CHM help files are used to provide online help and documentation for software applications, plugins or drivers, and are commonly distributed with Windows installers. Third-party programs like HelpNDoc are specialized help authoring software tools that can make it easier and faster to create a CHM help file. Using a third-party program to create a CHM help file can provide several benefits compared to using the built-in HTML Help Workshop program provided by Microsoft, as they offer a user-friendly graphical interface, powerful features, time-saving tools, and flexibility that can make it easier and more efficient to create a professional-looking CHM help file.
In this article, we will discuss these benefits in more detail and provide an overview of the steps for creating a CHM help file using a help authoring tool. Whether you are new to creating help files or an experienced technical writer, these programs can provide valuable tools and resources to help you create high-quality help content for your users.
The old (boring and difficult) way to create CHM help files 🥱
Microsoft HTML Help Workshop is an outdated program with a complex interface that can be difficult to use for creating CHM help files, particularly for those unfamiliar with web development.
To create a CHM help file, you initially had to use the Microsoft HTML Help Workshop which is a very old software, with a complex and outdated user interface, and lots of bugs. It can be very difficult, especially for those who are not familiar with HTML and other web development technologies as it requires you to create and organize the HTML files for your content manually, and then compile them into a CHM file using the program’s unintuitive interface. This can be a time-consuming and error-prone process, and may not be suitable for those who are not comfortable working with code.
Additionally, HTML Help Workshop does not offer many of the advanced features and tools that are available in other help authoring software. For example, you cannot easily add multimedia elements to your help content, create different versions of your help file for different audiences or languages, or check for spelling mistakes or broken links. This can limit the functionality and professional appearance of your help file.
Overall, while HTML Help Workshop is a useful program for creating CHM help files, it may not be the best option for those who want an easy-to-use and feature-rich solution for creating high-quality help content.
The new (fun, fast and easy) way to produce CHM help files 😍
There are several third-party programs that can simplify the process of creating a CHM help file: they provide a modern GUI, include powerful features, save time, and offer flexibility by allowing the creation of multiple file formats from the same content.
Fortunately, there are several third-party programs that can simplify the process of creating a CHM help file which are called help authoring software or tools. Most of these programs provide a graphical user interface (GUI) that allows you to create and organize the content for your help file without needing to use HTML Help Workshop directly. For example, HelpNDoc is a popular technical writing tool that uses the Microsoft HTML Help Workshop compiler behind the scenes, abstracting all of its quirks and difficulties. With HelpNDoc, you can create your help content using a familiar word processor-like interface and then compile it into a CHM file with a single click.
There are several benefits to using help authoring tools instead of HTML Help Workshop directly:
Easy to use: These programs provide a graphical user interface (GUI) that makes it easy to create and organize your help content, even if you don’t have experience with HTML or other web development technologies.
Powerful features: Many of these programs offer advanced features that can make your help file more useful and professional-looking, such as the ability to add images, videos, and other multimedia elements.
Time-saving: Using a third-party program can save you time compared to using HTML Help Workshop directly, because you don’t need to worry about creating and organizing the HTML files for your help content or work around software bugs and shortcomings.
Flexibility: Third-party programs often allow you to create help files in multiple formats (e.g. CHM, PDF, HTML…) from the same content, which can be useful if you want to distribute your help file to various target audiences.
Overall, using a third-party program can make it easier and more efficient to create a CHM help file, and can also provide additional features and flexibility that may be useful for your project.
HelpNDoc makes the complicated process of help file generation simpler and more efficient
If you are looking for a good no fuss Html Help creation application, look no further than HelpNDoc
Only a few days were necessary to transform our papers in a fully integrated Help file
I downloaded and tested quite a few of the "best" products and non held a candle
No other HTML creators out there come close in style, ease of use, and with such a reasonable price tag
How to use something else for creating help files .chm ? Impossible
It is truly a relief to finally find a help file development product such as yours
Awesome product as I have been looking for something clean and easy to use and HelpNDoc is certainly it
It is far above any of the other free or inexpensive help creators that I've looked at
I have dreamt of this program for years. Thanks
I do not think help creation can get any simpler
HelpNDoc is by far the most fast, stable and easy-to-use help authoring tool I had used ever!
