Help+Manual News

HelpXplain 1.0.2 Feature Update

We are glad to announce the first feature update for HelpXplain. This update implements several bug fixes and two completely new features.

Pause after Animation

Object animations now have an optional pause field, in addition to duration and delay. This pause field is of special interest for cursor animations, that are played before a slide advances to the next (a typical situation for screencasts). Normally, when the slide advances to the next, you see the cursor move, then click. And right after the click animation, the slide changes. If you have set a slide transition that visually pans from one slide to another, it could be distracting, so that the cursor click animation is not really recognized. That’s exactly what the pause is for: the animation pauses after it has been played and before the next thing happens (another animation or a slide transition).

Animated Spotlights

Animated spotlights are a pretty cool new feature that work tremendously well for explaining larger screenshots. We’ve published an example Xplain in the last news post – please check it out if you haven’t seen it.

Additional Animations

The animated spotlights come with 5 new animations that were implemented for spotlight objects in particular. Spotlights can zoom in or out, they can move and change their size, they can be chained together or you may choose to combine them with an animated cursor object, which the spotlight follows.

Furthermore, we have implemented a new animation for texts: a counter animation that implements a visual counter that runs from [start value] to [end value].

Extended Style Settings

HelpXplain has global style settings that define the defaults for all objects in a particular project. You set the fill and outline for shapes, line options for arrows, font sizes for text, etc. This dialog has received additional settings: callout shapes are now separated from normal shapes to be style independently. And the new spotlight objects have got their own settings. This makes it easier to change multiple spotlights in a project, if you find them too dark or not dark enough.

Miscellaneous Changes and Bug Fixes

  • New examples included for custom scripts, custom object animations
    and spotlights
  • Screencast: the dialog to specify the screencast layout has additional options to add a pause after every cursor animation and to optionally add spotlight objects.
  • Project file is now locked during editing
  • Improved file handling when opening projects from cloud storages
    like OneDrive or Dropbox
  • Customize Theme dialog, error with color change fixed
  • Undo/redo error fixed when the canvas background image was changed
  • Grouping and ungrouping: improved handling of z-index
  • Group animations: Show and FadeIn did not work for groups
  • Group animations: when ungrouping objects that had both, a group animation and invididual object animations, the animation numbers were not updated
  • Bug fixes in PowerPoint import
  • Xplain loader script: the JavaScript xploader.js has been updated, this script created an error in IE8 and older. (IE8 does not work, we need IE9 or newer. But the script must not trigger an error, it should display a meaningful message.)

Download

This is a free update for all HelpXplain users! Please download the update and install it over your existing installation of HelpXplain.

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See what’s coming in HelpXplain

It’s less than three weeks that we released HelpXplain and we are already working on the first feature update.

One of the new features is separate styles for callouts and other shapes. In the current version, all shapes have the same default fill and outline. But callouts are usually different, so we separated them from the rest of the shapes.

The style settings in HelpXplain globally change the look of all objects of this kind in a presentation:

Global styles in HelpXplain

 

The second new feature are animated spotlights. An animated spotlight darkens the slide and leaves an unobscured area in the middle. This area can be animated with special spotlight animations.

What can you use spotlights for? Read the rest of this entry »

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HelpXplain on BitsDuJour

HelpXplain will be featured on www.BitsDuJour.com as product of the day on July 9 and 10, 2019. Save the date!

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HelpXplain v1.0.1 Maintenance Update

We are glad to announce the first update after the official release of HelpXplain!

HelpXplain is perfect for slideshows and HowTo screencasts embedded in web pages and technical documentation.

This is a free maintenance update that fixes several small bugs that have been reported by users during the last 8 days. Bug fixes in no particular order:

  • Problem with offline activation fixed
  • Several UI errors fixed
  • Errors in online help fixed
  • Optical glitches in object tree and high-dpi monitors fixed
  • Optical glitches in German UI fixed
  • Project Properties, Custom Scripts edit field: copy to clipboard with CTRL+C did not work
  • When changing the slide transition to “Show”, it was not permanently saved and was back to “Pan, rotate, zoom” the next time the Xplain project was opened.
  • Inserting SVG images: if the SVG has a defines size larger than the slide, it is automatically reduced to slide size.
  • Animation Preview: when the animation preview for a slide was running, it was possible to manipulate objects currently being animated, possibly resulting in access violations.
  • Changing background size could have caused an error when the background was too large.
  • After changes to the publishing skin or to the project properties, the Save button did not immediately become enabled.
  • Duplication of an existing slide did reset the project configuration
  • Object tree: images now also display their internal file name for easier identification
  • Several bugs fixed when creating image sliders:
    • The picture on the first slide started with the name “Image2” instead of “Image1”.
    • If an image was deleted from disk between image selection and the creation of a slider, HelpXplain raised an error.
    • If the images on the slider were small, the default slide size was still 960 x 540 px
    • Taking the aspect ratio of the first image on the slider did not work if images were cropped

 

To install the update, please download the trial version of HelpXplain from our download page and install it over your current version, to update.

