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Creating Links to External Documents

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In your documentation, you can create links to external webpages and documents, such as Adobe PDF documents, Microsoft Word (.DOCX, .DOC, .RTF) documents, Microsoft Excel (.XLS) spreadsheets, and other files.

 

Upload the Document to Your Web Server


To create links to an external document, it is recommended that you first upload the document to your web server. This will provide that the end-users of your documentation will be able to access the linked document on any computer, and the external link will work in all modern web browsers.

 

Depending on the file type of the linked document, the HTML Help (CHM) or Web Help system will either open the linked document (for example, for PDF files) in the help viewer or web browser program, or will suggest the user to download the file or open it in the associated application (for example, for .DOCX, .DOC or .XLS files).

 

The links referring to an external webpage or document that is located on a web server by its URL address (via the "http://" or "https://" protocol) correctly work in HTML Help (CHM), Web Help, Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word, and ePub eBook documentation formats.

 

Inserting Hyperlinks to External Documents into a Topic


In a topic, you can link to an external webpage or document by using a regular hyperlink of the "Web Page" type:

1.In the word processor, put the text cursor where you want to insert a hyperlink, or select the text that you want to make a hyperlink.

2.On the Insert tab, in the Links group, click Hyperlink.

3.In the dialog, in the left sidebar, click Web Page.

4.In the Text to Display box, enter the hyperlink text.

5.In the Address box, enter the URL address of the webpage or document that you want to link to.
For example: http://www.example.com/docs/document.pdf

6.In the Target Frame box, specify where the linked webpage or document should be opened.

7.Click OK.

 

Remark: In a Web Help system the current topic or external document is displayed in an "iframe" element. However, some websites may restrict the possibility to embed and display their pages in "iframe" on another website. In such a case, you can set the Target Frame parameter as New Window, or Whole Page, so the linked webpage will be displayed in a new tab/window in a web browser, or on the same tab instead of the entire help system.

 

Linking to an External Document from the Table of Contents


In the Table of Contents of your help system, you can link to an external webpage or document by using a TOC item of the "Web Page" type:

1.On the Project tab, in the Topics & Templates group, click Add.

2.In the dialog, in the left sidebar, click Web Page.

3.In the Title box, enter a title for the new TOC item.

4.In the Address box, enter the URL address of the webpage or document that you want to link to.
For example: http://www.example.com/docs/document.pdf

5.In the Target Frame box, specify where the linked webpage or document should be opened.

6.Click OK.

 

Remark: In a Web Help system the current topic or external document is displayed in an "iframe" element. However, some websites may restrict the possibility to embed and display their pages in "iframe" on another website. In such a case, you can set the Target Frame parameter as New Window, or Whole Page, so the linked webpage will be displayed in a new tab/window in a web browser, or on the same tab instead of the entire help system.

 

Linking to Documents on the Local Computer


It is also possible to link to files located on the local computer via the "file://" protocol (for example, file://c:\docs\document.pdf). However, using the "file://" protocol to link to local files is not recommended because:

It does not provide that the users of your documentation will be able to access such a linked file on another computer.

It is impossible to use relative paths to link to local files from an HTML Help (CHM) file.

Links to local files can be blocked by modern web browsers for security reasons.

 

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