Use variant templates for linked file objects

Object Variants

Acme's requirements

Acme wants an easy method for updating linked images when they publish the manuals for different releases. As the content for earlier releases must remain available for republishing, the images used by those releases must also be available.


With Author you can create variants of a template. You can then open the variant and modify its settings. When you create objects in the library, you continue to base them on the "primary" template.

Note:Variant templates are not displayed in the Editor menus or drop-down lists.

During publishing, if Author finds a variant of a template that matches the filtering, it applies the variant template's settings to the objects.

Variants for linked file objects: Let's look at how template variants are applied to linked File objects. In this example the first release is 1.0.

  • To use a variant template for a linked file object:

  1. Add an image to a topic using a File object based on the linked File object template. In this example the File object is added to the topic for release 1.0, the first release. The template for the File object points to the folder containing the images that will be used for release 1.0.

  2. Create a folder for storing the images for the next release; this will be release 1.1.

  3. Create a variant for the linked File object template, and open the variant template to change the folder path so that it points to the folder containing the images for the next release, the folder containing images for release 1.1.

  4. Update the image file and then save it to the folder for the 1.1 release. When you create the new image file you'll continue to use the same name and same file format as the original, for example my_image.jpg. By keeping this information the same across each update of the image, Author only has to use the variant template's folder path to swap the image. Important: do not create a new File object using the updated image file.

  5. Publish the book, setting the publishing filter for release 1.1. During publishing Author automatically swaps the "primary template" for the "variant template" and uses the settings defined in the variant template. These settings point to the updated image file in the folder for release 1.1.

The variant criteria values for the software releases use a fall-back path, so if an image hasn't been updated for a new release then the image from an earlier release is used (based on the fall-back path you have defined for your variant criteria values).

Variant Linked File Object Templates


Ensure you have a Linked File object template set up for your library. When you create a Linked File object to add the image to your "primary" topic you'll base the object on this template.


Create a variant of the Linked File object template for each release. Modify the folder path in the variant template so that it points to the folder containing the image files for that release.


Each release has its own folder of images that are required for the release.


Save each version of the image file using the same name and file format as the original image.

Important: If you are working with embedded images, the process is different. Instead of using a variant of a template, you'll create a variant of the File object used in the topic, and then update the image in that variant File object.