Help+Manual News

Help+Manual 8.1.0 Released

We are glad to announce the release of Help+Manual 8.1. If you are using version 8 already, this is update is included in your maintenance plan. Just download the setup and run it to update your current installation.

The focus for this update was on speed issues and on floating licenses.

1. Saving Screenshots Took to Long

Did you ever experience a delay when taking a screenshot with Help+Manual? The delay occurred after the screenshot had been taken and before the save dialog appeared. If yes, this is an important update for you!

When taking a screenshot, Help+Manual prompts you to save the screenshot as picture file and suggests a file name, something like clip0019.png. To make sure this suggested file name is unique and not already used by another image, Help+Manual has to test whether such a file exists anywhere in the project search path. This function was not fast enough and that became even more obvious during the covid19 pandemic, where many users were working from home offices, connected via VPN. The connection lag multiplied those delays.

What’s new is, that the save dialog for screenshots should come up 10 to 50 times faster than before – depending on the folder structure of your help project.

2. Optional Password for Floating Licenses

This is important news for admins: the Floating License Manager has been updated with a password/PIN code function. This is an additional security layer, which can be applied to a pool of floating licenses by the administrator. When a password/PIN code is set in place, Help+Manual will prompt the user to enter the password/PIN code. This code is stored locally, so that the end user is not required to enter it every time.

Admins can set or change the password/PIN code to effectively exclude users who are no longer authorized to use a license from the floating license pool.

Help+Manual Floating License Manager

 

3. Miscellaneous Changes and Bug Fixes

  • Faster loading and memory optimized printing for large JPEG images: if a single topic contained several very large JPEG images, the time to load this topic – and decode the JPEG images – has been improved. This also affects printing of such a topic.
  • Print Topic: the function to print a single topic has been improved and fixes an optical glitch during printing.
  • Project Full Report: the list of unused images also reported files without an extension
  • Drag & drop of TOC items: when a TOC item was dragged to another node, the arrow buttons to shift TOC items up/down and left/right where not initialized correctly.
  • Table Insert Row: inserting a table row with keyboard commands only (SHIFT+F10 > Table > Rows > Insert) has triggered an error.
  • Improved dialog to pin a floating license for offline use: Help+Manual allows you to check out (pin) a floating license for offline use. A pinned floating license is exclusively assigned to that computer and blocked for everybody else. Though this function is not required to normally use a floating license, some users always activated it. A new “pin” dialog explains this function better.

Download

Help+Manual 8.1.0 is available from our download page:

https://www.helpandmanual.com/downloads.html

No Comments

Review of Help+Manual 8 on UA Europe

The well-known help technology expert and trainer Matthew Ellison has just published a comprehensive review of Help+Manual 8 on the UA Europe site. As an expert on help authoring, Matthew is uniquely qualified to assess a program like Help+Manual.

UA Europe Help+Manual Review

Click to view the review
on the UA Europe site

 

No Comments

Help+Manual 8.0.3 Maintenance Update

Update: the 8.0.3 release from Tuesday, April 21, triggered a false positive in Windows Defender! The false positive has been resolved. If you encountered a warning from Windows Defender, please re-download the 8.0.3 setup.

As part of our commitment to continuous improvement, we’ve released a maintenance update for Help+Manual 8. If you are using version 8 already, this is update is included in your maintenance plan. Just download the setup and run it to update your current installation.

1. Link lists with Inline Option

The new link lists in version 8 are a highly appreciated feature by most users and we quickly received suggestions how to improve them further. While we are still collection user suggestions for this new object, one of these has been implemented with the 8.0.3 update: an inline option to publish a list of links as comma-separated text, instead of a classic list.

2. Admin Tool: Change File Associations

The View tab has a button to start a new tool, that sets, changes or removes file associations in Windows. A file association tells Windows which program to start when you double click, for instance, a file with the extension .HMXZ. These file associations are automatically set by the installer. For admins who administer floating licenses, however, this can be a big help.

 

3. PDF Layout Configuration

If you create PDF manuals with numbered outlines (outlines are the interactive TOC in a PDF file), the outline numbering was not reflected by the links that point to those topics. The PDF Layout configuration setting now features a configuration option whether to apply numberings to links as well or not:

4. Miscellaneous New Features and Bug Fixes

  • eWriter eBooks: the eBook viewer has been updated to v2.3.5 and now supports external file links to other ebook files, with deep linking. This means you can open another eWriter ebook and jump a specific topic.
  • Equations (math objects) were not exported to DOCX
  • Insert Table dialog: when changing the table style, the number of heading rows is automatically changed as well.
  • XML read bug: if a <snippet> tag is placed on a separate line in the XML source code, an extra blank line was inserted before the snippet in Help+Manual.
  • Copy & paste of topics in TOC: topic title does no longer get an enumeration extension like “_2”
  • List update bug: #150 and #151 in non-symbol fonts (dash and long dash) were sometimes displayed with a symbol charset
  • Updated SubVersion comparison dialog / conflict editing dialog
  • Three new HTML variables have been introduced – these variables can be used in the topic HTML template (more on this in a separate blog post later):
    • <%HM_LINKLIST_SIBLINGS%> Generates an <ul> list of all topics that are on the same level as the current topic, excluding the current topic.
    • <%HM_LINKLIST_CHILDREN%> Generates an <ul> list of child topics of the current topic.
    • <%HM_LINKLIST_ANCHORS%> Generates an <ul> list of all anchors in the current topic.

