Converting PDF/Word Docs into Help Center articlesAnswered
We just started our subscription and I'm tasked with migrating our existing documentation to the Help Center. These exist almost entirely as multipage PDF or Word Docs with lots of screenshots. I'm having a great deal of trouble finding out how to convert these into Help Center content without a great deal of hassle (basically reconstructing each image by image - ack!)
I could just attach them as files but that's basically just a file repository and we'd like the content actually in the Help Center articles. Doing a straight copy/paste strips out any images.
I'm sure I'm not the first person needing to do such a basic task but I can't find much in the existing support threads. I'm hoping I'm just overlooking something.
Copying and pasting content into a text editor is not all that simple - but I don't think it works in Zendesk articles at this point anyway. Even copying and pasting from PDF into a Word Doc can go very messy. You can use the code editor, but once again this is not going to cope with clipboard images.
Options would be:
Save all your images down with a good naming convention (article3_image2 etc), then upload the lot and build your article with copy and paste text and inserting the images as needed.
Or maybe you might want to iframe the pdf, and then have some text outside the iframe describing the article.
I certainly want to avoid reconstructing all these documents.
Could you give me some guidance on what would be involved to get them into an iframe? I'm guessing I would need to upload them and have the iframe point to that internal asset? If that essentially accomplishes what I'm going for (content in the help center that doesn't need to be downloaded) that would be great.
Do you have a sample source you could provide or instruction for doing so?
I recently read a blog...and it escapes me where now...but it was about someone converting their old documents into a content management system and the pain of this. So I'll go a different route here.
One of the things the Content Guru / Blog Author talked about was taking a look at your current content.
It's like cleaning your room as a kid. The toys you play with daily, the toys you play with occasionally, and the ones you get rid of to make room for new toys. :)
Is there stuff that really is old, but you don't want to lose it? Keep it in PDF form then so you have the historical doc. That can be attached to a "blurb" which you can then make searchable in your Help Center.
Since you can look at metrics of what people are searching, you may find that no one cares about certain documents and they can quietly go away. I think probably 3/4 of my content never gets touched even though all of it is searchable.
You probably have have some very key pieces that you couldn't live without, and those should get the whiz bang conversion immediately.
The rest can be done as you can get to them, or done as the PDFs, knowing that you're going to take a certain number each week and fix them. That can even be your "hook"...ooh updated content here!! woohoo.
I do all my documents in HTML and then paste them in. I want to be able to format them off line and spell check etc. I also house my images elsewhere and use links because I use the images in more than one document. When our software changes, then I can "swap" the image instead of updating a full link.
I agree with Andrew on the image naming - that has kept me sane. I don't do mine based on article, I do it based on part of the system since I use them in multiple articles. I just keep most of them generic enough that they can be multi-use.
Let us know what you come up with! I love to see how others conquer their challenges :)
oh - PDF to Word might help... pdftoword.com
In Helpcenter go into the option to edit your theme - select 'Assets' and upload your PDFs there... and grab the location code from the file when uploaded.
Then in your article, go into the code editor and paste code like this...
<p><iframe src="//p5.zdassets.com/hc/theme_assets/123/12345/my-pdf.pdf" width="100%" height="700px"></iframe></p>
You may need to modify the height and width code to suit your theme. I did this on ours to demonstrate and it worked nicely.
For your interest - I tried doing this directly from an upload in the article and it didnt work well - hence why I swapped to uploading as a theme asset. You could also be able to pull these from another web resource - but havent tried that.
Hello Kevin - just in case you weren't aware - Diane and I are both volunteer moderators, We are Zendesk users, but not employees. Depending on your account level you may be able to open a support request - but hey we like helping!
Thanks Andrew, I appreciate the help. Uploading as a theme asset and then putting an iframe in the article appears to work while editing the article, but going to the actual article in the Help Center, the iframe doesn't load.
Did this work for you when you tried?
I can convert PDF into Word Docs, but it appears I had the same exact issue when trying to get Word Doc content into the editor, images stripped.
While I'd love to take Diane's recommendation, our content is years of internal IT policy docs which need to be made available even if they're seldom if ever used. Another huge hassle with not being able to get PDF or Word Doc content easily into our Help Center is this means I have to get everyone who is making new docs to use only the Zendesk editor, or do their work twice... and that simply won't fly, and nor should it.
Yes it worked on the front end for me.
Can you post a screenshot of your html? or maybe a url?
You could email it to me andj at bizstudio dot co dot nz
Probably it is unrealistic for people to expect to write articles in their personal editor of choice, then be able to magically convert them perfectly into Zendeskian - would be nice - but murder for the designers.
If you can get them to type up in word or notepad with a name and placing for image in the text, then you can just copy and paste this. and add the images.
However, if they can create the articles as 'drafts' in Zendesk, I would think that would be good. Whoever is your content manager can tidy them up before publishing.
Maybe your people could write it all in HTML ... or maybe not :)
Oh that would stink having years upon years to convert.
Andrew has an interesting point for new stuff with HTML though. Are your peeps able to plug stuff into an HTML template?
I guess it depends if you are the final say in content...or whether you are just the distributor of content.
In my world...I end up being the SME...and during our low season I go brain-picking. Like "tell me all the crap you learned this year about TopicX" and I take notes and add that to whatever constructed document I started.
