Format your content

Learn how to format your content to enhance its readability and presentation.

Adobe RoboHelp allows you to easily add text, images, tables, videos, links, and more. You can also format inline text, characters, paragraphs, and tables, and display them your way. The formatting options are available in the Standard Toolbar and the Content Properties panel. Read Apply formatting to learn more.

To have a quick preview of your changes, you can click Preview icon  in the Standard toolbar.

Add text and other elements

The 'Standard Toolbar' provides options to add text and other elements such as lists, tables, special characters, expanding text, drop-down text, images, and more to a topic. Refer to the table below to learn about the various elements that you can add to your topic using the Standard Toolbar. 

Standard Toolbar Options

Icon  Formatting option Description
Bulleted List Styles
Format content as an unordered list. See Work with lists.
Numbered List Styles Format steps, activities, and tasks as an ordered list. See Work with lists.
Multilevel List Styles Format content as an unordered or ordered list of multiple levels. See Work with lists.
Insert Table Add tables to organize data and showcase content in a simplified format. You can organize text and multimedia in a table, highlight them using different colors, and more. See Work with tables.
Insert Image Add images in various formats, such as PNG, JPEG, WEBP, and SVG. You can add images from your project, local files, and web links. See Work with images and multimedia.
Insert Multimedia Add videos, including Adobe Captivate videos, from your computer, YouTube, and Vimeo. See Add videos.
Insert Link Add Cross Reference to internal content or Hyperlinks to internal content (topics in your project) and to external content (local files, emails, or web pages). See Create and manage links.
Insert Bookmark It inserts the selected content as a bookmark. You can use these bookmarks to create intra-topic links.
Insert Variables/Snippet/Fields Add variables, snippets, and fields in your topic to single-source content and quickly update different types of outputs. See Create and use variables and Single-source with snippets.

Insert Special Character Add various characters to your text. Choose from various fractional numbers, shapes, and icons. See Work with special characters.
insert placeholder.png
Insert Placeholder

Add following different types of placeholders in your topic or master page from the drop-down list:

Insert HTML Elements Add HTML elements, such as Horizontal Line, iframe, and Text Box to control the appearance and layout of content.
Create Expanding Text Add additional text in expandable form near specific content portions. You click the highlighted content portions in the output to show/hide the additional text. See Work with expanding text.
Create Drop-down Text Add drop-down text to specific content portions. You click the highlighted content portions in the output to show/hide the drop-down text. See Work with drop-down text.

Work with lists

You can create bulleted or numbered lists and apply other enhancements, such as adjusting the indent, adding color, or adding a paragraph within a list. To create a list, select the desired text and do one of the following:

  • To create a bulleted list, click Bulleted List Styles  in the standard toolbar and choose a style from the drop-down list. 
  • To create a numbered list, click Numbered List Styles  in the standard toolbar and choose a style from the drop-down list.
  • To create a numbered or bulleted list containing multiple levels, click Multilevel List Styles  in the standard toolbar and choose a style from the drop-down list.
    • To create a sublevel list, select the text and press Tab. Or, from the Content Properties panel > Font tab > Indent section, click the Increase Indent icon.
    • To remove list formatting, click , or  in the standard toolbar, and select the None style.

Work with tables

To insert a table:

  1. In an open topic, place the cursor at the desired location and click Insert Table  icon from the standard toolbar.
  2. Drag your cursor over the drop-down table grid to select the required number of rows and columns.
    The selected rows and columns are highlighted in blue.
  3. Click to insert the selected rows and columns in your topic.

Once you create a table, you can perform the following actions to modify it.

Convert to header

To convert an existing row or column into the header:

  1. Select a row or column that you want to use as header row or column.
  2. Right-click and choose Convert to Header.

Remove header

  1. Select the header cells of a row or column.
  2. Right-click and choose Remove Header.

Add or delete rows and columns

To add or remove a row or column in your table, select at the desired location and then right-click.

