Customizing Your Doc-To-Help Targets Part 1: Source Documents are Word Documents

If your Source Documents are Microsoft Word Documents, this post explains which Word templates you need to edit in order to customize your Doc-To-Help output.

There are two types of templates used in Doc-To-Help projects. They both have different roles:

  • Source Templates – These are the templates used when working in your Source documents. Unless you feel strongly about the way your Source documents look, you don’t need to edit your Source Templates.
  • Target Templates – These are the templates that control how your Targets will look. You should edit the appropriate Target Template to change the look of your Targets.

The Word Templates included with Doc-To-Help all have the file extension of .dot.

The following chart explains how Doc-To-Help Word Source/Target templates work together. Each Source Template has a corresponding Target Template.

Please note that you should *always* create a customized template by starting with the appropriate Doc-To-Help Template.

Examples of common customizations would include changing the Heading 1 text color from black to blue, or the Body Text font from Times New Roman to Calibri.

When working with Word Source Files, if you want to.

  • Change the look of your Word Source documents – Edit the Source Template (Column 1)
  • Change the look of your Printed Manual Target – Edit the Printed Manual Target Template (Column 2)
  • Change the look of your NetHelp/HTML Help/JavaHelp/Help 2.0 Target – Edit C1H_HTML.DOT (Column 3)
  • Change the look of your WinHelp Target – Edit C1H_HELP.DOT (Column 3)

For the majority of projects, you will use C1H_NOMARGIN.DOT as your Source Template. C1H_PRNOMARGIN.DOT will be the Target Template for your Manual Targets, and C1H_HTML.DOT will be the Target Template for your online Help (C1H_HELP.DOT if you create WinHelp). Therefore, you will most likely be editing C1H_PRNOMARGIN.DOT and C1H_HTML.DOT.

Remember to save them as different names after making edits. For example, you could name your customized Manual Target Template C1H_PRNOMARGIN_YourCompanyName.DOT.

Template Table

If you already have a template created, no problem – simply open the appropriate Doc-To-Help template, and move those styles into it using the Organizer. Rename the Template when you save it.

The Organizer

To access the Organizer:

  • In Word 2003, choose Tools > Templates and Add-ins. Click the Organizer button in the Templates and Add-ins dialog box.
  • In Word 2007 and above, Office button (or File tab) > Word Options button > Add-Ins > Manage drop-down. Choose Templates, click the Go button. Click the Organizer button in the Templates and Add-ins dialog box.

Please note, if you have edited your Target Template and would like to have a more WYSIWYG experience in your Source Template, simply use the Organizer to copy Styles from the Target Template into the Source Template, then save the customized Source Template with a different name, for example: C1H_NOMARGIN_YourCompanyName.dot.

To set the Source Template:

  • In the Home tab > Source ribbon group, click the Source Template drop-down. Choose a template from the list or choose Add Template to add another. This source template will be applied to all new documents. If you add existing Word documents to your project, you should verify the template using the instructions below.

To set the Target Template

  • First, choose the Target on the Home tab, using the Select Target button. In the Home tab, Target Design ribbon group, click the Target Template drop-down. Choose a template from the list or choose Add Template to add another.
Choosing a Target

After you edit a template and rename it, you should drop it into the appropriate folder so that you can add it to your project.

Depending on your version of Windows, your templates are stored at:

In Windows 7/8 and Vista: \\Users\ (user name)\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates

In Windows XP: \\Documents and Settings\(user name)\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates

Please note: The Application Data or App Data folder can be a hidden folder. To show hidden folders, open the Folder Options dialog box in your operating system (Control Panel > Folder Options). Click the View tab, under Advanced Settings > Files and folders > Hidden files and folders, select the Show hidden files and folders radio button. Click OK.

If you add an existing Word document to your Doc-To-Help project, you should verify that it is using the appropriate Source template. To do so, open the Templates and Add-Ins dialog box. If the wrong Source Template is attached, click the Attach button to change it. (Make sure to select the Automatically Update Document Styles check box if you select a new Source Template.)

Templates and Add-ins dialog box

After opening the Document:

  • In Word 2003, choose Tools > Templates and Add-ins.
  • In Word 2007 and above, it’s a little more hidden – Office button (or File tab) > Word Options button > Add-Ins > Manage drop-down. Choose Templates, click the Go button.*

*To save time in Word 2007, add the Developer ribbon, it includes the Document Template button which will open this dialog box directly. (Office Button > Word Options button. On the Popular screen, select the Show Developer Tab in the Ribbon check box.)

