Help+Manual News

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Help+Manual 8.3.1 Maintenance Update

We are glad to announce the release of Help+Manual 8.3.1. To find out if this update is included in your maintenance plan, please start Help+Manual and click the “Updates” icon in the welcome screen.

Updates

 

Changes in v8.3.1

This update corrects several minor issues, most of them UI related.

  • PDF Export: in the manual designer, the Tables section had a “new page” break option only. All Table sections now support “new odd page” and “new even page” as well.
  • PDF Export: some Unicode characters were not recognized as “unprintable” (which means that these characters are automatically exported as glyphs). Depending on the font (e.g. Calibri), some characters from the upper Unicode range were exported as text though and ended up being displayed as question marks in the PDF.
  • Robohelp Import: Help+Manual now supports multiple Robohelp-TOCs and multiple keyword files.
  • XML Code: the LastEditedBy attribute in topic files was empty if the Windows user name was too long.
  • DeepL Translation Plugin: the <list> and <li> tags were defined as DeepL-non-splitting-tags. This may have caused translation errors with lists.
  • Workspaces: when opening a workspace with multiple projects, the projects no longer open with a fully expanded TOC, but are just expanded on project level. You can rearrange the order of multiple projects within a workspace by drag & drop and the Save All button (available on the quick-access toolbar at the top of the main window) now saves the workspace configuration as well, if it has changed.
  • Equations: if the font color for an equation was set to “auto”, it was converted to black (#000000). Now, the “auto” font color is preserved and picks up the font color of the current text style.
  • Insert Picture Gallery: if an image in the picture gallery was also included in the baggage list of the project, Help+Manual unnecessarily asked to add the search path every time.
  • Impict (.ipp) Images: we added a global option in the Program Options dialog to treat IPP images as transparent by default. This will re-render IPP images against a transparent background during the export and save them as transparent PNGs.
  • Publishing Tasks Editor: optical glitches fixed when scrolling through very long task lists, duplicate task names are now tested for and not permitted.
  • ePUB Export: the HTML page templates for ePUB received a “lang” attribute by default.
  • Webhelp full-text search: we fixed an XSS vulnerability in the “zoom_search.js” script. This vulnerability occurred when date range search was enabled. Which wasn’t an issue in Help+Manual directly, but was a potential issue when using the full version of the Zoom search engine with Help+Manual.
  • History foward/backward: this is the least obvious change but perhaps the best addition in this update – when using the back/next buttons to page through topics in your project you had just accessed, Help+Manual saves the text editor position with the history. In other words: when you go back to the topic you just came from, it remembers the vertical scroll position.

Download

Help+Manual 8.3.1 is available from our download page:

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

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Premium Pack 4.1.0 Maintenance Update

We have just updated Premium Pack 4 to version 4.1.0. This update introduces a large number of both minor and major improvements. The most extensive change is an overhaul of the embedded and field level help system for both regular WebHelp and WordPress sites to support multiple WebHelp collections and WebHelp collections on remote servers.

How to get the Premium Pack update

You can download and install the updated version with the download link and personal installation password you received when you purchased. If you no longer have these details please contact support@ec-software.com and we will help you out. See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 4 and visit our online store to purchase if you do not yet have it.

Code certificate updated

The code signing certificate used for the Premium Pack installer and Toolbox utility has just been updated. Because of this you may see a dialog asking you to confirm that you want to trust the publisher before installing. This is normal with “fresh” certificates until they have re-established their trust level.

Remote and multiple domains in embedded & field-level help and WordPress:

It is now possible to use embedded and field-level help from multiple WebHelp documentation systems on the same web page. In addition to this you can also embed WebHelp hosted on other web servers, not only on the same server as the HTML pages on which you are embedding and displaying the help. These new features are supported both in regular WebHelp and in the WordPress plugin.

See the updated Embedded and Field-Level Help chapter for full details.

V3 and V4 WebHelp Skins

  • Print Topic functionality: Improvement of topic printing in local no web server mode, both with the hamburger menu function and directly via the browser’s own print function.
  • Printing only first page: In some browsers only the first page of multi-page topics would be printed.
  • Print breadcrumbs: There is now an option to include the breadcrumb trail above the topic title when the user prints topics.
  • Inline toggle icons: Inline text toggles with icons are now also supported in these skins.
  • TOC autohide in mobile mode: When the TOC is folded over the topic content on mobile devices it now automatically slides out of view when a topic is selected. This new option is configurable.
  • Buttons as popup links: These are now supported.
  • Magazine skins: Calling context IDs via the URL didn’t work in the magazine skins because of a small internal error.
  • Magazine skins: TOC width was sometimes too narrow when opening/closing.
  • Flexible skins: The icon for page header open/close in the divider between the TOC and topic panes was hidden on the first load when the help was embedded.
  • Modern Standard skins:
    These skins have been generally overhauled and tidied up for better appearance and easier editing.