I've seen what the sales folks put out when left to their own devices ;)
now that i'm in the thick of this conversion part, let's just say it stinks like old milk.
i pulled all my articles into Word so that i could have reps proof and critique the content. I've copied my Help Center and Wes has done the coding.
It's not active yet. I started taking the "easy articles" - that shouldn't need much updates, and popped them up in the new editor for cleanup.
Y'know in horror movies how something happens outside and everyone runs out side to see what happened? Well, I did it...I looked at the HTML code. Just. Don't.
I'll admit I have not done much with HTML in years, but I did write all these docs for Web Portal and they had some standards. In the new Help Center if I have to make edits...it's just awful. The first one i got to has inconsistent fonts and the bulleted lists are not bulleting.
I may try to copy / paste out of Word an into new HC documents to see if that will wipe everything. Not really what I had intended to spend my time doing. :(
Hate the jump on to a prevoiisly opened thread, but would love to get some insight on fixing this issue as I have the same problem. Tons of previously existing content in PDF format from our parent company that would need to be translated to "Zendeskian" to add to our help center.
Has anyone had any further luck with a solution?
I am in the process of migrating all our documents to the Zendesk Help Center and I have stumbled across the same issue everyone is this thread has. I have every document in Word and PDF.
I tried the copy-and-paste from an HTML Word view and the document renders decent but only if you have no images embedded in the document. Most of my other documents have images. Images are stripped.
I also tried the suggestion of adding the PDF to the assets section of the them editor and then copy the code and paste it on the document. That did not give me any results.
Is there a simple and viable solution to the massive migration of documents to the Zendesk platform without having to reconstruct each document?
Hi Jireh and Sergio -
I'm checking around to see if anything is in the works to improve this process. In the meantime, it would be super helpful if you could head over to this thread in the Product Feedback forum to up vote the feature request and provide your detailed use case for the Product Managers.
Let me know if you have any questions; I'll update if and when I find more info/a better solution.
Is there any updates on this issue?
I followed Andrew J's instructions of March 14th and inserted the PDF as an asset. However, I can see my PDF as an editor but from the end-user perspective, they cannot see it. What am I missing?
Please see attached picture.
Hi Sergio, I had very mixed results with Andrew's iframe recommendation, and ended up not using it.
Frankly, I get the impression Zendesk is just being stingy with their storage and wants to prevent customers from uploading years of content. Allowing the conversion of PDF and Word to Help Center articles seems like a trivial feature to implement.
I got a very similarly unhelpful answer when I called support about migrating the ticket content from our legacy ticketing system into Zendesk. I was blown off because "most customers don't find much value in that". Because who needs years of hard won documentation.
I just started working with this tonight within my Help Center and ran in to the same issue. I remembered reading a previous post about some iframes not displaying correctly unless you allow unsafe content within your Help Center. Try going to Help Center Settings and checking the box like I did. It immediately worked for me and now my embedded PDFs are visible below. Hope this helps!
@Andrew J - and everyone else--
Am I the only one getting an "AccessDenied" and "HostID" error today when posting the PDF in the iframe?
I do NOT get an error when viewing articles with the PDF already embedded; only when trying to create an article or edit an existing article and embedding the PDF in the iframe.
@heather, are you hosting the PDF in your Zendesk instance? In Assets or where?
Try copying the code from a previous article and just changing the PDF src reference... does that work?
Yes we are hosting on our ZD instance, in Assets.
I opened a ticket, they did a test pdf which worked.
I couldn't get the desired pdf to work. I uploaded a fresh copy of it, used your suggestion to change the PDF source ref and somehow it started working today. It's strange because I tried on IE as well as Chrome and it was happening to me and another Agent.
But we're good now. Thanks for responding!
I'm glad it's working now!
Hello, Im trying to upload a pdf as an asset, but im told the file type is not supported.
You're correct; PDFs are not a supported file type for Help Center assets. One thing you could consider would be to convert the PDF to an image file such as .jpg or .gif, which are supported file types.
So I have gathered that ZD no longer allows for PDF storage as assets.
Let's be realistic here. The effort to convert PDF's to something ZD likes is tremendous.
The iframe solution works but that would require one to store their PDF's in a third party repository and provide the URL in the embed code.
Are others doing this? Using like DropBox, or Google Drive.
@Brian equally as frustrated by this...
Robert and Brian -
I encourage you to share your feedback in the Product Feedback topic. Here's how to write an effective feedback post.
FYI, we're trying to turn PDFs into Zendesk articles. I've tried a number of routes today, but here's where I'm finding success . . . instead of starting with the PDFs that the public now sees, I've found the creator of the original documents who did them in Word. I've uploaded the original Word document to Google Drive and converted it to a Google Document. Then I've used the Google Doc importer in Zendesk.
It's not been perfect, but the images (we use lots of computer screenshots in our documentation) are sharp (unlike other paths I tried). The only imperfection has been when we used Word shapes on top of our screenshots to highlight something . . . these look fine in Google Docs, but these shapes don't make it when using the Zendesk importer; we might need to either a) change text so it doesn't say things like "see the highlighted red box in the image below", or b) when a highlighted image is essential, recreate the image and upload into the Zendesk article directly.
I'm open to other suggestions - just thought I'd share my experience.
Thank you so much for sharing this, Mark! I'm sure others will find it useful as well!
As far as the highlights not making it through, I'd recommend adding those directly to the images in a photo editing program. That will make them part of the image itself, rather than the document, and they'll make it into the article without a problem.
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