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HelpXplain officially released!

We are happy to announce the official release of HelpXplain!

HelpXplain is perfect for slideshows and HowTo screencasts embedded in web pages and technical documentation.

Create animated step-by-step tutorials and quick instructions in minutes instead of hours. The magic is in the method: HelpXplain animates a series of simple screenshots, each of which can be edited or replaced at any time.

HelpXplain can also record multi-page screencasts of programs on your computer screen that run in autoplay mode like a video. Recording and editing them is massively easier and less stressful than trying to create a video!

A free trial version of HelpXplain is available from our download page.

Online orders:
50% off on HelpXplain during Summer 2019!

 

 

 

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Help+Manual 7.5.1 Maintenance Update

We are glad to anncounce the immediate availability of Help+Manual 7.5.1. This is a free update for all 7.xx user and ships with a few improvements – mostly concerning HelpXplain – including:

  • Editing tables and table cell properties could generate an index-out-of-bounds error
  • Setting column width by dialog window did not immediately refresh table
  • Undo after table change could cause strange effects
  • PDF manuals with double-rendering loops: snippets placed directly in the print manual template (MNL) had duplicate page referrers
  • Open picture dialog: HelpXplain files can as well be used as static images – similar to Impict pictures

Update Build 4713 (June 28, 2019)

  • Problem fix for style preview in tables
  • PDF export: in some case, page referrers of links in tables were missing
  • Error when converting a table to plain text
  • RTF/Word import: a special bullet character was not read correctly

 

Please download the update to Help+Manual 7.5.1 from our download page and install over your existing installation of Help+Manual.

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Help+Manual 7.5 Released!

We are glad to anncounce the immediate availability of Help+Manual 7.5.0. This update ships with several improvements including:

  • Text-to-table function updated: several users asked to simplify the text-to-table function and to not apply explicit column widths. The function is now much more transparent and simply splits text by tab stops.
    When using the right-click text-to-table function, the default table style class is applied automatically and the inserted table reflects the table style.
  • Clipboard paste from OneNote implemented
  • Improved topic header synchronization: when duplicating a topic in the TOC with copy and paste, and subsequently changing the duplicated TOC heading, the automatic synchronization with the topic header did not work, because of the added “_2” text that marks the topic copy.

Bugfixes and minor changes

  • Nested snippets from repositories did not work, PDF print styles were not applied to snippets.
  • PDF/Print: If a dropdown toggle had a page break right before the toggle icon, and the icon was removed for print and the left margin of this paragraph was zero, the page break was removed and not re-applied.
  • After saving a project, a topic reload sometimes occurred, causing the cursor to jump to the beginning of a topic and losing the current selection.
  • Font preview in main window: in some rare situations, an access violation ocurred
  • Windows EXE e-books: updated viewer application, the initial ClearCache command has been removed to avoid initiation problems on some systems.
  • Webhelp export: the standard bullets have a slightly different font definition to improve the bullet display and make it larger. Table heading row background color was sometimes wrong for nested tables, if the heading row background was defined the in the table style only.

HelpXplain supported

Last, not least, Help+Manual 7.5 now fully supports HelpXplain presentations. If HelpXplain is installed, you can make full use of responsive interactive HTML5 presentations and screencasts in Webhelp, HTML Help and Windows e-books. HelpXplain will be available soon.

 

Please download the update to Help+Manual 7.5 from our download page and install over your existing installation of Help+Manual.

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Premium Pack 3.47 Maintenance Update

We are happy to announce the release of version 3.47 of the Help+Manual Premium Pack add-on. This is a minor maintenance update. It includes fixes for the issues described below in the V3 skins and the Toolbox utility. All other skins remain unchanged.

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.

