Preparing Anchored Frame for conversion in RoboHelp

When FrameMaker content containing Anchored Frame is imported to RoboHelp, the Anchored Frame is converted to corresponding image in generated XHTML content. The quality of generated images has been an area of concern. While some users are satisfied with the quality of images generated, others feel the scope of improvement in the image quality.
This blog describes some of the best practices and workflows that will help obtain improved quality of generated images. In other words, it will allow users to maintain the original quality of source images generated through specialized image editing applications.

FrameMaker provides following two options while importing an image file into a document:

“Import By Reference” method should be preferred if it is not absolutely necessary to choose the other option. This reduces the size of the FM document and allows RoboHelp to maintain the original image quality by referring to the original image.

RoboHelp imports the dimensions of anchored frame and specify them in the corresponding <img> tag of generated XHTML topic. This leads to resizing of image when the topic is viewed in a browser. Sometimes, some resized images look distorted in some browsers. RoboHelp provides a functionality of omitting height/width attribute in the generated <img> tag thus avoiding the resizing of generated images. This tweak can be applied by setting the “Preferred Dimensions” to zero in Conversion Settings dialog.

The copying of reference images is effective only if the referred image has one of the web supported format viz. JPG, PNG, BMP, GIF. In case, an image with any other format is used, RoboHelp needs to regenerate the image in order to convert it to Web supported image format. So, if it is not absolutely necessary, a web supported image version of image may be used in FM documents. In case, it is necessary to use other image formats for Print workflows in FrameMaker, two versions of images may be used in the document with Conditions applied on them. One condition may be enabled for Printing and another for Online publishing. These conditions can be manipulated in either FrameMaker or RoboHelp.

As it is understood, if the anchored frame contains more than one object, RoboHelp needs to generate one single image. So, unnecessary content e.g. empty Text Frame, text frame with only a marker, object hidden behind an image etc. may be avoided.

In case the above workflows are not feasible to meet the requirements, the images may be replaced with desired better quality images. This may be achieved through scripting. Other workflows can include post processing the images using Photoshop scripting.

I hope these steps will prove fruitful in obtaining better quality images.

Mayank Agrawal
RoboHelp Engineering