 

Download

Help+Manual 8.0.3 is available from our download page:

https://www.helpandmanual.com/downloads.html

No Comments

Premium Pack 4.0.3 Maintenance Update

We have just updated Premium Pack 4 to version 4.0.3. This now includes the promised V4 Modern Standard set of skins, which are similar to Modern Flexible but with a more basic appearance and functionality. In addition to this it tidies up some color variables and style settings and corrects a couple of small issues reported by users.

How to get the Premium Pack update

You can download and install the updated version with the credentials you received when you purchased. If you no longer have this please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out. See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 3 and visit our online store to purchase if you do not yet have it.

Skin Updates 

  • New skin category: The V4 Modern Standard skin category is now included. This is a simple, functional layout similar to Modern Flexible, but without width restriction (always full width), with simple drop-down user-configurable menus in the page header.
  • General: Minor corrections in color variables and layout.
  • Modern Compact skins: New settings in Skin Options to disable the logo and link buttons.
  • Flexible and Magazine skins: The MAX_PAGEWIDTH variable in the General Settings variables section now accepts both pixel (px) and percent (%) values for setting the maximum width of the help in the browser window.
  • Magazine skins: Improvement to drop-down menu behavior in phone mode (opening one submenu now closes any other submenu to save space, as in the other skins).
  • Flexible skins: Feature images did not move up with the page header in phone mode when hiding the page header, leaving a gap.
  • V3 eWriter skins: An error caused a delay on opening WebHelp, during which context calls to the skin would fail.
  • V3 eWriter skins: The Minimalist Standard skin included some double variable references that prevented saving changes.

Toolbox utility

  • New program icon
  • New language files for Dutch for V4 skins
  • Minor bug fixes

No Comments

HelpXplain 1.3 Released

This is a maintenance and feature update for HelpXplain, which is free for all registered users. Every license of HelpXplain includes 12 months free updates, maintenance and support.

HelpXplain 1.3

Version 1.3 comes with 2 new features and several small bug fixes. One new feature is an option to restrict the Maximum Image Size in the publish dialog. This is a very useful setting if your Xplain contains many images, in particular large ones. Images may considerably slow down the loading time when viewed in a web browser. If there are too many too large images, memory might not be sufficient. The Maximum Image Size option can reduce the physical size of images during export.

The second new feature is in the DeepL translation function: it now supports Japanese and Chinese (Simplified).

HelpXplain 1.3

 

Other changes and bug fixes in version 1.3:

  • Access violation fixed, that occurred when deleting slides in Object List
  • HTML editor problem with Japanese IME fixed
  • Screen Capture German UI was too small
  • Screencast dialog how to arrange slides was sometimes hidden behind main window
  • Replacing image placeholders with a picture from clipboard create images without filename
  • When changing the display duration of multiple slides in the Animation > Slide Transition dropdown menu, an error occurred.
  • Updated xploader.js script: when loaded in lightbox, it sets to focus to the lightbox to enable keyboard operation without a first click.

 

Download

This update is included in your maintenance plan! Please download the update and install it over your existing version.

No Comments

Help+Manual 8.0.2 Maintenance Update

This is an important maintenance update, strongly recommended for all users of version 8!

Data Loss with Topic Status Change

Version 8.0.2 fixes a bug related to topic-status changes that can cause data loss: if the topic status was changed for multiple topics at once, those topics that have been edited before (and were yet not saved) lost their content.

This bug also triggered a problem with the table of contents, a warning appeared that the table of contents could not be stored.

Please, download and install v8.0.2 over your existing installation of Help+Manual 8.

New Features and bug fixes

  • eWriter eBooks: several small fixes to the eBook viewer – initial browser zoom on high-dpi monitors, viewer app button was sometimes too large, app button color highlight did not always revert to normal.
  • Images in nested tables: were displayed at the wrong size if editor zoom was > 100% and the user switched between editing the outer topic and the first table. This bug was a cosmetic issue only.
  • Publishing tasks: after publishing a task, the click to show the compiler log created an error. Wrong caption in publishing tasks dialog (Delete selected item was named Add Task Action).
  • Image toggles inside table cells, with a fixed image size and without caption, did not scale with Premium Pack skins when the text size changed by the user
  • Link lists: when chapters without text and regular topics were mixed in a list, the text-only-chapters did point to the previous topic
  • HelpXplain export: umlauts in tooltips of poster image had wrong encoding
  • DeepL translation plugin: Japanese and Chinese Simplified are now supported

Update Build 5475 (March 29)

  • Design-time comments: when a comment was displayed as an icon only, it could not easily be double-clicked for editing. Double-click editing for icon-only comments has been improved.
  • Bug fix for the customize-bullet-list dialog
  • Error message “Invalid characters in path” fixed

 

Download

Help+Manual 8.0.2 is available from our download page:

https://www.helpandmanual.com/downloads.html

No Comments

EC Software Business Continuity Plan related to Covid-19

Dear EC Software Clients and Help+Manual Users,

In light of the global spread of Covid-19, we have been monitoring the situation for some time and have taken precautionary steps to safeguard the well-being of our team members and their families while simultaneously ensuring business continuity.

