Technical writers need to frequently build their documentation, user manual or help web-sites to be able to share them with team members or deliver them to end-users. This can be a time consuming process which require care and attention to make sure that the correct version is periodically built. Fortunately, the HelpNDoc help authoring tool can be automated to perform scheduled documentation generation. Let’s see how this can be done.
Technical writers rely on hyperlinks to organize and reference multiple parts of their printed user manuals, eBooks or help files. Making sure hyperlinks are up to date is very important as broken hyperlinks can disrupt the learning flow of the end-user, who might be overwhelmed as she couldn’t find the information needed: this can lead to increased support costs if a support ticket is opened. Thankfully, the HelpNDoc help authoring tool includes a straightforward hyperlink analyzer to help technical writers quickly spot and fix problematic hyperlinks.
The recent release of HelpNDoc 6.4 includes an enhanced single page HTML template with the ability to optionally add a table of contents to the produced single page HTML documentation. We obviously used HelpNDoc’s powerful template editor to modify the single page template and we thought it might be a good idea to document this process for learning purposes. Follow the steps described in this article to learn how you can create and alter HTML-based documentation templates using HelpNDoc’s build-in tools.
HelpNDoc 6.0 added support for topic status, which greatly simplifies the maintenance of documentation projects for technical authors: topics can be tagged as being “Out of Date”, “In Progress”, “Needs Review”, “Complete” or any custom status you define. You might be tempted to leverage that feature to update an old project and change the status of all your topics to “Needs Review” to start reviewing them one by one. But individually updating every topic in a big project will be time consuming.
HelpNDoc includes a very powerful template processor where you can customize any part of the generated documentation. Most of the time, you’ll use the default template of the documentation format you’d like to customize as a starting point. But when a new version of HelpNDoc is released, the default template might have evolved with new features and fixes, and you might want to include those changes in your custom templates. The solution is to compare and merge the updated default template with your own one.
A standard help authoring tool such as HelpNDoc is a software where you generally write and organize content in order to produce documentation files for the end-user. As revisions are needed, the content needs to stay organized, and it usually involves a lot of laborious and error-prone tasks such as copying / pasting content all over the project, deleting content, moving and merging topics… Fortunately, HelpNDoc includes a powerful scripting processor which can help automate documentation creation, maintenance, reorganization… Let’s see how we can leverage HelpNDoc’s scripting capabilities to merge multiple children topics into a parent topic.
HelpNDoc is a leading user-friendly help authoring software that was designed to make technical writing easier. Over the years, the software has undergone several different development phases to make it more user-friendly, and with improved features, not only for technical writers but for authors as well.
Presently, HelpNDoc is well known for its several different user-friendly features. Notably for its ability to generate several different file formats from just one source file including cross platform Qt Help files, Web-based HTML 5 documentations, standard Windows CHM help files, printable PDF and Word documents, ePub and Kindle eBooks as well as iPhone specific websites.
Add a custom logo to the project’s library The library includes every reusable media elements (pictures, movies, documents…) available in the project.
In order to add the desired logo picture to the project’s library, a few simple steps are required:
Writing an online help file, a user manual, an eBook or any other format handled by HelpNDoc is usually lengthy ongoing and non-linear process. Oftentimes, as the content evolves, the overall topic hierarchy can become sub-optimal and a re-organization is required in order to make the documentation easier to read and navigate. Even though HelpNDoc provides tools to easily re-organize the table of contents, in some cases the process can be lengthy and error-prone, such as when an alphabetical sorting of topics is required.
When producing a help file, a user manual or an eBook, it is not only important to provide translations based on the targeted audience, but also to use the proper terms based on the readers’ languages. Let’s take the “colour” term as an example: “color” is the preferred spelling in American English while “colour” is preferred in all other main varieties of English. As a technical writer, supporting multiple language variants can lead to complications and extra work to make sure that the whole documentation is error-free.