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The basic publishing procedure in Help+Manual is the same for all output formats: You select Publish, choose the output format and for some formats you choose a layout template or skin option. The only exception is generating a printed manual directly, which uses a different user interface.
The list below lists some individual considerations for each output format.
You can use a variable instead of a file name in the output field. This should be a variable defined globally for the entire project, not a single-topic variable. Don't include the file extension in the variable definition, as that is added automatically by Help+Manual if it is not present in the output field. So you should enter something like:
<%OUTPUT_FILE%>.pdf or <%OUTPUT_FILE%>.html.
Use WebHelp to make your documentation accessible on the Internet and local intranets in your company network. It provides a fully interactive interface with a table of contents, keyword index and search and supports dynamic features like expanding sections, popup information windows and videos.
Check that your HTML Export Options are configured for high-resolution devices
You now need to consider high-resolution 4K monitors and devices like the Microsoft Surface and Lenovo Yoga Pro when you are planning your WebHelp. If you don't do this the text and other elements will often be too small to read on these devices. If you set the configuration options described below Help+Manual will automatically adjust everything else so that it displays correctly on high-resolution displays.
1.Open your project in Help+Manual and in the Project Explorer navigate to Configuration > Publishing Options > WebHelp > HTML Export Options.
2.Set Font Size Encoding to: em (1em = 100%).
3.The Font size of style "Normal" setting is grayed out for ems/rems because it is only used when font encoding is set in percent.
Once the base font encoding is set to ems all elements in your topic files will then automatically be adapted for correct display on both normal and high-resolution devices and monitors.
Select a skin to define your WebHelp layout
Help+Manual projects include standard HTML templates for WebHelp but these are very basic and you will normally want a more attractive layout. To get this you just need to select a skin with the Select Skin option in the Publish dialog (see below). Click on the bar below the heading and select one of the skins from the previews displayed. It is generally better to select one of the skins with the word "integrated" in its name.
If you want even more advanced skins, check out the options available in the Help+Manual Premium Pack add-on.
Publish to WebHelp
1.Open and select your project in Help+Manual. Then select Publish in the Project tab, then click on Publish Format at the top of the page and select WebHelp.
2.Click on the browse button in the Index page: field and choose an empty output folder. Leave the index.html file name unchanged. This should always be used as the main page for WebHelp.
3.Click on the Select Skin bar and select a WebHelp skin.
4.Activate the Display file when publishing is complete option so that Help+Manual will open the WebHelp with its integrated web server after publishing so that you can view it.
5.Select Publish Now! at the top right to generate and view WebHelp.
Publishing WebHelp is almost the same as publishing any other format. However, since you are actually creating a website consisting of a large number of individual files there are a couple of additional points you need to bear in mind:
The modern alternative to CHM help files
Help+Manual's eWriter format is the modern alternative to CHM help files for Windows software documentation. It has both a standalone viewer that installs automatically from the Windows Store and a standard Windows viewer that you can install with your software for Windows 7 and earlier. EWriter can be fully skinned with WebHelp skins and supports context-sensitive help.
Configuring and using eWriter Help
See the eWriter chapter in the Configuring section for full information on configuring, using and distributing eWriter books. See Links & Context Help and eWriter for Software Help for additional information you will need if you are going to deploy eWriter for your software documentation.
Use the .ewriter file extension for files distributed on their own
Use the the standard .ewriter file extension if you are going to distribute eWriter Help files on their own. This extension is registered in the Windows Store and makes it possible for Windows 10 and 11 users to get the viewer from the Windows Store when they open an eWriter file.
Users on older versions of Windows and MacOS users can get the free installers from our eWriter page:
Configure your eWriter viewer settings
EWriter books contain settings that configure the viewer's appearance and behavior. Before publishing to eWriter, check out and set up the configuration options. See here for details and instructions. You can configure a main menu and right-click context menu, security and password options, an expiry date for the help file and some other features.
You need to use a WebHelp skin for your output
Since eWriter is really WebHelp, you need to either configure your WebHelp templates in your project or choose one of Help+Manual's ready-to-use skins, or one of the dedicated eWriter skins in the Premium Pack add-on. See here for details on configuring your WebHelp templates and here for more details on skins.
Publish your eWriter Help
1.Open and select your project in Help+Manual. Then select Publish in the Project tab, then click on Publish Format at the top of the page and select eWriter Help.
2.Choose an output folder and file name for your eWriter Help file in the Output File: field. The extension you give your output file determines the type of eWriter Help file that will be generated:
a.Data eWriter Help file: Use the standard .ewriter extension or your own custom extension for your software documentation.
b.Standalone EXE eWriter Help file: Use the .exe extension to generate a standalone eWriter Help file with an integrated viewer. This only works on Windows.