Here is the recommended workflow for working with Doc-To-Help Word Templates:

1. Using the Getting Started Wizard, open the Pittsburgh250WordSource sample project. Note the Source and Target templates used. Build a Target or two and see if the default templates suit your needs.

2. If you decide you’d like to change the look of your Targets, you may need to edit two Target Templates (one for Manual output and one for online Help). In most cases, you will edit:

  • C1H_PRNOMARGIN.DOT for Manual Targets
  • C1H_HTML.DOT for most types of online Help
  • C1H_HELP.DOT for WinHelp

3. If you have an existing template, copy your Styles from it into your custom Doc-To-Help template using the Organizer. If you have existing Styles with the same name as those already in the Templates above, it is OK to copy over them.

4. Save your Templates with names that are meaningful to you. For example C1H_PRNOMARGIN_YourCompanyName.DOT for your Manual Target Template; C1H_HTML_YourCompanyName.DOT for your NetHelp and HTML Help Targets. Please note that you should save your Templates with the file extension of .dot (not .dotx). If you are working in Word 2007, you should use the file extension of .dotm.

5. Drop those templates into the appropriate folder.

6. Select a Target in Doc-To-Help, then click the Target Template drop-down in Doc-To-Help and add the custom template to your project. Repeat for other Target(s) if necessary. Make sure the custom Templates have checkmarks next to them after they are added. (Indicates that they are selected for this project.)

7. If you would like to update your Source Template to match your Target Template, use the Organizer to copy the Styles from the Target to the Source Template. Rename the Source template and save it.

8. Drop the new Source Template into the appropriate folder.

9. Using the Source Template drop-down, add the new Source Template to your project.

10. If you have existing Source Documents in the project, open each and use the Templates and Add-Ins dialog box to apply the new Template.

11. Choose a Target with the Select Target drop-down and build your project.

12. Stand back and admire your projects.

This entry was posted in Doc-To-Help on by .

About Nicky Bleiel

I am the Lead Information Developer for Doc-To-Help and a Doc-To-Help trainer. I have 19 years of experience in technical communication; writing and designing information for software products in the documentation, media, industrial automation, simulation, and pharmaceutical industries. I am the President of the Society for Technical Communication and have presented talks at the STC Summit, WritersUA, tcworld, CIDM (Content Management Strategies/DITA North America), and LavaCon on many topics, including embedded help, tools and technologies, user assistance design, single sourcing, wikis, social media, agile, and convergence technical communication. I have been published in STC's Intercom, Tieline, STC conference proceedings, tcworld magazine, TechCom Manager Newsletter, and the WritersUA and the Content Wrangler websites. Additionally, I teach Technical Writing at the Community College of Allegheny County.

7 thoughts on “Customizing Your Doc-To-Help Targets Part 1: Source Documents are Word Documents

  1. Andrea

    Hi Nicky,

    Very helpful. When you say “Drop those templates into the appropriate folder” what is the appropriate folder? Where should modified templates be stored, particularly in a team authoring environment? With the project?

    Thank you!

    1. Nicky Bleiel Post author

      Templates should always be stored in the following folder. In a Team Authoring Environment, everyone on the team should drop their templates in this folder.

      In Windows 7 and Vista: \\Users\ (user name)\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates

      In Windows XP: \\Documents and Settings\(user name)\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates

      Regards,
      Nicky

  2. Kathryn

    Hi Nicky, This was very helpful – thankyou. Is there any documentation on the styles within the template? For example, I would like to change the colour of the links beneath More: (Related Head) and guessing the style name is not working for me.

    Cheers,
    Kathryn

    1. Nicky Bleiel Post author

      Hi Kathryn –

      Glad you found the post helpful! Regarding the automatic subtopic links (as those “More:” links are formally known :-) , those are hyperlinks, so you would modify the Hyperlink and the FollowedHyperlink styles. However, this will change the color of every hyperlink in your project.

      I do have some information about template styles — I will do a blog post on that soon.

      Thanks,
      Nicky

      1. Kathryn

        Hi Nicky, Thanks for your help. Modifying the hyperlink colour isn’t working so I am wondering if using a theme conflicts with the css for hyperlink styles?

        Thanks again,
        Kathryn

        1. Nicky Bleiel Post author

          Are you building NetHelp 2.0? If so, yes, the css overrides it.

          Go to your custom theme folder (by default \\My Doc-To-Help Projects\Doc-To-Help\Themes\NetHelp 2.0\Themes\”Name of Theme” folder) and edit the link color in user.css

          Regards,
          Nicky

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