  • To add rows, click Insert > Row Above or Row Below and to add columns, click Column to the Left or Columns to the Right.
  • To add cells, click Insert > Cell to the Left or Cell to the Right.
  • To delete rows, columns, cells, or the entire table, click Delete, and select the suitable option.

Merge cells

To merge cells:

  • Place the cursor in a cell and select multiple cells by holding arrow key along with shift key, Or
  • Use your mouse to select the cells, then right-click and choose Merge > Cells.

Split cells

To split cells in a table:

  1. Place the cursor in the cell you want to split.
  2. Right-click and choose SplitCells Horizontally or Cells Vertically, depending on how you want to split the cell.

Manage column width

You can automatically adjust your table or columns to fit the size of the content. To do so, right-click anywhere on the table and:

  • Select Column Width > AutoFit to Contents to resize the cells to fit their content.
  • Select Column Width > AutoFit to Window to stretch the table across the page to fit the topic. 
  • Select Column Width > Fixed Width to set the width of the columns manually.
  • Select Column Width > Distribute Evenly to set equal width of columns.

Select tables cells, rows, and columns

  • To select a row in a table, right-click anywhere in the row and choose Select > Row.
  • To select a column in a table, right-click anywhere in the column and choose Select > Column.
  • To select an individual cell, right-click on the cell and choose Select > Cell.
  • To select an entire table, right-click anywhere in the table and choose Select > Table.

Note: You may also select rows, columns, cells, or a table using the mouse or the editor breadcrumbs in the bar above the topic page.

Format tables

To apply other table formattings, right-click the table and choose Select > Table. It opens the 'Content Properties' panel with following formatting options:

  • Table Width. To resize the width of the entire table, specify the Table Width.
  • Column Width. Select the column number that you want to resize and then specify the width.
  • Row Height. Select the row number that you want to resize, click the Row Height box, and then specify the height.
  • Templates. Select a style from the Tables Styles gallery and click it to apply to your table.
  • Table Caption. You may add a caption to the table. Use the following icons to select the positioning of the caption:
    • Displays the caption above the table.
    • Displays the caption below the table.
    •  Removes the caption from the table.

Alignment options

In the Layout section of the Table Properties panel, you can align the text both vertically and horizontally. Use the Horizontal and Vertical Alignment controls.

Note: If you want to align left or right with text wrapping, then you must use Float left or right option in the Layout section.

Work with special characters

The 'Insert Special Character' option allows you to search for and insert special characters from a categorized set of characters.

  1. In an open topic, place the cursor at the desired location and click Insert Special Character  icon from the standard toolbar. 
    Alternatively, press CTRL+4 to insert special characters.

  2. Select one of the following options from the drop-down list:

    • Arrows
    • Currency Symbols
    • Extended ASCII
    • Miscellaneous
    • Number Forms
    • Punctuation
    • Special Characters
  3. Hover over a character to see its full readable name. Then, choose the character you want to insert and double-click on it or click Insert.
    The symbol will be added at the cursor's point. You may also search for a specific character by typing a name in the Find Box.

  4. Click Close.

Work with expanding text

In a content-heavy topic, you can use expanding text to add additional text next to any content portion. The additional text can be viewed in expanded or collapsed state in the output. To insert expanding text:

  1. In an open topic, select the text you want to expand and click Create Expanding Text  in the standard toolbar.

    The selected text becomes the title of the expanding text. A placeholder for the content appears.

  2. In the placeholder, specify the content of the expanding text.

  3. Manage expanding texts in the following ways:

    • Toggle the display of the boundary of all expanding text placeholders in your topic: Choose View > Show > Expanding/Drop-down Text Boundary.
    • Toggle the display of a specific expanding text placeholder: Right-click the text header and click Show Expanding Text or Hide Expanding Text
    • Remove an expanding text: Right-click the text header and click Remove Expanding Text
    • Collapse or expand an expanding text: Double-click the text header.
    • Collapse or expand all expanding texts in your topic: Right-click any expanding text header and click Collapse All Text or Expand All Text.
    • Set separate text for the title of an expanding text in collapsed state: Click the expanding text. In the Content Properties panel > Text when collapsed field, type the new title. As expanding texts are collapsed by default, in your output, the new title is displayed in the collapsed state. On expanding the text, the original text on which the expanding text was created is displayed.
    • Add twisty images. Refer to Add or edit twisty images.
  4. Click the Save All icon  in the standard toolbar.

