Take the following scenario: A software company plan to produce three products, A, B and C. The help files will follow the same structure but will obviously contain different content, but there will be some similarities and overlapping of information. In an effort to avoid duplication and to ease future maintenance, the Project Manager decides to place all the common information into a single project called "Common Information".
In this help project the Project Manager adds the following topics and headings:
He knows that these pages will be used in all his planned projects. He now creates the help project for his first product, "Product A", and adds the following basic structure:
And now he wants to add in the common pages. First he needs to tell Fast-Help about the other project, so he selects the menu option "Project | Multi-Project Register" and the following screen appears:
This screen lists all the external Projects that are referenced from this Project. You can have up to ten referenced Projects. The Project Manager clicks [Add] and chooses the "Common Information" project. The screen now looks like this:
Some basic information is listed here, the name of the Project, the full path, the number of topics available etc. The Project Manager clicks [Close]. Now that his "Product A" project knows about the "Common Information" project, he can now reference those pages, so he selects the menu "Edit | Add a Topic from Another Project" and the following wizard appears:
This first step asks which project to add from. Since there is only one, he clicks [Next] and sees the following screen:
On the left is a table of contents showing all the pages in the "Common Information" project, and on the right is a preview of the selected page. You can choose just one page by checking the check-box beside a page, or in this case the Project Manager clicks the [Check All Pages] button at the bottom of the screen and clicks [Finish].
All pages have now been added and a Status screen appears with more details about what was added, but we will deal with the details of that in a more advanced example. The "Product A" project now looks like this:
The referenced pages have a green arrow overlayed on them to show that they are referenced from an external project. You can create links from your topics to these external topics as if they are part of your project. When the Project Manager compiles the "Product A" project, all the pages are displayed in the help file as if they are part of the same project. All compile formats are supported. He can now do the same for Product B and C.
If he makes any changes to these topics in the "Common Information" project, the next time he opens the "Product A" project those changes will have automatically been reflected, meaning he can update once and all changes will be reflected in all projects that reference these common pages.
If he adds more pages to the "Common Information" project he can then add those to the other projects if they are needed.
This is a very simple example to give you a flavor of the Multi-Project feature. But before you embark on your own projects using this powerful tool, please review the "Advanced Example" and the "Potential pitfalls and how to avoid them" topics.