    • Maximum width setting: These skins now also have a HELP_MAXWIDTH setting for limiting the width of the help window in large browser windows.
    • iPad and iPhone behavior: The TOC pane could be narrower than the tabs above it on first access on some iPhone and iPad devices.
    • Swipe to change TOC pane width: Did not work on older iPad Mini devices.
    • General layout: A large number of minor tweaks and improvements to the layout in these skins.

V3 eWriter Skins

  • Title bar display in eViewer: You can now configure the title bar display in eViewer in the same way as in WebHelp. Options: Current topic title, current project name, current project name and current topic title.
    Print breadcrumbs: There is now an option to include the breadcrumb trail above the topic title when the user prints topics.
  • Inline toggle icons: Inline text toggles with icons are now also supported in these skins.
  • Buttons as popup links: These are now supported.

Toolbox Utility

  • Variables without names and unregistered baggage files: Toolbox now checks for the existence of variables without names and unregistered files in the baggage section and can correct this. (This can sometimes happen when the XML of your project file is generated programmatically or edited manually.)
  • Baggage files incorrectly shown as edited: Sometimes baggage file listings would be highlighted red as edited when this was not the case.
  • RTF build option removed: This option is no longer relevant in Help+Manual 7 and 8, which now generate Word DOCX by default.
  • Context and Edit menu updating: Sometimes the right-click context menu and Edit menu for Baggage files would not update correctly after adding a Baggage file to the current skin or project.
  • Baggage file handling: General handling of Baggage files improved, including better distinction of the differences between the processing of Baggage files in projects and skins when writing back to the project.

Help update

  • The Premium Pack help has been updated and extended with more detailed information for version 4.

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eWriter Viewer for Delphi

Delphi / RAD Studio

This is an implementation of the eWriter help format as a replacement for HTML Help (.chm) files in Delphi applications.

EWriter eBooks are the modern alternative to the obsolete CHM format for local application help. They offer full support for context-sensitive help and file links. They combine the benefits of CHM and WebHelp and eliminate the disadvantages of both. Read the rest of this entry »

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HelpXplain 1.4 Released

As part of our commitment to continuous improvement, we’ve released an updated version of HelpXplain. If your maintenance plan for HelpXplain includes the release date (Oct 29, 2020), this is a free update. The quickest way to find out, is to start HelpXplain and click Help > Check for Update.

HelpXplain 1.4

Version 1.4 comes with 2 new features important for social media sharing. It introduces a setting for custom meta tags. Some users have requested we should add additional social media meta tags (such as a Facebook App_Id). The new meta option enables this and a lot more.

HelpXplain Custom Meta Tags

The second new feature is in the Publish dialog: an option to mask the viewport of the Xplain. When an Xplain is embedded in another HTML page, the host page normally restricts the viewport so that the view matches the aspect ratio of the Xplain.

Social media sharing, however, often include direct backlinks to the Xplain HTML page directly. In this case, the Xplain runs in a new window or tab of the browser and the window size hardly ever reflects the aspect ratio of the presentation. As a result, some of the slides might become prematurely visible. The mask viewport option blacks out the browser window area which does not belong to the viewport.

HelpXplain mask Viewport

The difference between masked and unmasked viewport explained:

 

Other changes and bug fixes in version 1.4:

  • The Publish dialog has an option to specify the maximum image size. If you use a lot of high-resolution images, reducing the size will significantly reduce the loading time of the Xplain on the web.
  • HTML Editor: some glitches fixed, right-click menu implemented, shapes and callouts with text now automatically introduce a left and right margin.
  • Recent files list: extended right-click menu has “Clear all” option
  • Save translation file in .xliff format: the save function did not test for source-language compatibility, this has been added.
  • Slide option “Stop Autoplay” did not work, if the slide contained an exit animation.
  • Improvements in Powerpoint import
  • Preview for skin customization: optical glitches fixed

 

Download

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

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Help+Manual 8.2.1 Maintenance Update

We are glad to announce the release of Help+Manual 8.2.1. If you are using version 8 already, this update is included in your maintenance plan. Just download the setup and run it to update your current installation.

Changes and Additions in v8.2.1

WEBP Image Format

Help+Manual natively supports the WEBP image format. You can use WEBP as regular images or toggle images. When creating Webhelp, WEBP images are exported native. For all other output formats, Help+Manual converts WEBP to 32-bit PNG images, to ensure compatibility. Please be aware that WEBP images are yet not supported by all web browsers. If you use the WEBP format, these pictures might not be visible in Webhelp in older browsers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Help+Manual 8.2.0 Released

We are glad to announce the release of Help+Manual 8.2. 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.

