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Navigation: HelpXPlain Online Help > Introduction

What is HelpXplain?

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HelpXplain is a screenshot utility, a graphics editor and a revolutionary tool that makes animated infographics, screencasts and tutorials faster than you could have believed possible. Your animated"Xplains" can then be inserted in your documentation as easily as a single screenshot.

This tutorial took just two minutes to make. It's actually easier and faster than making and annotating screenshots. Click on it and see!

Turning on word wrap in Notepad

HelpXplain is based on the latest HTML5 and CSS3 animation and browser technology. It also doesn't use Flash, so it is compatible with all current platforms.

What can you do with HelpXplain?

HelpXplain can make everything from simple images with mouseover effects to complex tutorials guiding the user through multiple steps of a procedure. Amazingly quickly, and with none of the stress of video screencasts.

See the Examples topic in this chapter to get just a small taste. Then have a look at the Getting Started chapter for a more in-depth introduction.

Distribution and publication options

There are a whole range ways to make your HelpXplain creations available to your customers and users. See Output Formats and Publishing Your Xplains for details.

Regular screenshots and static images:
In addition to all the dynamic options, don't forget that HelpXplain is a superior screenshot utility with which you can make complex static screenshots with annotations, text and additional elements.

Animated HTML embedded in web pages:
You can embed animated Xplains in your own web pages or in Help+Manual documentation projects.

As single-file eWriter eBooks that display on any Windows device:
These unique books support all HelpXplain animations, audio etc. and can be distributed by download or as email attachments without restrictions. Windows 8 and 10 users automatically get the viewer from the Windows Store when they open an .ewriter book. Windows XP, Vista and 7 users can get the free viewer installer from the eWriter website. See Dynamic eWriter eBooks for details.

An image slider playing in the eWriter Viewer with full  HelpXplain features, including audio and animations

An image slider playing in the eWriter Viewer with full
HelpXplain features, including audio and animations

As PDF files:
You can output an Xplain as a static PDF file with an image of each slide on every page.

As an animated GIF image:
Each slide is exported as an image in a GIF file that then plays the slides when the GIF is displayed. (Animations within the slides not supported)

As static images:
If needed, you can also export images of your slides as a set of static images for use elsewhere.

Integrated machine and XML translation support

See Translation Support for full details on machine and XLIFF/XML translation support.

Integrated Machine translation:

HelpXplain integrates advanced AI-based DeepL machine translation. This system is radically superior to all previous machine translation systems, which couldn't be taken seriously. DeepL is different and it is really usable with minimum editing. It can automatically translate the texts in your presentations between English, Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Polish!

XLIFF translation export and import:

If you prefer to use the services of a professional translator you can use the integrated translation export and import. This uses the industry standard XLIFF translation format that can write and read translation files that can be processed by all XLIFF-compatible XLIFF tools.

Print your animated presentations!

What!? Yes, you read that correctly: With HelpXplain you can print your animated presentations, without any need for conversion to different formats and editing. In HelpXplain itself you just publish to PDF and print that. If you are using our Help+Manual technical writing and help authoring suite you can extract the printable format from an .xplain file directly into your Help+Manual project, in addition to integrating it directly as an animated HowTo.

No-stress tutorials and screencasts!

Have you ever tried to make a video tutorial? HelpXplain eliminates that stress and frustration. It snaps images of what you do on the screen automatically or manually as you work. You choose the working speed, and you can make changes between captures. Then HelpXplain automatically stitches your captures together into an editable screencast.

There is no time pressure, and no need to do everything perfectly. You can easily delete mistakes and re-take individual snaps later.

Easy enhancement

Adjust the position and behavior of the mouse cursor after recording

Add text bubbles (callouts), shapes, graphics, photos and more

Animate elements into and out of view – in order or together

Control slide transitions and duration and create zoom effects

Add hyperlinks, redirection and mouseover effects

The Editing Images & Elements chapter will teach you how to add custom content.

Custom animated infographics

You can also create your own presentations by defining your own slides on the HelpXplain canvas. Then add your own content and rearrange the slides with the mouse for custom pan, zoom and rotate effects in the transitions.

See Editing Animated Xplains to become an expert Xplainer!

Animated web sliders

HelpXplain can automatically convert a series of photos or graphics into an animated web slider, in which the user scrolls through the images. Just like screencasts and your own custom Xplains, these sliders can be fully automatic or interactive.

This is amazingly quick and easy. See Make an Image Slider to learn how.

Screenshots with enhancements

HelpXplain is also a screenshot tool. You can annotate your shots with callouts (text bubbles) shapes, text, additional images and more, and save them in a wide range of different graphics formats. The original HelpXplain project remains fully editable, so you can always change details later without having to redo the whole screenshot.

Learn how with Make and Edit a Screenshot.