3.Click on the Select Skin bar and select a WebHelp skin. If you are selecting an edited skin for the first time you will need to click on the Open Skin option at the top of the menu displayed to navigate to the skin file and select it.
4.Look in the Include Options box and make sure that both WebHelp and eBook are selected. Since eWriter combines aspects of both these formats, both these options need to be active.
5.Select Publish Now! at the top right to generate the eWriter Help file.
Microsoft CHM files used to be the standard documentation format for user applications on Windows. However, even though they still work in current Windows they are now obsolete. They look as though they belong in the old world of Windows 98, and they do: Microsoft has not developed the CHM system at all since it was released with Windows 98. They have not even fixed any of the many bugs.
The Microsoft CHM viewer doesn't support Unicode or high-resolution displays, and its appearance cannot be changed in any way. It uses a restricted and quirky version of Internet Explorer to render HTML and has problems with modern HTML5, CSS3 and scripting. CHM files are blocked on network drives and can only viewed at all when installed on a local computer drive together with the software that is calling them.
Use the new eWriter format instead of CHM!
If you are not forced to use the obsolete CHM format for some reason, we strongly recommend switching to the eWriter format for local Windows software documentation. It has a viewer that installs automatically from the Windows Store, supports context-sensitive help and is fully skinnable with WebHelp skins.
Make sure you have the Microsoft CHM compiler installed
If you must use CHM, Help+Manual needs this compiler to convert your project output into a CHM file. It is included in the free Microsoft HTML Help Workshop package. If you have not installed HTML Help Workshop yet, see here for instructions and a download link.
Publishing projects in non-Latin languages to CHM
If your project is in a non-Latin language like Chinese, Georgian, or Thai, you need to set language of the System Locale of your Windows system to match that of the project language before publishing. Otherwise the characters used in that language won't be displayed correctly in the published CHM file.
In current Windows versions this is accessed in Settings > Time & Language > Region > Additional date, time & regional settings. Then select Region in the new dialog that opens and you will find the locale setting in the Administrative tab. Alternatively, you can open the Control Panel directly and select the Region option. Your user account must have administrator permissions to configure this setting and you must restart Windows after changing this setting to apply it.
See CHM in Non-Latin Languages to learn how to publish multiple projects to different non-Latin languages using CHM without having to restart Windows for each project.
Check that your HTML Export Options are configured for high-resolution devices
The Microsoft CHM Viewer in Windows uses an old HTML rendering engine that has special requirements. Help+Manual can automatically configure your CHM file so that it displays correctly on high-resolution 4K monitors and devices like the Microsoft Surface and Lenovo Yoga Pro. If you don't do this the text and other elements will often be too small to read on these devices.
1.Open your project in Help+Manual and in the Project Explorer navigate to Configuration > Publishing Options > MS HTML Help > HTML Export Options.
2.Set Font Size Encoding to: pt Points.
3.Select the checkbox for Make pixel sizes relative to monitor resolution (4K display compatibility)
All elements of your CHM file will then automatically be adapted for correct display on both normal and high-resolution devices and monitors.
Publishing your project as a HTML Help/CHM file
1.Open your project in Help+Manual. Then select Publish in the Project tab, then click on Publish Format at the top of the page and select HTML Help (.chm) as the output format.
2.Choose an output folder and file name for your CHM file in the Output File: field.
3.Optional: Click on the Select Skin bar and select a skin for the topic page layout in your PDF.
4.Click on Publish Now at the top right to generate your CHM file.
Step 1: Publish the project to DOCX
1.Open your project in Help+Manual, select Publish in the Project tab, then select Microsoft Word as the publish format at the top.
2.Select an output location for the DOCX file in the Output path + filename: field. Use the browse button to select a folder for the output.
3.Click on the Select Word Template bar and select the .docx document layout template for your Word DOCX output. See the MS Word DOCX chapter for details on how to set up document layout templates for Word.
Step 2: Activate the TOC, Index and Table of Figures in the DOCX file
These dynamic items are not initialized automatically in Word. When you publish, they are still just placeholders. You need to open the Word file and initialize them to populate them with their contents.
1.Open the new DOCX file in Word and locate the table of contents placeholder.
2.Right-click on the placeholder and select Update Field in the context menu to initialize the table of contents. Alternatively select the References tab in Word and select the Update Table option in the Table of Contents section.
Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the Keyword Index and Table of Figures. The Update Table commands for these items are in the Captions and Index sections of the References tab in Word.
