We are glad to announce the release of HelpNDoc 8.1, a major update of the popular help authoring tool which can be downloaded completely free for personal use and evaluation purposes. This major update includes many new features and enhancements such as the ability to define post-build actions which are run after the documentation generation process for each build; the ability to select a snippet as the default topics’ content; an improved topic editor with the ability to display smaller library items; and much more… Read on to learn more and download your free version of HelpNDoc now.

⚡ Run custom actions after the documentation has been generated

Ever wished you could run a custom script or display a message right after your documentation has been generated ? Starting with HelpNDoc 8.1 you can do just that, by simply defining custom post-build actions.

Post-build actions

HelpNDoc can generate multiple builds out of a single documentation project. And it is now possible to execute multiple actions after each build has been generated. The first batch of post-build actions include:

  • Custom script execution – Run a script after a build has been generated using the available HelpNDoc’s API methods;
  • Custom message – Display a custom message (modal or not) after the build generation process.

These actions make it possible to implement a wide range of scenarios, such as:

  • Notifying coworkers about important documentation deployment requirements by displaying a custom modal message;
  • Displaying some useful stats and details about the project in the generation log;
  • Running a custom script to update the project’s comment to include the last build date and time;
  • Running a custom script to create an external file with a list of generated topics;
  • And much more…

Each build can have its own set of post-build actions. The possibilities are endless! And did I mention that additional actions are scheduled to be released in future update of HelpNDoc ? 🤫
We can’t wait to see how technical writers will use this truly unique feature to strengthen their documentation generation process.

Note: This feature is only available in the Ultimate Edition of HelpNDoc.

😎 Topics do not have to start blank: use snippets as the default topics’ content

HelpNDoc supports default topic properties for newly created topics, such as defining a default icon, topic kind, header and footer… It is now possible to define a snippet as the default topics’ content.

Default topic template

When working on a documentation project, technical writers might want to start each new topic with a predefined content (or template) to speed up the task of integrating it within the project. This is now possible with HelpNDoc 8.1: a snippet can be selected as the default content for newly created topics.
It is also extremely easy to set it up:

  • Create a new snippet and set its content;
  • Navigate to the project options, then automated settings, then select the snippet
  • And voilà: new topics will use that snippet as their default content!

📚 Topic editor enhancements: display smaller library items, reset styles…

The topic editor is where technical writers spend most of their time, working on content. HelpNDoc 8.1 includes multiple enhancements to make it even better.

Topic editor displays smaller library items

A new option is available to display library items smaller: instead of displaying a large box, “documents”, “snippets” and “HTML code” library items can now optionally be displayed as a smaller boxes to avoid using too much space in the topic editor.
When applying a style to the selected content, any overridden text style are kept and merged with the new style. This behavior can now be changed by holding the CTRL keyboard shortcut: any previously applied style will be reset before applying the new style, thus saving valuable time to define content format.
We’ve also improved the topic editor’s popup menu to display all available paste actions, such as “Paste as text” and “Paste special”. And we’ve fixed a problem which caused the topic modification date to be frozen, even when the topic’s content was modified.

Script edition and execution is a major part of the HelpNDoc help authoring environment as scripts are used to generate documentation and automate repetitive tasks using the HelpNDoc API.

HelpNDoc's Script Editor

The script execution and debugging engines have been greatly enhanced to be faster, more reliable and secure. Alongside, the script editor is now faster to draw and scroll its content, and includes various bug fixes and enhancements. The script editor’s popup now displays user scripts before system ones, as they are more likely to be used more often.
Some syntax highlighters have also been improved to better handle new language features and keywords.

🤩 User interface and overall experience enhancements

HelpNDoc bug fixes

As with every updates, we’ve enhanced and polished many parts of the HelpNDoc help authoring tool so that technical writers can concentrate on their work with as little friction as possible.

Starting with a time saver with the template editor, which will now automatically select the last edited template next time it is shown.
To limit mistakes, the library items editor asks confirmation before overwriting an existing file when saving a library item to the hard drive.
We’ve improved the installer and removed an exception which could occur when decrypting content with an incorrect password.
The HND project file format’s performance and security have also been enhanced, as well as the overall user interface which contains fixes and improvements for Windows 11 and high resolution screens.
This update also includes multiple other enhancements and bug fixes as detailed in the change log below.

🎁 Last chance to get the Ultimate Edition at a greatly discounted price

The Ultimate Edition of HelpNDoc includes every features and is currently discounted. This deal is almost over though: check HelpNDoc’s store page to get it while it’s still available!

HelpNDoc Ultimate Edition

This is the last chance to purchase the Ultimate Edition of HelpNDoc at a greatly discounted price and benefits from its unique features:

  • The newly released post-build actions, which lets you execute various actions after the documentation build process;
  • Word and PDF document signing and encryption, to ensure the integrity and security of the generated Word and PDF documents using strong encryption algorithms;
  • And all upcoming features… and we have a lot of unique features planed for future releases 😉

If those features look interesting to you, you should consider purchasing the Ultimate Edition of HelpNDoc while it is available at a discounted price! 🎁

As always, HelpNDoc is completely free for personal use and evaluation purposes so download your free version now to get started and experiment with this major update, and feel free to contact us to share any thought you might have about HelpNDoc.

Change log

Version – Release date: Sep 16, 2022

  • HelpNDoc could display an error about missing DLLs in some languages
  • Floating license key checks could return an invalid key error when it was in fact valid

Change log

Version – Release date: Sep 13, 2022

  • New post-build actions: run specific actions after the build process. First actions included: Show message and Run script
  • It is now possible to select a snippet as the default content of a newly created topic in the project's automated settings
  • New option to display smaller library items. When activated, non resizable items such as documents, snippets and HTML code are drawn smaller in the topic editor
  • Use the CTRL keyboard shortcut while applying style to reset any overrides applied to the selected content
  • Last edited template is now stored for each projects so that it is the default one selected next time the template editor is opened
  • Topic editor's right click popup menu now includes "Paste as text" and "Paste special" sub-menu for quicker access to those actions
  • Topic modification date and time is now correctly updated when the topic content changes
  • Greatly improved code editor which is now faster to draw content and scroll, and includes multiple bug fixes and enhancements
  • An exception could be raised when decrypting content with an invalid password
  • Exporting a library item to an existing file now displays a confirmation message to avoid data loss
  • Improved script execution engine for faster and more reliable execution, and additional pascal-based language support
  • Unneeded files removed from the installer to make it slightly smaller
  • Improved some syntax highlighters to improve the supported language elements
  • Script editor popup now display user scripts before system scripts as they are more likely to be used more often
  • Improved HND project file handling: faster comparison for binary data, performance improvements, bug and security fixes
  • User interface refinements, fixes and improvements for Windows 11 and high DPI screens
  • Debug engine has been improved and strengthened for easier and faster bug spotting and resolution

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