Help+Manual News

Archive for category HelpXplain

eWriter 2.0 released

eWriter is a converter application to turn HTML pages into a self-contained Windows executable or eBook. This output format is integrated into Help+Manual as well (and will soon become available in HelpXplain). The eWriter converter application is the free stand-alone version.

Redesigned Runtime Viewer

The viewer for eWriter eBooks is now a stand-alone app. We have completely rebuilt the viewer app with this version and made it (optionally) available as a separate installer. The viewer looks more modern, but more important is the new code base which it is built on: it is more or less platform-independent.

The eWriter Viewer app is currently available in 32 and 64 bit versions, and it is listed in the Microsoft Store:

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HelpXplain 1.1.0 and Help+Manual 7.5.3 Updates

We are glad to announce two updates for both, HelpXplain and Help+Manual. HelpXplain has full audio support and Help+Manual needs a few changes to support this, too.

HelpXplain 1.1.0

  • HelpXplain 1.1.0 has full audio support! Audios in Xplains work in the regular HTML output, in Help+Manual’s Webhelp, eWriter eBooks and in HTML Help (.chm) files. All player skins include audio controls.Check out the “Fun with audios” demo here:

Other changes and bug fixes in version 1.1.0:

  • Publish deletes all files in data folder.
  • Original JPEG/PNG images were not exported as original but recreated, sometimes resulting in larger image files
  • Several undo/redo bugs fixed
  • Scrolling of slide list after slide deletion improved
  • When pasting slides, the pasted slides are inserted at the current position in the slide list, not at the end
  • File drag & drop on welcome page implemented
  • PDF export did not support Unicode file names


Help+Manual 7.5.3

Changes in Help+Manual:

  • Insert HelpXplain dialog: defaults for Xplains changed to lightbox mode (this is really important for Xplains with audio support)
  • All CHM skins have been changed to elevate the internal rendering engine to Internet Explorer 11 instead of 10 (this is important for Xplains with audio support to make the audio work inside CHM files)
  • Publishing tasks: include comments in PDF was not working


Both are free updates if included in your maintenance plan! Please download the update(s) and install it over your existing version.


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HelpXplain with Audio Support is Coming!

HelpXplain version 1.1 is coming! We have implemented audio support already, though the final touch needs to be applied. With the original release of HelpXplain three months ago, it was already clear that silent presentations are not sufficient. You guys want audio support. We promised audio support to be implemented soon and we are going to deliver. Read the rest of this entry »

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HelpXplain 1.0.3 and Help+Manual 7.5.2 Updates

We are glad to announce two updates for both, HelpXplain and Help+Manual. The latter includes two small bugfixes, HelpXplain comes with new translation functions.

HelpXplain 1.0.3

  • This update has a dedicated Translation tab added to the File menu. The translation tab features an XLIFF export and import for external translations. In the Properties section, a Language option has been added (the language setting is required for XLIFF).
  • Another new feature related to translation is that player skins have an option to load translations from an external text file. Player skins may contain translatable text like “Play”, “Pause”, “Previous/next slide”. English, German and French translations are included.
  • New Slide menu: we’ve added a screencast option here. It was already possible to add a screencast to an existing Xplain. However, many users could not find this function. It’s now placed in the Slide menu for better visibility.
  • Bugfix object link: the option “go to website” could not be selected
  • Bugfix screencast: when adding spotligths to a new screencast, the spotlight was in the wrong place if the screencast layout was text-left or text-right.
  • Bugfix group/ungroup: z-index of objects sometimes wrong
  • Bugfix: when the slide list was selected, copy to clipboard and cut to clipboard did not work
  • Bugfix: the zoom slider was wrong on high-res monitors and the [-] button did not work as a result
  • Update build 1090: the command line compiler for Help+Manual could not export Xplains that were currently being edited in HelpXplain.


Help+Manual 7.5.2

The changes made in this update of Help+Manual are really minor. It includes two small problem fixes:

  • Bugfix in table selection: copy/paste was sometimes confused and when converting selected text (e.g. a link) in a table cell to plain text, the entire table cell was converted.
  • Word/RTF Import: in some rare cases, an image was considered a duplicate when in fact it was not duplicate


Both are free updates if included in your maintenance plan! Please download the update(s) and install it over your existing version.


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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.)


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 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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