In a content-heavy topic, you can add drop-down text to specific content portions. To add drop-down text:

  1. In an open topic, select the text you want to drop down, and then click Create Drop-down Text  in the standard toolbar.

    The selected text becomes the title of the drop-down text. A placeholder for the content appears below the selected text.

  2. In the placeholder, specify the content of the drop-down text.

  3. Manage drop-down texts in the following ways:

    • Toggle the display of the boundary of all drop-down text placeholders in your topic: Choose View > Show > Expanding/Drop-down Text Boundary.
    • Toggle the display of a specific drop-down text placeholder: Right-click the text header and click Show Drop-down Text or Hide Drop-down Text
    • Remove a drop-down text: Right-click the text header and click Remove Drop-down Text
    • Collapse or expand a drop-down text: Double-click the text header.
    • Collapse or expand all drop-down texts in your topic: Right-click any drop-down text header and click Collapse All Text or Expand All Text.
    • Set separate text for the title of a drop-down text in collapsed state: Click the drop-down text. In the Content Properties panel > Text when collapsed field, type the new title. As drop-down texts are collapsed by default, in your output, the new title is displayed in the collapsed state. On expanding the text, the original text on which the drop-down text was created is displayed.
    • Add twisty images. Refer to Add or edit twisty images.
  4. Click the Save All icon  at the left of the standard toolbar.

Add or edit twisty images

Twisty images are images that you can add for expanded and collapsed states of expanding text, drop-down text, or topic TOCs. You can view the respective images in expanded and collapsed states in the preview and the output. To add twisty images:

  1. In the Styles panel, select Hyperlink Styles from the drop-down list.
  2. Click  against a Hyperlink style that you want to apply.
  3. In the Style Properties panel, click the 'Twisties' drop-down button. It opens the Twisties panel where you can add images for expanded and collapsed states.
  4. Click the  icon against Image when Expanded box to open the 'Insert Image' dialog box. Select an image from your project files, local files, or via web link. Then, click Insert. The image will be inserted for expanded state.
  5. Click the  icon against Image when Collapsed box and repeat the above step to insert an image for a collapsed state.
  6. Click  to place images at the start of text (default) or  to place images at the end of text. 
  7. Click the Save All icon  in the standard toolbar.
  8. In an open topic, select the expanding or drop-down text or 'Caption' in a topic TOC where you want to apply twisty images.
  9. Open the Hyperlink Styles list in the styles panel and click the edited Hyperlink style. The twisty style is applied to the text and can be viewed in the preview and output. 
Note:

Once you set twisty images for a particular hyperlink style, you can apply the same twisty images to different items by applying the same hyperlink style from the Styles panel. 

Apply formatting

You can edit font type and style, character spacing, indent, color, and other standard formattings using the Content Properties and Styles panels on the right bar. To view the 'Content Properties' panel, in the Author window, select Contents  and then double-click a topic to open it. It will display the default 'Content Properties' panel.

Configure content properties

The Content Properties panel allows you to apply following standard formatting to your content.

Work with text elements

In your topic, click or select an element to view its type in the Type field. For example, selecting a topic title displays h1 (Heading 1) as the type and a paragraph displays p as the type.

For a selected element displayed in the Type field, you can:

  • Edit the formatting, apply the same formatting to all other elements of the same class across your project, and update the style sheet. To do so, click the Update Style icon next to the Type field. 
    For example, the default font (according to the style sheet) of a topic title is Arial 20 points. You may change the font to 'Adobe Clean 24' points, and apply it to all topic titles in your project, and update the style sheet by clicking Update Style.
  • Clear the current formatting by selecting the text and clicking  next to the Type field or choosing Edit > Clear Formatting from the menu bar.
    For example, suppose that you change the font from its default (Arial 20 points) to Adobe Clean 24 points but did not update the style sheet. To restore the default font of Arial 20 points, select the text and click .

