(Note: You can use the same steps outlined in this post with Dropbox, Box, and SkyDrive, or any cloud-based file sharing system that syncs files on your desktop with shared files on a cloud drive.)

This post gives you guidelines and options for sharing your Doc-To-Help project documents, auxiliary files, output folders, and Doc-To-Help project (.d2h) file with other writers in your company using Google Drive.  Again, you can use the same workflow with Box, Dropbox, and SkyDrive, but Google Drive has been in the news more recently, which makes this article more SEO-friendly.

  1. First things first: Sign up for Google Drive.  You may need to click the Notify Me button when you get to that link, but the service is free to anyone that has a Gmail account.
  2. Download and install the Google Drive Desktop application.  Once the install finishes, a Google Drive folder will be created on your computer here: C:\Users\USERNAME\Google Drive (for Dropbox, it’s C:\Users\USERNAME\Dropbox).

Once that folder is created, you can choose what content you want to upload to Google Drive that will be used in your Doc-To-Help project.  To share only source documents:

  1. Copy the files to the Google Drive folder.  You can copy Word documents (.doc/.docx), HTML files (.htm/.html), and XHTML files (.xml) authored in Doc-To-Help’s built-in editor.  Just like in Doc-To-Help, you can mix and match these source file types in your projects.
  2. Start a new project in Doc-To-Help and add the documents or click the Add Existing Documents in a current project to get to the Document Import Wizard.  Select your files to import and make sure that you select the radio button that says “Leave files at their original location.” This will ensure that you’ll always have the synched version of the documents and will ensure that anyone that you’re sharing the documents with always has the latest version.
  3. Continue working with your documents the way normally would.  The next time you build your output, Doc-To-Help will check that folder and include the content for the latest version in the build.

To share your outputs with other members of your team, you would simply need to adjust a setting in Doc-To-Help.

  1. In the Home tab, click the Help Targets dialog box launcher:
  2. Paste the path to your Google Drive folder into the Folder field or use the ellipsis to locate it:
  3. Go to the Home and click Rebuild.  Your output will go to the new output folder and will sync with the folders on everyone else’s computers.

To share all of your project files (.d2h file, documents, media, output folders) with Google Drive, copy the My Doc-To-Help Projects folder from My Documents and paste it into your Google Drive folder.  Double-click each of the .d2h files to open them up so that they’ll show up with the right path in Recent Projects on the Start Page.

To make sure that all future projects are created in your Google Drive folder, go to File => Doc-To-Help Options and set the correct path in the Files pane:

That’s it.  Depending on how much or how little you want to share, it’s pretty fast and easy to set up.  Try it out and let us know your results!