of headings, etc.) of your printed manual.

To Create a PDF Document from Your Help Project:

You can create a PDF document by compiling your help project to the given output format.

  1. On the Project tab, click Compile (or press the F9 key).
  2. In the Compile Project window, in the Output Format box, select PDF Document.
  3. Click Compile.

After the project compilation, HelpSmith will open the generated PDF document in Adobe Reader that should be installed on your system.

Similarly, you can compile your help project to the Microsoft Word, or Printed Manual format which you can view, print, or save to a file from HelpSmith directly.

How to Setup Outline Levels Settings

HelpSmith allows you to customize the chapter and section numbering, and formatting of the headings on each outline level:

  1. On the Project tab, in the Project group, click Project Options.
  2. In the Project Options window, in the left sidebar, select Printed Manual.
  3. In the Outline Levels preview box, click on the level whose settings you want to edit.
  4. In the Level properties dialog, specify the desired settings, such as the auto-numbering format, font and paragraph settings of the TOC entires, and also formatting settings of the titles that are exported to the documentation body on the given outline level.
  5. Click OK.

Titles of the Headings and Topics in the Document's Body

Please note that while the TOC items of the Heading type do not have their own document, their titles are automatically exported to the body of the printed manual using the font and paragraph settings that you can specify in the Level properties dialog.

However, for the topics that have a document, it is implied that the title will be displayed by the #TopicTitle variable that should be contained in the template.

Therefore, the Level properties dialog includes an option that allows you to apply the same font settings to the topic title. Otherwise, the topic title will use the font of the #TopicTitle variable itself as defined in the HelpSmith's word processor.

Exporting the Table of Contents to the Printed Manual

In most cases, you can easily create Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word, or Printed Manual documentation from your help project without the need to edit the Outline Levels since the default settings will suit to most situations.

It should be noted that when exporting the Table of Contents of a printed manual, HelpSmith analyzes the structure of your help project and excludes the possibility when a duplicate topic in the Table of Contents (for example, as a result of using Topic Link items) will have its own numbering in the printed documentation.

Also, HelpSmith converts invalid TOC items (for example, a URL item with empty address) which contain valid child items (such as topics, or other TOC items) into Headings, so they can be displayed both in the Table of Contents section, and in the body of the printed manual document.

Thus, you can always be sure that HelpSmith will export the Table of Contents and the topics to the printed version of your documentation properly.

Download HelpSmith

You can download HelpSmith and start creating help files and documentation in multiple formats. For new users, HelpSmith includes sample help projects that will help you get started with the product quickly.

Detail Value
Product HelpSmith 8.4 (Build 20.825)
Filename HelpSmithSetup.exe
File size 40 MB
Platform Windows 10/8/7