Meet the Widgets: the Doc-To-Help Image Widgets

Doc-To-Help’s seven new Widgets can be used to enhance your content – last week I gave you a deep dive into the Note Widget. This week, we’ll take a deeper look at the three “image” widgets: LightBox, Carousel, and Gallery.

(Before I get too far along, I would like to note that all seven Widgets are covered in this blog post: Widgets for Interactive Content. And there is an interactive sample that contains *all* the Widgets here: Widget Explorer.)

Each of the Image Widgets gives you a different way to display images in your content, as well as add useful interactivity. All three are “space savers” in their own way, LightBox lets you insert a thumbnail image that can be enlarged, while the other two — Gallery and Carousel — make it possible to display multiple images in a single space. All three allow you to add text on each image if you’d like. Here are interactive samples of each:

  • Lightbox: Displays a thumbnail image that users can click on to enlarge; it lets users control what they want to see, and saves screen real estate.
  • Gallery: Displays a larger image with a series of thumbnails at the bottom. You can set it to auto-advance so each image is displayed in turn, or users can click on any of the thumbnails to display the image they want to see.
  • Carousel: Similar to Gallery, but there are no thumbnails displayed at the bottom of the larger image, instead, the user can click a button to view each image.

In this post, we will take a look at the “All About Pittsburgh” sample — it uses all three image Widgets, and includes several images you can experiment with. If you do not already have Doc-To-Help 2013 V2 installed, download your free 30-day trial here: Download Doc-To-Help. After you have installed it, open the Getting Started Wizard (the button is on the far upper right)…

getting started wizard button

… and choose the option to “Open a Sample Project”.

Open A Sample

Select the “All About Pittsburgh HTML” sample.

Open the Sample

Once the project opens, the topics that make up the project will be displayed in the Documents Pane.

The following topics each contain an image Widget:

  • All About Pittsburgh (Carousel)
  • Baseball (LightBox)
  • Pittsburgh Sites (Gallery)

The Pittsburgh sample

When you double-click on any topic, it will open in Content Editor Window so that you can edit it. (You can have multiple topics open at the same time.)

Double-click on “All About Pittsburgh” “Baseball” and “Pittsburgh Sites”.

After you have opened each topic, you can right-click on the Widget to view that Widget’s properties.

Edit Widget

The Widget Properties dialog box will open, where you can check out that widget’s (in this case, LightBox) properties. Click on the ellipses to see the image(s) that the widget uses. Note that you can add caption and comment text if you would like. You can also rearrange images with the arrow keys.

Widgets Props

To see how this widget behaves in an output, build NetHelp and take a look. Click the Select Target button and choose NetHelp, then click the Build button.

Build

Open the “Baseball” topic from the table of contents and try it out.

Lightbox

You can open the “All About Pittsburgh” and “Pittsburgh Sites” topics in Doc-To-Help to check out the Properties of the Gallery and Carousel widgets. If you click on those topics in the NetHelp, you can see how they work. (Of course, if you adjust the Properties of any widget and Build again, you can try out the various settings and see what you think. A detailed explanation of each widget’s properties can be found in the Doc-To-Help User Guide.)

Here is a screen shot of the Carousel widget from the “All About Pittsburgh” topic in NetHelp…

Gallery

… and here a screen shot of the Gallery widget from the “Pittsburgh Sites” topic.

Carousel

Now that you have seen how all of the Image widgets work and behave, you should insert one of your own and try creating one from scratch. Here’s how to do that:

  • In Doc-To-Help’s Content Editor, put your cursor where you would like to insert your widget.
  • Choose the Insert tab.
  • Click the Widgets button in the Components ribbon group.
  • Choose the appropriate Widget (LightBox, Gallery, or Carousel).
  • The Select Images dialog box will open, choose one or more images (you can always add or delete more later).
  • The Widget Properties dialog box will open. Click the ellipses button on the Images field to add comments and text on your images, and/or rearrange them.
  • You can set other Properties also (see the Doc-To-Help User Guide.)
  • Click OK and build NetHelp (each Image widget has full functionality in NetHelp and Eclipse Targets.)

See what you think of your handiwork, and I am sure some ideas for how these Image widgets can improve your content will come to mind.

All names are registered trademarks or trademarks of their owners and are acknowledged.

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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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