You have the following options for distributing eWriter Help and making sure that your readers and users have the necessary viewer.
In this case you need to install the eViewer application along with your own application and eWriter Help documentation files. Alternatively, you can also use standalone EXE eWriter files on Windows that combine the viewer and the help in a single file. In both cases, see EWriter for Software Help for instructions.
If you are not going to be calling your eWriter documentation from your own software, you need to make sure that your users will be able to view it. There are several ways to achieve this:
Use the .ewriter extension for Windows users
This is the best option. You can distribute the files without security issues, even by email, and Windows 10 and 11 users will be automatically prompted to install eViewer from the Windows Store if they don't already have it. Once installed, all .ewriter files will automatically open in the viewer.
Provide links to the installers for MacOS and Windows
MacOS users always need to install the app, and some Windows users may not want to use the Windows Store. You need to direct these users to the installer downloads on the eWriter web page:
Here too, you need to create eWriter Help files with the standard .ewriter extension so that they open automatically in eViewer.
Standalone EXE eWriter Help files for Windows
The standalone EXE format combining the viewer and the documentation in a single file is convenient, because it is all the user needs. However, it only works on Windows and there are serious distribution problems. You cannot send files like this by email, and many users will mistrust EXE files. Also, you need to sign the file with a code-signing certificate, otherwise the user will have to click away a scary Windows message saying that it might be malware.
This is not a problem with data eWriter Help files. You can just mail .ewriter files as regular attachments.The books are compact, neutral, compressed data packages that should not raise any red flags in AV and mail server filters, including those that examine the contents of zips and other archives.
The EXE books are the original all-in-one option that combine the viewer and the book in a single file. This is not really very practical nowadays, because downloading EXE files is almost always problematic. It also increases the size of every eBook by around 4 megabytes. Even so, there may still be some situations in which you prefer to distribute your eWriter books in this format. For example, it is quite possible to use EXE eBooks as integrated help files for software, as they support the same context references from your application as the separate viewer application.
If you do decide to distribute EXE eBooks you must sign them digitally yourself. Our viewer is signed digitally by us, but as soon as you combine it with your documentation data, the checksum of the file changes and the signature is no longer valid. You need a code signing certificate, which you will already have anyway if your are a software developer.