Make sure you have an ePUB viewer installed for previewing
See this topic for information on getting and installing a free ePUB viewer program.
Configure your ePUB settings
Before publishing an ePUB eBook you need to enter some information that is required to make the eBook valid. So follow the instructions in this topic and configure these settings first. Please also note that some content, large tables and complex formatting are not supported in eBooks. See this topic for details.
Publish your ePUB eBook
1.Open your project in Help+Manual. Then select Publish in the Project tab, then click on Publish Format at the top of the page and select ePUB.
2.Choose an output folder and file name for your ePUB eBook in the Output File: field.
3.Select Publish Now! at the top right to generate the ePUB eBook.
Make sure you have an Mobi viewer installed for previewing
See this topic for information on getting and installing a free Mobi viewer program for viewing the eBook on your computer.
Make sure you have the Amazon Kindle eBook compiler installed
You need the Kindle eBook compiler from Amazon to create Mobi/Kindle eBooks with Help+Manual, which automatically uses the compiler to create the Kindle eBook with your project. See this topic for the download link and instructions.
Configure your Mobi settings
Before publishing an Mobi eBook you need to enter some information that is required to make the eBook valid. Mobi/Kindle eBooks share the same settings with ePUB eBooks. So follow the instructions in this topic and configure these settings first. Please also note that some content, large tables and complex formatting are not supported in eBooks. See this topic for details.
Publish your Mobi eBook
1.Open and select your project in Help+Manual. Then select Publish in the Project tab, then click on Publish Format at the top of the page and select Kindle/Mobi.
2.Choose an output folder and file name for your Kindle/Mobi eBook in the Output File: field.
3.Select Publish Now! at the top right to generate the Mobi eBook.
Help+Manual generates PDF documents both with interactive features (hyperlinks, clickable table of contents etc.) and in "plain" form, which is more like a simple representation of a printed page on the screen. Plain PDF documents are ideal for printing. It's a good idea to create one for those users who prefer to print all or part of their documentation, because printed PDFs are always much better than printed topics from other help formats.
Choose and configure a PDF template
In addition to the content from your project's topics, you also need page definitions and additional pages to create a PDF document. In addition to the page margins, headers and footers and page numbers, you will generally also want things like a cover page, a foreword, a print-style table of contents, a keyword index at the end of the document and so on. All these things are defined in a separate document we refer to as a PDF print manual template, which you can select and edit with the Manual Designer tool in the Project tab.
Help+Manual comes with a set of pre-designed PDF templates that you can use right away without editing them. However, you will need to add your own personal information to these templates to use them for production output. See Using PDF templates to learn how to access, edit and choose a PDF template.
Configure the global PDF options in your project
In the Project Explorer, navigate down to Configuration > Publishing Options > Adobe PDF and examine and change the settings there as necessary. See here for reference information on all the options available there. See the main PDF and Printed Manuals chapter for more detailed information on PDF.
Publish your project as PDF with the template
1.Open and select your project in Help+Manual. Then select Publish in the Project tab, then click on Publish Format at the top of the page and select PDF as the output format.
2.Choose an output folder and file name for your PDF file in the Output File: field.
3.Click on the Select Print Manual Template and select your template. If you are selecting an edited template for the first time you will need to click on the Open Skin option at the top of the menu displayed to navigate to the template and select it.
4.Select Publish Now! at the top right to generate the PDF file.
Choose and configure a PDF template
Help+Manual generates printed manuals by creating a temporary PDF and printing it. You need to choose and prepare a PDF print manual template for printed manuals in the same way as for producing a PDF. Both printed manuals and PDFs can use the same templates. See the instructions for publishing PDFs above for details.
Choose your printing options and print
1.Open and select your project in Help+Manual. Then select Print Manual in the File menu.
2.Select Print or Preview at the top left depending on whether you want to print directly or view a preview first.
3.Select the printer and the print manual template at the top, then select your settings for printing. See Printing user manuals for detailed instructions and Print Manual for a reference to all the available options.
4.Select Print or Preview at the top right to generate the printout or view the preview.
Please note that Visual Studio Help 2008 and 2010 (MS Help 2.0 and 3.0) is a special case. Please see the special Visual Studio Help chapter in the More Advanced Procedures section for details.
Visual Studio Help is a special help format that is only used for documenting programming components in Visual Studio .NET. It cannot be used for documenting normal application programs and if you are not a VS .NET programmer you don't need to know anything about it!
Support for Visual Studio Help is only available in the Professional and Floating license versions of Help+Manual.