This update focuses on DeepL machine translation, PDF output and proxy servers for floating licenses. Read the rest of this entry »

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Premium Pack 4.0.4 Maintenance Update

We have just updated Premium Pack 4 to version 4.0.4. This update contains a large number of basically cosmetic updates. There is no urgency to install it if everything is already working OK for you. Just read through the descriptions and decide for yourself if and when you want to update.

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.

Help update

  • The Premium Pack help has been updated and extended with more detailed information for version 4.

Skin changes and fixes:

  • Image toggle close mode (V3 & V4 skins): You can now choose whether image toggles close on a click inside or outside the image. This is set with the new IMGTOGGLE_CLOSEMODE variable in the General Settings variable group in the V3 and V4 skins.
  • Image toggle closing: Image toggles will now also close on the ESC key in desktop mode and on tablets with hardware keyboards.
  • Image toggle closing on smartphones: Image toggles closed too slowly in smartphone browsers.
  • Image toggle clickable area: In some skins clicking to the right of some image toggles would also trigger the toggle. This has been corrected.
  • Image toggle positioning: In some skins image toggles with captions would position at the top of the browser window when expanded. In the Advanced Compact and Advanced TOC skins image toggles could be positioned incorrectly when fully expanded in mobile browser mode.
  • Google Analytics: When the path was included in topic references the slash between the last folder and the topic name was sometimes missing. Two slashes instead of one were sometimes shown at the beginning of the path. This was dependent on the configured settings and the number of path levels.
  • Google Analytics: Search terms entered by the user were not tracked in the V4 Advanced Compact and V4 Advanced Full TOC skins.
  • Index keywords containing special characters: Clicks on index keywords containing special characters like slashes (/) failed in some skins.
  • Social sharing in V2 WebHelp skins: The social sharing popup in the still very popular V2 WebHelp skins has been updated to the latest version used in the V3 and V4 skins. The social sharing now uses scalable SVG icons and simple hyperlinks instead of the widgets that had to be loaded with every page. This means that the social sites now only get a ping when the user actually uses the icons.
  • V2 WebHelp skins language files: The English, French, Dutch and German language files for these skins have been updated with the variable changes for social sharing.
  • Video lightbox: Videos configured to open in a lightbox played inline with the V4 Advanced Compact and V4 Advanced Full TOC skins. Videos playing in a lightbox now close when the user presses the ESC key.
  • Topic top margin setting: All V3 and V4 skins now include a TOPIC_TOPMARGIN variable with which you can adjust the margin between the top of your topics and the top of the topic window. This variable is in the Main Layout variables group in the V3 WebHelp and eWriter skins and in the General Layout variables group in the V4 skins.
  • Closing videos in V2 WebHelp and CHM skins: Videos are now effectively closed automatically when stopped without having to reload the current page, even if they are in popups or toggles. The POP_KILLVIDEO option is now on by default and does not need to be turned off.
  • Keyword index search highlights: In some V4 skins the highlight of keywords found with Search in the keyword index was not displayed. This is now set to a dashed underline in the same color as the index keyword text. This is not configurable directly, but you can change it by editing the .idxhilite class definition in the hmwebhelp_index_xxxx.css files in the skin baggage.
  • Search highlight colors in V3 skins: The options for configuring search highlighting colors in the older V3 WebHelp and eWriter skins are not color options because they use a combined setting for text and background colors. This has been made clearer by defining these settings as Layout options. See the Configuring for Use > Other Settings section in the V3 WebHelp and V3 eWriter chapters.
  • Topic and web link hotspots in CHM: Links to topics and web pages in image hotspots now function more reliably in the CHM skins.

Toolbox Utility

  • Changing filter: When you change a variables filter (Colors, Layout Settings etc.) in Toolbox the currently selected variables group is now redisplayed automatically with the filter if the group contains variables of the selected type. Otherwise the first available group is displayed. In previous versions this always switched to the first available group.
  • HM version: Projects created with HM 7 or 8 are now both identified as 7/8 in the Project Information. This is necessary because there is no identifying difference between the versions in the XML headers of version 7 and version 8 projects.
  • Baggage files: The names of Baggage files added to skins or projects by the user are now checked for strict HTML compatibility. Filenames must use only the standard ASCII characters a..zA..Z0..9_, and $, no spaces.
  • Projects with missing TOC: If the TOC of a HM project is completely missing Toolbox now reports this explicitly instead of just saying that the TOC is invalid.

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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

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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

 

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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

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