When you publish your output a report is displayed in a window with a reminder of the files and/or folders that you need to distribute to your users. Below is a summary checklist of the files you normally need to distribute for each output format supported by Help+Manual.
In addition to the files actually generated when you publish your project, remember that you also need to distribute any external files referenced or linked to in your project – for example PDF files linked to in a CHM help file, which need to be stored in the same folder as the CHM. This is easy to forget.
HTML Help is published to a single CHM file containing everything needed for the fully-functional help. You will only need to distribute multiple files if you are creating a modular project with multiple help files or if you are accessing additional external files in your help, for example with file links. If you do access and distribute external files with HTML Help you must store them in the same directory as the CHM file. Links to external files with path information will fail on many (but not all) users' computers because of uncorrected bugs in the Microsoft HTML Help viewer that is an integral part of the Microsoft Windows operating system.
If you are distributing any additional files with your WebHelp you must add them to the directory manually, or add them to the Baggage Files in the Project Explorer (then they will be exported automatically).
If you want your WebHelp to be opened locally without a server (for example WebHelp on CDs and DVDs), Help+Manual has a special mini server that you can distribute with your help for better performance. See HM2Go - mini server for local WebHelp for details.
Adobe PDF output always consists of a single .pdf file. It is also possible to embed referenced files in the PDF file.
ePUB eBooks consist of a single file with the .epub extension. This file is actually a zip archive that contains the XHTML and XML files that make up the ePUB eBook.
Kindle/Mobi eBooks consist of a single file with the .mobi extension. This is also an archive, but has a proprietary Amazon format.
eWriter Help consists of a single data file that can have the extension .ewriter or an extension defined by the user. It uses a standalone eViewer viewer that can be installed along with your documentation, or by the user. eWriter Help files with the standard .ewriter extension can also be installed by the eViewer application available on the Windows Store, which the user is prompted to install when they double-click on an .ewriter file. The eViewer is also available for MacOS.
Optionally, eWriter Help can also be generated in an.exe file that contains both the help content and the viewer program needed to display it. This file is completely self-contained and it is the only file you need to distribute. However, it is now deprecated because of the increasing security problems involved in distributing documentation in executable files. See eWriter Help for more details on the benefits of the eWriter format.
MS Word DOCX is output to a single .docx file. If the file contains images the graphics files are embedded directly into it, as they are in Word.
Please note that these formats are not designed for general help for user applications! Visual Studio Help is only used to document programming components in Visual Studio .NET. This help format is irrelevant for normal help and documentation applications.
Visual Studio Help 2008 (MS Help 2.0/HXS)
Help 2.0 is normally output to a single, self-contained .hxs file. This is the only file you need to distribute. However, you can also choose an option to create both an .hxs file and a separate .hxl file in Configuration > Publishing Options > Visual Studio Help > Namespace & Options.
Visual Studio Help 2010 (MS Help 3.0/MSHC)
Visual Studio Help 2010/MS Help 3.0 consists of a single file with the extension .mshc. This is actually a zip archive and it can be unpacked with any zip utility, just like MS Word .docx files. The compiled MSHC file must then be installed in Visual Studio with the Visual Studio Help Manager. Please consult the Visual Studio documentation for details.
Help Formats (Reference)