Define attributes

Attributes panel allows you to assign content ID, Class, translation attribute, and condition tags. You can use the 'Translate' attribute to decide whether to translate the text element or not. To apply tags, select the text and click Apply Tags. It opens the 'Apply Condition Tags' diaglog box. From the drop-down list, click the tag that you want to apply. The selected tag appears in the right pane of the box. Next, click Apply.

Format text

To format text, click the 'Font' drop-down section. This panel has the following options:

  • Font Family. Use the drop-down list to select your desired font type. You can modify the fonts list in the Project settings.
  • Text Decoration. You may choose to underline, overline, or line-through the selected text.
  • Font Size. Enter your desired font size or use the increment and decrement buttons to automatically change the current size. 
  • Font Style. Use the drop-down list to select your desired font style such as italic, oblique, and more.
  • Text Style. You may format the selected text as bold, italics, underline, superscript, or subscript.
  • Font Color. You can change the font color using any of these two methods:
    • Color dialog box. It allows you to choose a specific color from either a set of predefined color swatches or by generating a custom color value. Refer to Use color dialog box.
    • Eyedropper. It allows you to pick any color from your screen and apply to your content. To do so, place the cursor where you want to color, click the eyedropper icon  and hover over the desired pixels on your screen and click. If you do not want to pick a color, right-click your mouse or press 'Escape' key. The color dropper also works on a multi-monitor setup in case you want to choose colors across multiple monitors.
  • Line Height. Use the drop-down list to choose a line height.
  • Letter Spacing. Enter your desired letter spacing.
  • Text Alignment. You may choose one of the given options to align your text left, center, right, or justify.
  • Indent. Use the respective icon to increase or decrease the distance between margin and content.

Work with borders

To add and edit borders to your content, click the 'Border' drop-down section. The Borders panel has following options:

  • Border Side. Choose the icon corresponding to the sides for which you want to apply borders.
  • Style. Use the drop-down list to select your preferred border style.
  • Border Color. Click the Change Color icon to select the preferred border color or specify RGB codes.
  • Width. Enter a value for the width of your border in a desired unit of measurement (px, pt, rem, em, or %). Or use the up and down arrows to change the width.
  • Radius. It allows you to round the corners of the border. Enter a value to evenly round all four corners of your border. To do specific rounding for each corner, click the lock icon and then assign a desired value against the icon for each corner.

Format the layout

To format the layout of your content, click the 'Layout' drop-down section. The Layout panel has the following options:

  • Height. Specify the height of the content or use the up and down arrows to increase and decrease the height. 
  • Width. Specify the width of the content or use the up and down arrows to increase and decrease the height. 
  • Margin. Specify a value for a uniform margin on all four sides. Or click the Lock icon to assign different margins for different sides.  
  • Padding. Specify a value to apply padding on all four sides, which is the space between the border and the content within. Or click the Lock icon  to assign different padding for different sides.  
  • Vertical Alignment. You may choose to align your content to the top, middle, or bottom.
  • Float. It is used for content positioning and layout on the web pages. Select a float value from the drop-down list. None indicates that the element does not float, while 'left' and 'right' indicates the direction of the container to which the content floats.
  • Clear. It specifies which elements can float beside the cleared element and on which side. Select a clear value from the drop-down list:
    • both Indicates that no floating elements are allowed on either left or right side
    • None Indicates that floating elements are allowed on both the left and right sides
    • left and right Indicate that no floating elements are allowed on the left or the right side
  • Position. Select a desired display position from the list of options.
  • Display. Select a display style from the list of options.
  • Column Span. Specify if your content should span across all columns or no columns.

Note: When assigning values for different parameters, you may select one of these units of measurement: px (pixels), pt (points), rem, em, or %.