V3 WebHelp and eWriter Skins

  • Anchors with keywords: Selecting anchors with keywords in the keyword index caused a JavaScript error and did not open a toggle associated with the anchor. This was a side-effect of the Google Analytics query feature added in 3.46.
  • Non-server mode: The optional q=search+term addition to the URL for Google Analytics for search and keyword index clicks added in 3.46 is now automatically disabled when V3 WebHelp is accessed without a web server. This caused errors in non-server mode and cannot be used there anyway.
  • Non-server mode: In some cases the use of a file name other than index.html for the main WebHelp file caused errors when viewing V3 WebHelp without a web server. This has been corrected, but use of index.html is still strongly recommended.
  • Search highlighting: In some configurations search terms were not correctly highlighted in the found topic pages.
  • Popups: Popups can now also be closed with the ESC key.
  • Popups: The title font from the popup title bar is no longer applied to the entire popup (the main font from the project is used).
  • Popups: Automatic positioning and sizing of popups have been improved.
  • Port reference in permalinks: The port reference is now included in permalinks if the web server is not running on the standard port 80.

Toolbox Utility

  • Editing warnings: Additional checks and warnings have been implemented to help prevent simultaneous editing of skins and projects in Help+Manual and Toolbox.
  • Non-active options: The program would exit if the user tried to activate a non-active option without first setting a value for the option (e.g. in HTML Options or Project Options).
  • Add Build Option: The Add Build Option tool in the Edit menu was not active in projects that did not yet have any build options defined.
  • Delete user-defined variable: Deleting the last user-defined variable in a skin or project did not refresh the variables list and the deleted variable was still displayed.

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Help+Manual 7.4.2 Update

We are proud to anncounce the immediate availability of Help+Manual 7.4.2. This update ships with several small improvements including:

  • Text-to-table function implemented: if you select existing tabbed text in a topic and click Insert Table, it will convert the tabbed text into a table.
  • Conditional text: if IFDEF statements were used in text, in particular in tables, a long list of IFDEF options resulted in relatively wide condition tags. The display size of the condition tags has been restricted, a mouse-over hint shows the full list of conditions.
  • Images hotspots dialog: entry field for topic ID permits editing (copy and paste)
  • Topic editor context menu: when the context menu was opened with the keyboard (e.g. SHIFT+F10), it had some glitches with tables and with the spell checker.
  • Topic editor: the scaling message for small images has been improved, it displays % only, no text.
  • High resolution displays: problems fixed for OLE objects and embedded images (PDF/HTML/DOC export)
  • Double quotation marks could be entered in topic IDs, though they are not valid for file names.
  • Task publishing: when creating eWriter eBooks with a publishing task, the specified skin was not used.
  • Insert horizontal line: when specifying a custom style, the line not use the specified line height, but rather used the default.
  • Spelling checker: support for the latest update of the Spanish OXT dictionary implemented

 

Please download the update to Help+Manual 7.4.2 from our download page and install over your existing installation of Help+Manual.

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Premium Pack 3.46 Maintenance update

Version 3.46 of the Help+Manual Premium Pack add-on is a general maintenance update including fixes for minor issues and some fine-tuning improvements.

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.

Toolbox utility

  • The Normalize Styles tool failed to identify some styles as paragraph styles and incorrectly reported that the style could not be found. The affected styles were styles based on other styles without explicit paragraph attributes of their own.
  • Some HM projects converted from Help+Manual 4 would cause Toolbox to crash and close when they were opened.
  • The Add/Remove Topic ID Prefixes function failed without completing on some projects with an unusual combination of settings.
  • The Rename Variable function didn’t update the display of the new variable name in some projects.

V3 WebHelp Skins

  • In the layout tables function the style name for identifying layout tables has been changed from layout-table to layout_table. This was necessary because you need to define a project style for this and Help+Manual no longer permits the definition of style names with dashes in the project stylesheet. Old projects using the hyphenated style name will still work; you just can’t create new styles with hyphens. The tap images function is not affected because the style for that does not need to be defined in Help+Manual.
  • Focus is now automatically set to the search input field in the Search pane whenever it is displayed.
  • User-defined menus in the page header would sometimes extend beyond the edge of the page.
  • If you are using Google Analytics, topic pages opened from search results or the keyword index will now include the search text or index keyword in the tracking reference. For example, if the user searched for red widgets or used the red widgets index keyword and clicked on the Introduction topic the tracking reference will be introduction.html?q=red+widgets (?q= is the standard reference for search terms in GA). You can turn this off with the new URL_QTRACKER configuration variable.
  • If you are using a non-standard port (anything except port 80) for your web server the permalink function will now include the port reference in the permalink to prevent the URL from being invalid.

V3 eWriter Skins

  • Focus is now automatically set to the search input field in the Search pane whenever it is displayed.
  • User-defined menus in the page header would sometimes extend beyond the edge of the page.

V2 Webhelp/eWriter skins

  • Focus is now automatically set to the search input field in the Search pane whenever it is displayed.
  • The Open topic in a new tab function displayed an incorrect message that the topic is already open in a new tab on some touchscreen Windows devices (MS Surface and similar).

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