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Sandcastle Help File Builder

Content Layout File Editor

Adding a content layout file to the project and setting its BuildAction to ContentLayout allows you to specify the conceptual content topics that will be included in the help file and define their layout in the table of contents.

The Content Layout Editor Window

You can edit the content layout file from within the help file builder by double-clicking it in the Project Explorer window or by selecting the Open option from its context menu. The content layout editor window is shown below.

Content Layout Editor

The left side of the window shows the table of contents as it is currently defined in the file. Entries can be arranged hierarchically to any number of levels. The right side of the window shows the properties for the currently selected topic. You can modify the topic's details at any time. Changes are stored automatically before moving off to another topic in the tree. The content layout file identifies conceptual content topics by their unique ID rather than by filename. As such, you are free to rearrange the topic files in the Project Explorer as you see fit and even change their filenames. As long as you do not change the topic's unique ID, it will be correctly associated with its entry in the content layout file. See the Topic Files topic for a description of each of the topic file properties and how they are used.

The Find textbox allows you to search for a topic by ID or display name. Enter some text to find and hit Enter or click the Go button to start the search. Hit Enter or click Go again to find subsequent matches. Matches are found by doing a case-insensitive search of the topic ID and display names.

The tree supports drag and drop to re-order the topics. Simply click and hold the left mouse button on a topic and then drag it to its new location. When you drop it on a topic, it is inserted immediately after the target item. If you hold down the Shift key while dropping an item, it will become a child of the target item.

Tip Tip

Dragging a topic from the content layout editor and dropping it into an editor window containing a MAML file will create a link to the item in the topic that is being edited. A more convenient way of inserting references of various types is to use the Entity References Window.

Available Commands

The toolbar above the tree is used to perform various actions on the content layout file such as adding new topics, deleting topics, rearranging them, etc. These options are also available in a context menu accessed by right clicking on a topic in the tree. The commands (from left to right) and their associated context menu options perform the following actions:

Add Sibling Topic

This will add a new topic at the same level as the currently selected topic. The sub-options for this command allow you to add a new topic file based on a template, add an existing topic file, add all topic files from an existing folder, or add an empty container node.

Note Note

Adding a topic to the content layout file will automatically add its related file to the project if it is not already there. Adding all files from a folder will add all topic files found recursively. The folder structure will be duplicated in the table of contents layout.

New files added to the project are added in the same location as the currently selected topic. If you want more precise control over file placement, add the new topics via the Project Explorer and then use the Add Existing Topic File option to add them to the content layout file.

Add Child Topic

This will add a new topic as a child of the currently selected topic. The sub-options for this command allow you to add a new topic file from a template, add an existing topic file, add all topic files from an existing folder, or add an empty container node. The notes from above for sibling topics apply to these commands as well.

Delete

Delete the selected topic and all of its sub-topics.

Note Note

Deleting a topic from the content layout file will not delete its related file from the project. Use the Project Explorer to physically delete the file from the project and the file system.

Copy as Topic Link

Copy a link to the topic to the clipboard. If pasted into a MAML file, a link element is inserted that will link to the selected topic.

Cut

Cut the selected topic and its sub-topics to the clipboard. A copy of the topic is made and it is then removed from the tree.

Paste

If a topic has been cut to the clipboard, you can click the Paste button to add it to the tree. If you just click the button, the topic is added as a sibling of the currently selected topic immediately following it. If you select the Paste as Child sub-option, the topic is inserted as a child of the selected topic.

Edit File

Edit the selected content file. Double-clicking a topic in the tree will also open it for editing.

Move Up

This will move the selected topic up in the order of topics at the same level as the selected topic. Note that moving a topic will also move its sub-topics. Sub-topics will still remain in their given order below the parent topic.

Move Down

This will move the selected topic down in the order of topics at the same level as the selected topic. Note that moving a topic will also move its sub-topics. Sub-topics will still remain in their given order below the parent topic.

Sort Topics

Sort the topics alphabetically by title within the currently selected topic's group.

Expand/Collapse Options

This command contains a set of options that lets you expand or collapse all topics in the tree or just the sub-topics for the selected topic. When the file is saved, the expanded/collapsed state is saved along with the last selected topic making it easy to return to the spot you stopped editing the file when it was last opened. This information is also used by the Entity References Window to make it easy to find the current topic when using it to insert topic references into other topic files.

Help

Open this help topic in the help file.

Keyboard Shortcuts

The following keyboard shortcuts can also be used in the content tree to execute the various commands:

  • Context Menu Key - Display the context menu.

  • Delete - Delete the selected topic.

  • Ctrl+Up - Move the selected topic up within its group.

  • Ctrl+Down - Move the selected topic down within its group.

  • Ctrl+C - Copy a link to the selected topic to the clipboard. Performing a paste operation in a text editor window will insert a link to the copied topic.

  • Ctrl+X or Shift+Delete - Cut the selected topic to the clipboard.

  • Ctrl+V or Shift+Insert - Paste the topic on the clipboard as a sibling of the selected topic.

  • Ctrl+Shift+V or Ctrl+Shift+Insert - Paste the topic on the clipboard as a child of the selected topic.

  • Ctrl+E - Edit the selected topic.

  • Ctrl+Shift+T - Sort the topics at the same level as the selected topic alphabetically.

See Also