The Fastrack in Robohelp

Your help authoring can become much more efficient if you learn the necessary shortcuts. Similar to my previous columns, keyboard shortcuts are not an "all or nothing" affair. Learn the shortcuts that make your help authoring easier. Although I have only worked with Robohelp, I think it is safe to assume that other help authoring tools utilize similar shortcuts. Whenever you need to learn a new help authoring application, or any application for that matter, always experiment with the various shortcuts offered.

The Fastrack in Robohelp

Let's try editing, compiling, and viewing a Robohelp HTML project included with the pre-packaged samples. I chose Robohelp HTML because I find it less confusing and easier to use, but almost all of the same shortcuts apply to Robohelp Classic as well. As always, my exercises are performed solely with the keyboard!

  1. Perform the following steps:
    1. Type Start + D to view the Desktop
    2. Navigate with the arrow keys to the Robohelp HTML icon.
    3. Type Enter to open the application. The Robohelp HTML window appears.
  2. Perform the following steps:
    1. Type the Up arrow to locate more files and Enter.
    2. Type Shift + Tab, down arrow, and Enter. The Open Project window appears.
    3. Type the down arrow to locate the project file easy international cusine.xpj then type Enter.
  3. Type Ctrl + 2 to view the TOC.
  4. Type down arrow once, then the right arrow to open the Getting Started book.
  5. Repeat step 4 to open the next two books Asian Cuisine and Mexican Cuisine.
  6. Locate the topic About Asian Cuisine with the arrows; type Ctrl + up arrow until you've moved it beneath the topic Tools you may need.
  7. Repeat step 6; this time to move the topic About Mexican Cuisine beneath About Asian Cuisine.
  8. Locate the topic Burritos and type Enter to open it.
  9. Preview this topic as is by typing Ctrl + W; you can scroll with the arrow keys through the different conditional text options. Type Esc to close the preview.
  10. Perform the following steps:
    1. Returning to the topic Burritos, scroll with the arrow keys to the bulleted list, between 2 large garlic cloves, minced and 2 15-ounce cans.
    2. Type Enter to add a new bullet, and add the words 1 package of firm tofu cubed.
    3. Highlight this bullet by typing Shift + Ctrl + down arrow.
    4. Type Context key, scroll to Apply Conditional Build Tag, Vegetarian and type Enter to apply
      the conditional tag.
    5. Preview your topic (Ctrl + W); the bullet should appear only under the conditions Not Meat and Not Meat and Not Online.

11. Type Ctrl +1 to jump to Project View; navigate with the arrows to Single Source Layouts and open them.

12. Navigate to the layout WebHelp – Vegetarian; type the Context key + S to make it the primary layout.

13. Compile the project by typing Ctrl +M, then type Alt + V to view it..

A Summary of Robohelp Keyboard Shortcuts

The table below summarizes most of the Robohelp keyboard shortcuts. The shortcuts are common to both unless I specify otherwise. In Robohelp Classic, you may also use any Word formatting shortcuts as well.

Desired Action


Book Properties

Alt + Enter

Compile Project

Ctrl + M

Edit Topic

Ctrl + E (HTML only)


Ctrl + H

Format Font

Ctrl + D

Format Paragraph

Shift  + Ctrl + D

Glossary View

Ctrl + 4

Image Workshop

Alt + 1 (in Classic only)

Index View

Ctrl + 3

Insert/modify Image

Ctrl + G

Link View

Alt + 2

Minimize, Maximize, Restore menu

Alt + Spacebar

(Especially useful in Classic when many topics are opened simultaneously.)

Move topics in TOC

Ctrl + arrow keys

New "What's This" Topic

Ctrl +W (Classis only)

New Topic

Ctrl + T

Open and close topics and options

Arrow keys

Output View

Shift + Ctrl + R (HTML only)

Preview Topic

Ctrl +W (HTML only)

Project Settings

Shift + Ctrl +?

Project View

Ctrl + 1

Tile Word or Toggle between Robohelp Explorer and Topic

Alt + 0 (Classic only)

TOC View

Ctrl + 2

Tools View

Ctrl + 5

Topic Properties

Ctrl + E (Classic only)

Topics View

Alt + 1 (in HTML), Alt +3 (in Classic)

True Code

Alt +3 (in HTML only)

View Compiled Project

Ctrl + R


Alt + 4 (in HTML only)

Next time: We return to MS Office; this time focusing on Outlook.

I always welcome your comments and suggestions. Please email me at ]]