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Help+Manual Windows eWriter eBooks require MS Windows to display. Use ePUB, PDF or Word RTF if you want to generate eBooks that can be read on electronic eBook readers.  

 

This is a unique Help+Manual format that packages WebHelp with its full table of contents and user interface into a single file. On Windows 10 users will be prompted to install the Windows Store eViewer app for eWriter when they open a file with the .ewriter extension, if they don't already have the viewer. A free installer for the standard Windows eViewer app is available from our eWriter page for users on earlier versions of Windows.

EWriter uses Windows' own HTML rendering engine to display the content, with full support for CSS3, HTML5 and JavaScript. The eWriter files are neutral, digitally compressed files that can be distributed without signatures by download or as email attachments.

The better alternative to CHM

EWriter eBooks are an attractive alternative to the obsolete CHM format for documenting software applications on Windows machines. The eWriter format combines the benefits of CHM and WebHelp and eliminates the disadvantages of both. It also allows you to execute operations in your application with hyperlinks for the creation of interactive help tutorials.

Format with WebHelp skins

You can use WebHelp skins for eWriter to get all the layout and formatting options available in WebHelp, including integrated search and a keyword index. At the same time, it is a compact single file like a CHM and supports context help calls from applications. Unlike CHM files, it can be accessed on networks, and unlike WebHelp, repeated application calls to the same eWriter eBook all open in the same window. It is stored in a single, compact binary file.

Unique benefits of eWriter eBooks

Viewer and distribution options

Windows Store viewer that installs automatically when the user opens an eWriter file with the .ewriter extension (Windows 10)

Free installer for users on earlier versions of Windows

Viewer can also be installed as part of your software installation

Neutral binary files that can be freely distributed by download, as email attachments or as part of a software installation

General Features:

Publish Help+Manual created documentation directly to eWriter with full TOC and user interface, using WebHelp skins.

You can also package any HTML files or websites as an eWriter eBook, complete with all the layout and dynamic features supported by HTML.  

Consistent presentation, always using the same HTML rendering engine. No nasty surprises because of different displays in different browsers.

Perform operations in your application with links in the help for interactive documentation and tutorials

Advanced security: provides levels of protection impossible in CHM files or WebHelp.

Supports HelpXplain animations, video, JavaScript, CSS etc.

Context help support – use eBooks instead of CHM files or WebHelp for software documentation.  

Make advanced eBooks with rich features not possible in conventional, plain-text eBooks.

Kiosk mode for interactive demonstrations and presentations.

Security features

Password protection.

Prevent copying and printing.

EBooks with expiry date that can automatically open a specific web page when opened after expiry.

Support for digital signing for added validation and protection.

Prevent access to the source code of your HTML pages.

Allow eBooks to be opened only by Administrator Windows accounts.  

Benefits for software documentation

Full support for context help calls to topics and anchors

Security and access control features not available in CHM and WebHelp

Can be accessed on a local network, unlike CHM.

Compact, single-file format (WebHelp must be stored in a folder containing many files and requires a web server to work properly)

Unlike WebHelp, every call from your application to the eBook is opened in the same window. Every call from an application to WebHelp opens a new browser window.

Full support for context help with simple URL syntax. You can interpret all the components of the URL command line just as you would in a normal web browser.

The user never sees the command line.  

Features and pros and cons of eWriter eBooks:

File extension:

.ewriter
.exe (older integrated format with book and viewer in a single EXE file)

You can also choose any extension you like when deploying eWriter for your own software documentation.

Formats:

Single, neutral compressed binary file. Separate standalone viewer.

Alternative: Integrated format combining viewer and book in a single EXE file with a name of your choice.

Platforms:

Full MS Windows only, Windows RT and Windows CS not supported. Viewer for MacOS planned.

Typical use:

Windows software documentation, computer and Windows tablet based eBooks, stand-alone documentation, time-limited subscription and demonstration books, kiosk applications (includes a kiosk mode)

Table of contents:

Yes

Keyword index:

Yes

Full text search:

Yes

Context-sensitive help:

Full support for context-sensitive help. It is possible to make direct calls to specific topics and anchors in the help. Combines the functionality of CHM and WebHelp in a single compact file.

Limitation: No equivalent for CHM's A-Links and K-Links

Popups:

Yes, same formatted popup functionality supported as in regular WebHelp.

Multimedia:

Same as WebHelp

Printable by user:

Printing by topic, as in WebHelp. Even so, we recommend providing a PDF version for printing.

Pros:

Combines benefits of CHM and WebHelp, eliminating the disadvantages of both formats. Reliable HTML rendering because the same Windows HTML engine is always used. Same layout and skinning flexibility as WebHelp. Supports performing operations in your application from links in the help for interactive documentation and tutorials. Full context sensitive help support. Single compact file. Accessible on local networks. Excellent security and access control features.

Windows Store viewer app installs automatically for users of Windows 8 and 10. Free viewer installers available for Windows XP, Vista and 7.

Cons:

Windows only, not yet available on Linux, MacOS, iOS or Android. Not compatible with hardware eBook readers (but can be used on Windows tablets). No equivalent for CHM A-Link and K-Link functionality.

See also:

Configuring eWriter eBooks

eWriter project configuration settings reference