Format the background

To format your content background, click the 'Background' drop-down section. The Background panel has the following options:

  • Shading. Click  to choose your preferred background color. You can also enter the color code in this field. Black is the default background color.
  • Image Path. Insert a background image by browsing through your computer.
  • Image Size. Specify a value in the Height or Width section to set the size of the background image. Or click the   icon to provide different values for Height and Width.
  • Background Repeat. Select an option from the drop-down menu to apply repetition of the background in the desired way.

Other formatting options

  • To copy the formatting of selected content, choose Edit > Copy Formatting. Then, select the content to which you want to apply the copied formatting.
  • To remove the formatting of selected content, choose Edit > Clear Formatting. The selected content displays the default formatting.
  • To save the changes, click the Save All icon  in the standard toolbar.

Apply Styles

Once you add content to your topics, you can use 'Styles' to add predefined styles to your content, edit the styles, add new styles, and preview the styles. For instance, you can use the "Heading 1" style for your topic heading and "minitoc-caption" style for the TOC captions.

View and apply styles

To view and apply styles:

  1. Click the styles icon  from the right side toolbar.
    It opens the 'STYLES' panel that contains all the styling options. 
  2. Click the drop-down arrow on the top-left corner of the panel and select the Style class that you want to view, or select 'All Styles' to display the entire list of all styles.
  3. Place the cursor where you want to apply the class and click the desired style from the list.
    The content will reflect the selected style.

Edit the styles

To modify the predefined styles:

  1. Hover over the style that you want to modify and click the Edit icon against it.
    The selected style opens in the CSS editor where you can make all the changes and save.
  2. When you modify a style in the CSS editor, you can view the modifications in the Preview panel. 
  3. Once you verify a modified style, click the Save icon.

Add new styles

To add a new style:

  1. Click the 'Add Style' icon in the top-right corner of the Styles panel.
    It opens the stylesheet associated with the topic for editing and add the style there. If more than one stylesheet is associated with a topic then the first one is opened.
  2. In the stylesheet editor, define the style by choosing the appropriate options.
  3. Click Done.

Preview styles

The Show Style Preview icon on the Styles panel allows you to toggle between 'Show Style Preview' and 'Show Style Name' to view or hide the styles preview. When you select 'Show preview styles,' each style name reflects its corresponding style.

Use color dialog box

The Color dialog box allows you to choose a specific color either from a set of basic color palette or by generating a custom color. 

  1. Choose one of the three color modes: HEX, RGB, or HSB. 
  2. Pick a color using one of the below two methods:
    • Choose a color from the grid of predefined color swatches (E). You may hover over a color swatch to see the color name and its associated color value in the chosen color mode. The first swatch visible in the list of predefined swatches represent None or No Fill . To remove any selected color, click "None."
      You can modify this grid of color swatches in the Project settings.
    • Create your own color using color values or gradient bars. For HEX color mode, type a hexadecimal number (such as #0000FF) in the given blank space. For RGB or HSB color modes, provide values against the three constituent components. 
  3. Optionally, set the opacity of the color using the Alpha component (D) or by dragging the Fill transparency bar (B). The Alpha parameter is a number between 0 (fully transparent) and 100 (fully opaque). 
  4. Click Done.
Color Dialog Box
Color Dialog Box

Remove text attributes

Text attributes refers to inline styles and tag attributes, such as variables, snippets, span tags, and hyperlinks that are inserted in a paragraph. You can remove these by selecting each one of them, or bulk remove them across a section of your content by following these steps:

  1. In an open topic, select some text or a paragraph from the breadcrumbs to remove the attributes from.
  2. Right-click the selected text and from the context menu, select Remove Text Attributes.
    Alternatively, you can right-click the paragraph or element tag from the breadcrumbs of the topic editor and select Remove Text Attributes.
  3. In the Remove Text Attributes dialog box, select all the attributes or just the ones you want to remove. Click Remove.
    This removes the attributes and converts the content as plain text.
An illustration of how to remove the text attributes
An illustration of how to remove the text attributes

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