Absolute and Relative Paths



What's covered?

An explanation of the difference.

What's the difference?

A link that has an absolute path will tell the computer which server to go to and then all the folders that you have to drill down through to get to the target.

A link that has a relative path will be written to tell the computer how to get from the folder with the currently viewed topic to the target.

Which you use will depend on whether the path between the topic with the link and the target topic will be constant and whether they are on the same server.

Relative Paths

It might be easier to start by explaining relative paths. If target topic is on the same server as the link and that will be true for all users, then a relative path will probably be what you use.

First let's take a simple structure.


Folder for topic with link

Folder for target topic

Relative Path




The target is in the same folder so indicate that with a single dot and name the file.




The start point of the path is still the same folder but this time the target is in a sub folder.





The start point of the path is still the same folder but this time the target is in a sub folder of a sub folder so both get specified.





This time the path shows two levels up and the target will be found there.




The two sets of dots take us back to A from where you can specify any other folder at the same level as A.




Just add any further levels from the previous example.


Generally, relative paths are shorter. When creating links in RoboHelp, they will automatically be written this way.

Absolute Paths

If the target topic is not on the same server or it will not be constant, then you have to use absolute links. Here you are not backtracking to "the fork in the road" but specifying a start point.

Note the use of backslashes for another server on your network.

RoboHelp Tip

If you need to manually add a relative path from a topic to the root of your project, take a look at the Head section of the HTML code. Look for the CSS path, assuming your CSS is in the root.


If you find the information and tutorials on my site save you time figuring it out for yourself and help improve what you produce, please consider making a small donation.

Topic Revisions


Changes to this page

20 Feb 2017

Topic rewritten to provide more information.

15 Jan 2006

This topic was originally a popup accessed from various other topics. In converting the site to being Dreamweaver based, I decided to make it a standalone topic.