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Advanced tips for printing

Help to RTF is not capable of printing helpfiles by itself. It is possible to print the complete contents of a compiled helpfile without preprocessing, but the hard copy output is generally far less useful than hard copy from a document formatted specifically for printing. This is why Help to RTF offers pre-print conversion options in addition to its decompilation options.

Microsofts RTF (Rich Text Format) file format is a supported document format in virtually all quality word processors. RTF is the document format used for generating source text for helpfiles, and it is also the format Help to RTF uses as the output format for print-enhanced documents.

You will need an RTF capable word processor to print the RTF files generated by Help to RTF. Microsoft Word, Microsoft Works, Corel or Novell WordPerfect, Borland Ami Pro, The Free Microsoft Word 97 Viewer and Windows 95s built-in WordPad word processor are all capable of loading and printing RTF files.

When Help to RTF prepares RTF files for printing it leaves out several types of data which are generally needed only for the creation of compiled helpfiles. Heres a brief list of what is omitted in pre-print preparation:

Help-specific footnotes are ignored, jumps are not marked and invisible text will not be recreated.

Bitmaps will be included as part of the RTF file wherever possible.

Each RTF file will contain a header designed to provide page numbering in the printout. Note that helpfiles processed into several RTF files will generate page numbers on a file-by-file basis, so the page numbers will not be unique unless you specifically request the generation of a single RTF file.

Help to RTF attempts to include as many custom controls or embedded window bitmaps as possible whenever a helpfile or Multimedia Viewer title makes use of these special extensions, but it will not print out every image in a dynamic (content-changeable) embedding or every frame of an animation. Only the first image seen when the topic is loaded will be converted for print, since you cant practically animate a printed document without the enormous waste of paper required for flip-book style animation conversion.

The generation of page numbers, indices and tables of contents will require Microsoft Word to be used as the word processor from which the printout is made. Help to RTF generates page reference and index field control codes which are specific to Word. Newer import filters from other word processors such as WordPerfect and Lotus Pro may support these features as part of their MS Word compatibility software but this is by no means guaranteed.

Help to RTF includes a small template document for word, HLP2RTF.DOT, whose purpose is to force Word to update these fields properly. Updating index and contents fields can be a time-consuming process and you only need to do it once per document, right before printing it. After loading your extracted RTF document into Word, it is recommended that you save the document as a Word .DOC file and detach the HLP2RTF.DOT template from this document to accelerate future editing and field updates.