Excellent product at an excellent price in a market dominated by providers thinking that a HAT should cost as much as an entire development IDE
HelpNDoc remains the only serious way to build CHM docs for me. Thank you again!
Help authoring tools are easier to use 😎
Help authoring tools offer a user-friendly GUI, making it possible for anyone to create a professional-looking help file without needing technical expertise in HTML or web development.
One of the main benefits of using third-party program is that they provide a user-friendly graphical interface (GUI) that makes it easy to create and organize your help content. This is in contrast to using HTML Help Workshop directly, which requires you to work with HTML files and other web development technologies.
With a GUI-based program, you can create and edit your help content using a familiar word processor-like interface. You can also use the program’s built-in tools to create a table of contents and index for your help file, and to add images, videos, and other multimedia elements to your content.
Overall, the ease of use of these programs makes it possible for anyone, even those with limited technical experience, to create a professional-looking CHM help file without needing to know HTML or other web development technologies.
Help authoring software include powerful features 💪
Help authoring software offer a range of powerful features, resulting in a more useful and professional-looking CHM help file and a better experience for users.
In addition to making it easier to create and organize your help content, third-party help authoring software also offer a range of powerful features that can make your help file more useful and professional-looking. For example, some of these programs include tools to analyze the content of the documentation to make sure that it doesn’t include broken links, or media elements.
They can offer features like the ability to create different versions (or variations) of your help file for various audiences or languages, or to create a searchable index that makes it easy for users to find the information they need.
The powerful features offered by these programs can make your CHM help file more useful and professional-looking, and can help you create a better experience for your users.
Using a help authoring tool saves a lot of time 🏎️
Help authoring tools save time in creating CHM help files by handling technical details and allowing focus on content creation, as well as offering time-saving features and compiling everything into a CHM file with a single click.
Another benefit of using third-party help authoring tool is that they can save you time compared to using HTML Help Workshop directly. This is because these programs handle many of the technical details of creating a CHM help file automatically, allowing you to focus on creating the content of your help file. For example, when you use a program like HelpNDoc to create a CHM help file, you can simply add your content to the program and then use its built-in tools to create a table of contents and index. The program will automatically create the necessary HTML files and other resources for your help file, and will then compile everything into a CHM file with a single click.
The time-saving features of third-party programs can make it more efficient to create a CHM help file, and can allow you to focus on creating high-quality content for your users.
Help authoring software are extremely flexible 🤸
Third-party help authoring software offer flexibility by allowing the creation of multiple file formats from the same content, making it easier to create a help file that meets the specific needs of the project and users.
In addition to making it easier and more efficient to create a CHM help file, help authoring software also offer flexibility that may be useful for your project. Indeed, many of these programs allow you to create help files in multiple formats from the same content. You could therefore use the same content to create a CHM help file for use on Windows, as well as a PDF file for users who prefer to read documentation offline, and a fully functional HTML website that can be accessed online…
The flexibility of third-party programs can make it easier to create a CHM help file that meets the specific needs of your project and your users, while allowing the production of alternative formats to simplify documentation consumption.
Why wait? Download your free help authoring software now ⚡
As we’ve seen, using a third-party program like HelpNDoc to create a CHM help file provide several benefits compared to using HTML Help Workshop directly. These help authoring software offer a user-friendly graphical interface, powerful features, time-saving tools, and flexibility that can make it easier and more efficient to create a professional-looking CHM help file. If you are considering creating a CHM help file, we recommend exploring the options provided by HelpNDoc to see how they can help you create a better experience for your users: HelpNDoc is free for personal use and evaluation purposes, so you can try it out for as long as you’d like to see if it is a best fit for your project.
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