Help+Manual News

Archive for category Technical Writing

Hidden Gems: Standalone Screen Capture Tool

Standalone Screen Capture UtilityHelp+Manual is so powerful and multi-faceted that there’s always something new to discover. Even though I write the documentation, I still continue to find things that our developers have added that I didn’t yet know about. This morning I was looking in the program directory and I noticed a file called ScreenCapture.exe. What? I started it, and lo and behold it opened a completely stand-alone screen capture utility:

A quick call with the developers revealed that this behavior is intentional. Yes, you can use Help+Manual’s ScreenCapture.exe as a standalone tool for creating screenshots. It stores the images it creates in the Windows Clipboard, from where you can then insert them in any other application with CTRL+V or the right-click Paste command.

Tip: The same tool is also available in the HelpXplain program directory.

Features of the standalone utility

This standalone capture utility has now been updated with the version  8.4.4 release of Help+Manual. It can do everything that Help+Manual’s integrated screen capture can do, with the exception of creating HelpXplain-style screencasts:

  • Capture the full screen
  • Capture a selected area (click and drag)
  • Capture multiple selected areas in a single screenshot (SHIFT+Click and drag)

When you complete the capture in stand-alone mode you will be asked whether you want to copy the captured image to the Windows Clipboard or save it to a file.

Transparent images in the Clipboard

Multi-part captures need a transparent background in the areas between the captured screen elements. When these captures are saved to the Windows Clipboard, they are stored in two versions: A 32-bit PNG image with transparency, and a regular bitmap without transparency, which is necessary for programs unable to handle transparent PNGs. Which version is inserted from the Clipboard is automatic and depends on the program in which you are inserting the image.

How to use the stand-alone capture utility

If you want to use it, just create a shortcut to ScreenCapture.exe and you’re ready to go.

 

 

 

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Premium Pack 4.4.0 Update

Sandcastle Tidy, Caret Browsing, Update Skin Config Tool

We are happy to announce the release of Premium Pack 4.4.0 with three new features and a wide range of other improvements and fixes. Sandcastle Tidy puts your Microsoft Sandcastle documentation import fully under the control of the project stylesheet. Caret browsing support for tabbed navigation in the TOC and header has been added to the V3 and V4 skins. The Update Skin Config tool for transferring your settings from old to new skins has been significantly improved, now showing you only the settings in your old skin that are different from those in the new skin.

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.

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Online Course: Technical Writing with Help+Manual

New beginners course in technical writing with Help+Manual

Longtime Help+Manual expert and technical writer Subash Sarath Lakshmi is offering an online course in which you can learn technical writing skills with Help+Manual.

The course is offered directly on the SkillShare site.

A software developer before he took up technical writing, Subash has been active in the IT industry for nearly three decades.

He has offered in-person trainings in technical writing and Help+Manual, but with the onset of the Covid pandemic he has now switched to online-only courses, which is also making them accessible to a more international audience.

Website: https://learntechwritingfast.com/
Course on Skillshare: https://skl.sh/30yadg5

User feedback on Subash’s courses

Users who have completed the course have praised it in comments:

“The only course you’ll ever need if you want to learn Technical Writing or become a Technical Writer. From start to finish the course was like an exciting road trip.”

–David Ebenezer (Project Manager)

“I’ve just finished the Technical Writing course. I am from Austria and I’ve just started my new job as a Technical Writer at the Aescudata company. I liked the course very much, everything was explained clearly and with the assignments there was possibility to practice. I was really satisfied with your course and it is helpful for my daily work as a Technical Writer.”

–Julia Maderthaner (Technical Writer)

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New Help+Manual Full-Service Reseller for Switzerland

Naef Learning offers sales combined with training and localized documentation in Switzerland

EC Software is delighted to welcome Naef Learning, our new full-service reseller for the Swiss market. In addition to selling the full range of EC Software products, Naef Learning backs this up with extensive support, training and maintenance services, plus documentation in German.

Services include:

  • License sales
  • Training, both for team leaders and team members
  • Individually customized workshops for best software use
  • Support in German, including German documentation

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Premium Pack 4.3.0 Update: SharePoint Embedding

We have just updated Premium Pack 4 to version 4.3, with a couple of major improvements and some minor fixes and fine-tuning.

SharePoint embedding

The main change in this update is support for embedding WebHelp in SharePoint using the V3 and V4 skins. SharePoint administrators can now host WebHelp created with these skins on SharePoint site pages. This will also work on the SharePoint iOS and Android apps on tablets and smartphones. See Embedding in MS SharePoint in the Premium Pack documentation for details and instructions.

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.

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Premium Pack 4.2.1 Maintenance Update

We have just updated Premium Pack 4 to version 4.2.1. This is a minor maintenance update that adds one important new feature to the Toolbox utility, which can now edit HMXR style repository projects as well as Help+Manual projects and skins.

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.

Main changes and new features

The main change in this otherwise minor update is the addition of the ability of Toolbox to edit style repository projects (.hmxr). This makes it possible to use the new import/export styles tool on these projects as well. You can also use the other topics tools on these projects.

In addition to this, it was found that Help+Manual continues to maintain outdated XSD schema files in some old HMXP projects. This happens when backup or other tools are used that update the XSD file timestamp to the current date, which prevents HM from identifying an outdated file. When Toolbox encounters XSD validation errors it now automatically backdates the XSD, forcing HM to update it next time the project is updated.

Toolbox changes

  • Support for editing HMXR projects
  • Check for read-only TOC and topic and files in otherwise accessible projects
  • Add/Remove prefixes: Error if a topic ID was shorter than the prefix
  • XSD validation: Force Help+Manual to update outdated XSD schema file

Skin changes

  • The variable for the “Copied!” text in the new code sample boxes was inactive in some skins.

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DeepL machine translation now available free of charge!

DeepL Plugin

We’re delighted to announce that DeepL machine translation is now available free of charge in both Help+Manual and HelpXplain. The new free API developer subscription from DeepL allows you to translate up to 500,000 characters per month at no cost. This will almost always be enough for HelpXplain projects, which typically contain very little text, but it will also cover most Help+Manual projects. Read the rest of this entry »

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DeepL now available in the USA and Canada!

Good news for all our US customers: The API license needed to use the DeepL machine translation plugin in Help+Manual and HelpXplain is now also available in the USA for just $5.49 per month.

The license is referred to as DeepL Pro. Here is the DeepL announcement:

DeepL posting on the new license

You can order the new DeepL Pro license on this page:

Order page for the new license

In addition to the monthly fee there is also a charge for translation volume. However, the amounts here are so generous that it would be difficult to exceed $10 per month in total.

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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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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.

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