Help+Manual News

Archive for category Technical Writing

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

Read the rest of this entry »

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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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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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HelpXplain Animated Infographics Beta Program

Try out HelpXplain now by joining the beta program

HelpXplain is an exciting new program from EC Software that takes the pain out of making HowTo tutorials and other animated infographics for the web. You can see some examples and join the beta program here:

http://helpxplain.com/

HelpXplain takes the pain out of making HowTo tutorials

HelpXplain can make a whole range of different web-based infographics, but for documentation authors its ability to make animated HowTo tutorials is nothing short of revolutionary. Instead of trying to get every step of a “performance” right you just make a series of screenshots that the program then links together in an editable screencast with an animated, editable mouse cursor. Let me put what this means this into perspective from the point of view of a documentation author.

From typewriter to word processor

I’ve been working with HelpXplain for a while now while writing the help for it. For me as a help author there is one aspect of it that stands out from all the others. It reminds me of the huge aha experience I had the very first time I saw a word processor. The one thought I had was: “I am never going to have to retype anything ever again.” That was huge. For writers of all kinds, it is still 99.9% percent of the benefit of using a word processor instead of a typewriter. Everything else that modern writing tools do is nice to have, but all those additional functions are still nothing compared to the ability to edit and change your text without retyping everything.

From video screencasts to HelpXplain

HelpXplain is the first time that I have had a similar experience as a documentation author. It is really comparable. Like everyone else, I experimented with using video screencast tools like Camtasia and Captivate. Like everyone else outside of very large, very rich companies, I abandoned them very quickly. They only make sense if you have a huge amount of time to work on little video tutorials, and if someone is willing to pay you a reasonable hourly rate for that time. Both of those things are simply unrealistic expectations for most technical writers working in today’s market. It just doesn’t happen. You’re not going to have that much time to work on a tutorial, and even if you do nobody is going to pay you for it.

Video: When you had to do it just right

But that’s not the only problem with video screencast tools: They are very stressful and thus unpleasant to work with, because you have to get everything right. If you make a mistake while making the video you have to start again. And again. And again. And again. And if you ever need to add something you have to remake the entire screencast. Again. I found this so unpleasant that I would do pretty much anything to avoid having to make video tutorials even if I did have the time and reasonable payment for them. To be honest, I would probably even pay to not have to make them.

HelpXplain: Work at your own speed, correct later at leisure

That is why HelpXplain is such a revelation for me, personally, quite separate from the fact that this is an EC Software product. Once you get the hang of it, making little HowTo tutorials is literally as easy as making a series of screenshots — which is what we are doing anyway. And it is completely stress-free: I don’t have to get my timing right and I don’t have to worry about needing to set up everything right. Between screenshots I can take my time to make any changes I want in the program. And not only that: If I ever need to change or add something I can do that at any time, without having to redo the whole thing.


HelpXplain New Dialog

There is no doubt that making tutorials with HelpXplain is radically faster and more pleasant than struggling with a video screencast tool. In fact, for myself, I could say that it is infinitely faster, because with HelpXplain I am actually making the tutorials, whereas with video screencast tools I wouldn’t be making them at all. Not in the real world.

HelpXplain can do a lot more. But if you’re a documentation author, taking the pain out of making HowTo tutorials for documentation simply makes it a must-have.

Tim Green

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