Support in output formats

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Support in output formats

Support for local video files varies according to the output format you are using. This support is dependent on the output formats themselves, not on the capabilities of Help+Manual.

The bottom line is that if you want to be relatively sure that your movie will play on the user's computer then use Flash or online video services for CHM files, MP4 or online video services for WebHelp and M4V for videos in iBooks®/ePUB eBooks (only plays in Apple iBooks®). All other video formats will cause problems on at least some users' systems, even if they seem to be working for you.

You can also use Flash SWF files for WebHelp but support for this format is going away. It is no longer supported on mobile devices in any meaningful way and support from desktop platforms is also dwindling. Apple Mac computers are now shipped with no Flash support for the standard Apple Safari browser, for example, and Mac users have been advised not to install it because of its negative impact on battery life on laptops.

Support for video files in output formats

HTML Help / CHM:

Flash video will still play reliably in CHM files if the Adobe Flash plugin is installed in Internet Explorer. However, you need to be aware that it is now deprecated on all platforms and an increasing number of users will not have the plugin installed. Generally, Flash should now be avoided as it must be regarded as a dead technology.

Goalfish presentations are embedded in the CHM file and will play reliably. See Animated Goalfish presentations for details.

Online video services will play reliably in CHM files. All other video formats will fail to play in CHM files on at least some users' computers. Online video does require an Internet connection, of course. However, Help+Manual inserts the videos so that the connection is only required when the user actually clicks on the video to play it. The iFrame with  the video content is not loaded at all until then. When the user clicks, the preview image is replaced with the iFrame.

MP4 video encoded with an Apple profile is the most reliable video format, if you must use local video. Note that the video will not and cannot be embedded in the CHM, as Microsoft now forbids this for all formats except Flash – and that is deprecated.

WebHelp:

Many video formats are theoretically supported, but we strongly recommend using either MP4 or online video services. Flash SWF should be regarded as a dead technology and will no longer play on any relevant mobile devices (i.e. iOS or Android). A growing number of desktop users and platforms are also turning against it.

eWriter Exe eBooks:

Same video formats supported in WebHelp, including Goalfish presentations.

iBooks®/ePUB eBooks:

Only Apple iBooks® supports video in ePUB eBooks reliably and for it to work you must use properly encoded M4V video files created with a tool that supports Apple video profiles, like Apple QuickTime or the excellent free weblink Handbrake tool. No other video or presentation formats are supported in ePUB.

Some other ePUB readers may support video but you shouldn't rely on it yet.

Kindle eBooks:

No multimedia support. File links to external media files may work on Kindle apps in tablets and computers, but will fail on the original Kindle readers with e-ink displays.

Adobe PDF:

No multimedia support except as file links to external media files.

Word DOCX:

No multimedia support except as file links to external media files.

See also:

Help Formats (Reference)