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.
When it comes to creating high-quality help files, user manuals, documentation websites, or eBooks, Microsoft Word is not the best tool for the job. In fact, it can be a real pain to use and the results are often far from satisfactory: managing multiple interconnected documents with Microsoft Word is very hard, error-prone, and time-consuming. A Help Authoring Tool (HAT), such as HelpNDoc, is much simpler, faster, and therefore cheaper to use.
Managing media assets such as pictures throughout help files, documentation projects or ebooks can be a daunting task and this is why the HelpNDoc help authoring tool implements a centralized library: media assets are managed from the project’s library, and changes are automatically applied to every instances throughout the project.
But some settings (such as dimensions, positions, alterative texts…) can be customized for each instance, making them hard to update for frequently used assets.
Microsoft Word, and similar word processing software such as LibreOffice, are great to write and format documents meant to be printed, but not so good at producing HTML websites from those documents: they generate suboptimal single-page HTML / CSS code which is not optimized for different screen sizes and devices such as smartphones.
By leveraging the import and export capabilities of a help authoring tool such as HelpNDoc (which is free for personal use), it is extremely easy to convert a Word document to a fully functional multi-page and responsive HTML 5 website.
Even though the Microsoft Rich Text Format (RTF) could be considered as a legacy document format, it is supported by enough software and operating systems to be considered as highly portable and a great choice for cross-platform document exchange. Thanks to the HelpNDoc help authoring tool, you can produce your documentation projects not only as Microsoft Word DocX documents, but also as fully valid RTF documents, giving you a great choice of document format generation options.
One of the most important help file format produced by the HelpNDoc help authoring tool is the HTML documentation format: the fully functional documentation web-sites can be hosted on any web server for quick access to self-service documentation, thus simplifying customer accessibility and the work of the support team. Support agents frequently need to share context-sensitive URLs to customers to explain specific tasks but those are often too long and hard to remember and type.
Technical writers are spending a lot of time making sure that the content they are writing is relevant, clear, and concise so they should not have to waste time operating their favorite help authoring software when they need to perform common tasks such as creating hyperlinks. Fortunately, the HelpNDoc help authoring tool provides multiple ways to speed up hyperlink creation, thus helping technical writers spend their time where it matters the most: writing great content.
Technical writers can use a special robots.txt file or define robots meta tags in their HTML documentation to specify how popular search engines, such as Google or Bing, should index and serve individual pages in search results. In this article, we will see how we can update the default HTML template provided by the HelpNDoc help authoring tool to generate a robots.txt file, specify a project-wide default value for the robots meta tag, and override its content on specific documentation pages.
HelpNDoc’s stunning user interface has been carefully designed to be as clean and easy to use as possible. It presents the minimum needed to be as fast and effective as possible in writing and producing help files, user manuals and eBooks; Yet it provides advanced features for power users such as the ability to move, resize and place panels wherever you like. Let’s see how this can be achieved in this article.
Creating the most complete, comprehensive and up-to-date documentation is the number one priority of technical writers. But readers expect a clean and modern design and companies oftentimes need to integrate documentation web-sites with their existing material, thus mimicking a predefined look-and-feel. Thankfully, the HelpNDoc help authoring tool lets you rapidly add a logo or custom CSS code for quick customization, or even create a completely new template to fully customize your deliverables.