Create and use variables for easy updates

Learn how to create, edit, and manage a variable, and insert a variable in a topic or a master page in RoboHelp.

A variable is a text phrase or word that serves as a reusable piece of information, simultaneously used across multiple topics in your project. This makes your content portable and easy to update. When you modify a variable or its value, every occurrence of that variable or value is updated across the project.

Create a variable

A variable is a text phrase to which you assign a value. Follow these steps to create a variable in your open project:

  1. In the Author toolbar, click Variables. The Variables panel opens.

  2. In the Variables panel, click  . The Define Variable dialog box opens.

  3. In the Define Variable dialog box, specify the Name of the variable and its corresponding text value in Value.

  4. Click Done.


The variable created does not get removed by Undo (Ctrl + Z).

Edit a variable

To edit a variable in RoboHelp, follow these steps:

  1. In the Author toolbar, click Variables. The Variables panel opens.

  2. In the Variables panel, click Options  next to the desired variable.

  3. Select Edit in the given Options list.

  4. In the Edit Variable dialog box, you can edit the Name and Value of the selected variable.

  5. Click Done.


If you rename any variable, RoboHelp simultaneously updates all the references wherever applicable. For example, Topic titles, Topic content, Table of Contents, Output Presets titles, Variable Sets, and so on.

Insert a variable

To insert or use a variable in an open topic or master page:

  1. To open a topic:

    In the Author toolbar, select Contents and open a topic of your choice from the Contents panel.

    To open a master page:

    In the Author toolbar, select Master Pages and open a master page of your choice from the Master Pages panel.

  2. Select Variables in the Author toolbar. The Variables panel opens.

  3. Select a variable from the Variables panel. Now drag-and-drop the selected variable at the desired text location in the open topic or master page.

    Alternatively, press Ctrl+1. From the Variable dialog box, you can filter variables by typing the first few alphabets. Press the upward and downward arrow keys to navigate through the list of variables. Press Enter to insert a variable. 

  4. Click the Save All icon  at the left side of the standard toolbar.

Convert text to variables

An alternative way to add a variable is to select a portion of a text and then add the selection as a value. For example, if you have a product that has a lengthy name and you want to reuse the name in multiple places, you can highlight the product and add it as a value.

This workflow also serves as a shortcut in creating a variable.

This is how you'd add a selection to a variable:

  1. In a topic, select the text that you want to add as variable.
  2. Right-click the selection.
  3. In the context menu, click Add to Variable.
  4. In the Define Variable dialog, specify the variable that must be mapped to the selection.

The gif below demonstrates this workflow.

Delete a variable

  1. In the Author toolbar, click Variables. The Variables panel opens.

  2. In the Variables panel, click Options  next to the desired variable.

  3. Select Delete in the Options list.

  4. Click Yes in the Confirm dialog box to delete the selected variable.

  5. If the variable is referenced in your project, you are prompted to choose among the listed three options:

    • Delete the variable and its references - Deletes the variable and all its occurrences in the project.
    • Delete only the variable - Deletes only the variable. This retains the references of the variable in the project.
    • Delete variable and replace references with actual content - Deletes the variable and replaces all its occurrences with the variable value.
  6. Select the relevant option and click Done.

Generate Variables report

You can generate a Variables report to view and manage variables in your project. Using this report you can find variables that are used in a topic and those that are not used in any topic. Before you delete a variable, you can locate the topics in which the variable is used and delete references to that variable.

You can then download or print the Variables report.

  1. In the Author toolbar, select Reports. The Reports panel opens.

  2. In the Reports panel, select Variables.

  3. Use the Filters panel on the right side of the screen to customize the report. To know more, see Customize a report.

  4. Step text
  5. Once you've customized the Variables report based on your needs, click the Download icon  in the standard toolbar to instantly download the report. The report is saved as a .csv file.

  6. To print the report, click the Print icon  in the standard toolbar.

Search and preview a variable

In the Variables panel, you can search and preview the value of a variable. It searches both the variable name and its value. From the results, right-click a variable, and click Preview.

The preview of the value displays.

Search and preview a variable
Search and preview a variable

The gif below demonstrates the search and preview workflow.

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