Customize PDF in Adobe RoboHelp

Learn how to customize a PDF output in Adobe RoboHelp.

A PDF output follows the general structure of a book, and consists of the following: 

  • Front matter: A front matter contains the cover page, Table of Contents (TOC), and other pages, such as introduction, preface, table of figures, naming convention, and so on.
  • Chapters: Chapters are individual topics that are arranged in a sequence defined in the TOC. 
  • Back matter: A back matter contains an index, glossary, bibliography, appendix, or a back cover.

In addition to defining the above, you can set the dimensions of a page (in or cm), left and right margins, different layouts for left and right pages, a header and footer for every page, and so on.  

Apart from the visual elements, you can specify other settings like password, watermark, image compression, font embedding, and so on. 

Table of Contents

The Table of Contents defines the structure of your PDF. There are two types of TOC in RoboHelp online and book formats. If you use the TOC in an online help, then the topic contents appear only in the chapter format. To access the front and back matters, you must use the book TOC.

See Create and manage a Table of Contents on how to work with a book TOC.


A Cascading Style Stylesheet (CSS) is used for styling the content. You can associate CSS with a topic. 


Topics can have different stylesheets. When a PDF is being generated, all stylesheets get merged. 

For example, if topic A and topic B have the stylesheets topic_a.css and topic_b.css, when the PDF generates, both topic A and topic B are applied as a combined (topic_a + topic_b) CSS.


The TOC, Index, and Glossary are auto-generated in the PDF. You can define your own styles to customize the appearance of these pages. The class names are available in book.css.

To get this file, create a new project, and extract it from there.

book.css styles
View styles in book.css file

If you want, you can copy the class names from book.css and merge them in your own stylesheet file. The details for the various classes are available in Front Matter and Back Matter sections.

Class sections
View available class names

PDF Output Preset

The PDF output preset brings everything together for the PDF. You select the TOC, specify content-specific settings for different sections, and define various PDF settings. For more details, see Generate PDF output.

Front Matter

A front matter has the following pages. You can specify and order the pages in the book TOC. 

Cover Page

The cover page is usually the first page in the PDF. You author the page as a conventional topic and then add the page in the TOC as a cover page.

TOC Page

You can include a TOC page in the project TOC as part of the front matter. If the TOC page is included, then the TOC page is generated based on the project TOC that you had specified in the output preset. 

The layout of the page remains fixed (see the image below). You can define the page title in the properties panel of the project TOC. You can then style the content based on the classes defined for the TOC page in the book.css.  

The hierarchy of the TOC is based on the option that you select from the Layout tab of the output preset.

TOC Structure
View TOC Structure in Layout tab

If you select the heading levels, then the hierarchy can be up to six levels. If the chapter and topic titles option are selected, then the hierarchy is limited to only two levels. 

The following image provides the class association details to help with the styling.

Class association details
View class association details

The image below provides the class association details to help with the styling.

Number Class
1 div.pdf-toc-body 
2 h1.pdf-toc-title 
3 a.pdf-toc-level-1 
4 a.pdf-toc-level-2 


Other Pages

You can add any number of topics in the front matter as an Other Page. For example, you can add pages, such as an abstract, a preface, and so on, before the beginning of the chapters. 


If you do not want any page to appear in the generated TOC, then enable the option Hide in Output for the topic in the project TOC.

Hide output
To hide a page


In the project TOC, you can define the hierarchical sections and topics between Front Matter and Back Matter. 

All top-level sections and topics become chapters, all child topics and sections get merged, and become a flat list of pages

You will find more options to control how to start any chapter on a new page in the Layout section of the output preset. 

Page start
Options to start a chapter

Back Matter

The back matter has the following pages, which you can specify and order in the Book TOC.

Index Page

You can insert an Index Page in the project TOC as part of the Back Matter. The index page is then generated based on the index data defined in the project. The layout of the page remains fixed (see image below). 

You can define the page title in the properties panel of the project TOC.

Page layout
View Page layout

You can style the content based on the classes defined for the index page in book.css. The image below provides the class association details to help with the styling. 

Number Class


Glossary Page

You can include a glossary page in the project TOC as part of the Back Matter. The glossary page is then generated based on the project glossary file that you’ve specified in the output preset. The layout of the page remains fixed (see image below). 

You can also define the page title in the properties panel of the project TOC.  You can style the content based on the classes defined for the glossary page in book.css. 

Glossary page
View of Glossary page

The table below provides the class association details to help with the styling.

Number Class


Other Pages

You can add as many topics as you want, for example, a bibliography or an appendix, in the back matter as an Other Page. As mentioned above you can style these pages with the associated stylesheet defined for the pages in the back matter in the output preset.


If you do not want any page to appear in the generated TOC, then enable the option Hide in Output for the topic in the project TOC.


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