Help Without the Tri-Pane: How to Hide the Table of Contents in NetHelp

NetHelp — Doc-To-Help’s browser-based output — includes a Table of Contents, Index, and Search by default. They are one-third of the tri-pane (the topic pane and the header are the other 2/3rds).

Tri-pane NetHelp

But sometimes you may only want to display the topic, perhaps for use as context-sensitive Help, perhaps for another reason. It is easy to make that customization to NetHelp, it’s just a few clicks in the Theme Designer. Here’s how:

To Hide (and/or) Disable the TOC Pane in NetHelp

Click the Theme button to open the Theme Designer.

Open the Theme Designer

In the Theme Designer, click the Add New Theme button and name your theme.

Create a New Theme

Click the splitter bar in the Design area, and the splitter settings will display on the right.

Edit the Theme

Select the Collapsed check box, and the TOC pane will be hidden by default — but the end user will still be able to open the TOC pane. Choose the Disabled check box also, and the TOC pane will be collapsed permanently — the end user will not be able to open it at all.

Collapse the TOC

The end result will look like this. The end user can click the splitter icon on the left to open the TOC pane.

The end result

Bonus: If you want to remove the header and the buttons, you can do that also. Simply select those areas in the Theme Designer and remove them.

Remove the headerRemove the Buttons

Now, the buttons and the heading are no longer displayed:

The end result

Try it out and see what you think. You can make as many Themes as you like and experiment; the original themes will always remain.

Please note that this feature is available in the latest release of Doc-To-Help 2013 (Build 823). If you don’t already have it installed, you can download it here.

Related Blog Posts

Creating Embedded Help on the Web

How to Customize NetHelp

Instant Localization: Incorporating Google Translate in NetHelp

Incorporating the “Wisdom of the Crowd” with Doc-To-Help and DISQUS

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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.

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