We would like to inform you of what we have done and will do to minimize any disruption for our and your business:

Remote work

We have closed our office until at least end of March and keep working from home. All of the team members are well and healthy and none of us has been traveling to at-risk countries recently. We feel confident that over the next weeks and months, there should be no degradation of our ability to support you.

Continued Email Support, Telephone Hotline Closed

Due to our office being closed, telephone calls for sales and support usually cannot be answered. Please contact us by email, the online contact form, or post in the Help+Manual user forum, if you have questions or need software support. Our generic support address support@ec-software.com is regularly monitored and usually answered within a business day.

We greatly appreciate your understanding and cooperation throughout this entire situation and will continue to keep you informed of any significant changes that may impact our business.

Sincerely,

EC Software Executive Team

,

No Comments

Office or Home Office? Floating licenses allow both.

Floating licenses are a great way to deployHelp+Manual to many users in your organization. A floating license is a concurrent license – it can be used by one person at a time, but is not bound to a particular computer.

With Help+Manual 8, they are not even bound to a local network or departement. The license pool can be shared among all users of an organization, whether they work on site, are in a different location or work from home.

Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

Help+Manual 8.0.1 Update: Slow Editor Solved

We are glad to announce the release of Help+Manual 8.0.1 – a small version change but one that includes an important bugfix!

Topic editor was responding slower and slower

The problem occurred with topics that contained one or more lists. It wasn’t apparent at the first look, but editing and selection speed became slower with every text change that was made. Switching to another topic and back solved the problem for a short time. This bug has been addressed and the topic editor is now significantly faster than before.

New Features and bug fixes

  • The eWriter eBook viewer has an additional command line option to put the eBook window on top of other windows (“stay-on-top”). Furthermore, the configuration for the eBook menu has an option to specify the color of the application menu button. Instead of just orange, you can select your own color. An optical viewer glitch on very large monitors has been fixed and the eBook viewer app is no longer signed – this is an intentional change, because the signature of the executable gets invalid anyway, when packed with HTML data.
  • Screen Capture: the automatic window selection did not work on Windows Terminal Server
  • German UI: translation bug in “Online Activation failed” string caused an error
  • Link lists to TOC entries that included merged projects at more than 1 level (e.g. a sub-sub-project) did not work in PDF

Download

If you have an older version of Help+Manual installed, you can use the update side by side with an existing installation. Help+Manual 8 is available from our download page:

https://www.helpandmanual.com/downloads.html

 

Upgrade Bundle Offers extended until March 4th

We offer several upgrade bundles with discounts of more than 40%! The super discounts will be available until March 4, 2020. Please hurry up to get them!

https://www.helpandmanual.com/order.html?promotion=upgrade

No Comments

Deploying eWriter for Software Documentation

Publish eWriter eBooks with Help+Manual

If you are using eWriter books as documentation for your software you will want to open specific topics in the help from your application. To do that you need to be able to reference the viewer directly, so it is best to install it along with your software. You can’t be sure that the user will have it or where it will be otherwise. You also need to consider the following issues:

  • You should always make your help calls explicitly to the version of the viewer that you have installed.
  • You are allowed to and should redistribute the viewer application with your own software.

Read on to learn how to get this set up and working optimally.

Step 1: Get the eViewer.exe executable from the Help+Manual program directory

The current version of eViewer.exe is always included in the Help+Manual program directory. You just need to include it in your own installation. It doesn’t require any special installation or registry keys. It will actually run fine from a USB stick. If you wish you can rename the viewer file and re-sign it with your own certificate so that it matches the rest of your software. That is entirely up to you and we don’t have a problem with it.

Don’t register the .ewriter extension

We also recommend that you do not register the .ewriter extension as part of your installation. Instead, always make your calls explicitly to your installed eViewer.exe and your own help files. This guarantees that you are using the same viewer that was up to date when you generated your help. However, you will also want your users to be able to open your help files themselves by double-clicking on them. So read on to learn how to do that.

Consider using a different extension for your own help files

It is also fine and actually a good idea to change the extension of your help files to anything you like. If you do this, you can register your own custom extension to your installed version of the eViewer application so that your users can open your help files themselves by double-clicking on them.

Then you don’t get any conflicts if the user gets .ewriter files from somewhere else. If they open .ewriter files on Windows 10 they will get the Windows Store version of eViewer automatically (and that extension is required for the Store viewer), and then you don’t have any conflicts: The .ewriter extension is always used for the Store version and your application always opens your help files with your installed version of the viewer.

No Comments