Help+Manual News

Help+Manual 9.2 and Translation Assistant 9.2

We are glad to announce the immediate availability of Help+Manual 9.2 and Translation Assistant 9.2!

This maintenance update is mostly about convenience functions. Take the Find & Replace dialog as an example: the selection of the search range are now 3 buttons instead of a combo box and for text searches in the current topic, a “wrap around” option has been added.


Help+Manual 9.2

  • Mouse wheel: Mouse wheel changed from keyboard focus to the control under the mouse pointer, making it easier to scroll any control without first clicking on it.
  • Find & Replace dialog: The selector “Current topic/All topics/All from here” has been replaced with 3 buttons. This saves one mouse click when changing this option. Plus, for text searches in the current topic, a “wrap around” option has been added.
  • Open Project: The recent files list now has a new right-click menu entry: “Show in Windows Explorer“. This will open Windows Explorer and select the project file. The function is intended for easier navigation to a project, for changes to the project folder, or for making a copy of an existing project.
  • Topic Editor, Images: the context right-click menu for images in topics has a new entry: Picture > Show in Windows Explorer. This function locates the picture file on disk and opens Windows Explorer for picture manipulations. The feature is a similar convenience function like the Show in Windows Explorer option in the Open Project dialog.
  • Snippets in Topics: the right-click context menu of the topic editor has a new entry, if the selected object is a snippet: “Locate Snippet Source“.
  • Report Tool: Repository snippet references were displayed in red, indicating a missing status. In the full project report, comments were listed with an invalid date.
  • Project Overview Page: Statistic display changed to a bar diagram, faster calculation and faster display.
  • New variable introduced for figure links: <%HMFIGURENUMBER%>
    This variable can be alternatively used instead of <%HMFIGURECAPTION%>. While <%HMFIGURECAPTION%> returns the full string of the figure reference, <%HMFIGURENUMBER%> returns the number only.
  • Word/RTF import: new option to import anchors in topics. Anchors were assigned to links automatically, but the anchor objects were not imported. Furthermore, anchors in tables were not correctly resolved and could result in dead links.
  • Markdown import: UTF-8 strings with 3 or 4 bytes per character were not imported correctly.
  • HTML Help / CHM Export: if export option “Export SVG files as PNG” is set to true, math objects (equations) are exported as PNG files, not as inline SVG. This export option originally applied to external SVG files only and is not used for inline SVG as well.
  • Conditional Text/IFDEFs: when editing an IFDEF object, everything of the IFDEF string beyond 255 characters was truncated in the dialog initialization
  • Webhelp Export: updated search script for the PHP based full-text search now supports PHP 8. Full-text search page contained an error if Google Analytics 4 was not defined.
  • PDF Export: if the “Tables” section in the manual template was not used, but the document contained figure links, the figure tables were not automatically calculated prior to export.
  • PDF Export: some printing issues with figure tables fixed.
  • eWriter Export: eViewer v3.5 included (see below)
  • User Interface: Refresh Project button was disabled for repositories
  • Temporary files folder: if a fixed location was specified for the temp files folder (CHM export, eWriter, ePUB), the temp folder name included the project name only. If more than 1 project with the same file name (e.g. multiple languages of one project) were published at the same time, the folder names conflicted.


Translation Assistant 9.2

  • Mouse wheel: Mouse wheel changed from keyboard focus to the control under the mouse pointer, making it easier to scroll.
  • Topic Editor: Table functions implemented in right-click menu.
  • Topic Editor: The copy-paragraph function moves the keyboard focus to the target editor and auto-selects the copied text. Subsequently this activates the DeepL plugin for translation of the copied text in the target editor.


eWriter Viewer 3.5

  • Small bug fix when moving viewer window from one monitor to another.
  • When the viewer was called with a command line like ‘loadpage=index.html?page.html#anchor1’, and “page.html” was already loaded, it did not refresh and did not jump to the anchor.


Build-Update August 25, 2023

  • DeepL: Due to an internal change in the DeepL API, translation with API glossaries did no longer work. The DeepL translation plugin responded with an error “400: glossary_id not valid”. The problem affected both, Help+Manual and the Translation Assistant and has been fixed with a small build update.


All updates are available from our download page.

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Premium Pack 5.1.0 maintenance update

We’re glad to announce the update of the Help+Manual Premium Pack add-on to version 5.1.0. This update includes a number of small but significant improvements to almost all the skins and is recommended for all users.

How to get the update:

You can download and install the update with the link and credentials you received when you purchased. If you no longer have these, just contact support by email and we will help you out.

What’s new in version 5.1.0:

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HelpXplain 1.7 Released

We are glad to announce the release of HelpXplain 1.7. If your maintenance plan for HelpXplain includes the release date (July 2, 2023), this is a free update. The quickest way to find out, is to start HelpXplain and click Help > Check for Update.

HelpXplain 1.7

We haven’t had many updates of HelpXplain in the last 2 years, it stood back behind Help+Manual and the Translation Assistant. That’s going to change, because we have several plans with HelpXplain.

For one thing, we are working on a new screenshot editor that’s going to replace Impict, which has been shipping with Help+Manual for many years. The new screenshot editor with seamless integration into Help+Manual will be based on the library of HelpXplain. The new save-as-SVG function (see below) is one leg of that journey.

Despite this is just a point update, there are several new features:

  • HelpXplain is now 64 bit. The setup includes both the 32 and 64 bit versions with English and German user interface.
  • The setup can install either for all users (requires admin rights) or just for the current user (without admin rights).
  • You can choose the examples folder during the setup.
  • Insert shape dialog: new basic shapes, new numbering tags with auto-numbering in several styles!
  • Callout shapes support multiple pointers.
  • You can export a single slide in SVG format (in addition to JPEG/PNG/etc.).
  • When copying selected objects to the clipboard, the clipboard will also contain a transparent PNG image of the selected objects. This is a convenience function: if you use HelpXplain as an ad-hoc image editor, it makes copy and paste really simple.
  • DeepL translation adds 5 new languages: Turkish, Ukrainian, Indonesian, Norwegian (Bokmål) and Korean.
  • Several minor issues fixed (mostly drawing glitches on high-resolution monitors).


New Features in Detail

The really big news are new numbering tags with auto-numbering and callouts with support for multiple pointers. Internally, the numbering tags are treated like callouts and support multiple pointers as well:

New shapes in Version 1.7

Another new feature is a little bit hidden, but nonetheless an important one. HelpXplain can export a single slide in SVG format, in addition to PNG/JPEG/etc. SVG is a scalable vector graphic that you can use on any web page, including documentation created with Help+Manual. HelpXplain embeds all data from the slide and creates a single SVG file with no external dependencies. The beauty of SVG is that it freely scales, which means that the content of the picture scales to whatever resolution is required.

How to save a slide as SVG
Zoom-in to an SVG image created with HelpXplain



All updates are available from our download page. Download and install the update over your existing version of HelpXplain.

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Test: Help+Manual on M1 Macs under Parallels 18

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been testing Help+Manual and related tools on the latest version of Windows 11 for ARM running on an M1 Mac under the new Parallels 18 virtual machine program.

Conclusion first: It works. Cautious recommendation

I can cautiously recommend Parallels 18 for running Help+Manual and its necessary helper programs under the current and latest version of Windows 11 for ARM. Earlier versions of Windows 11 ARM and earlier versions of Parallels will NOT work satisfactorily, but these latest versions appear to be surprisingly good.

Warning: It is still early days, so this recommendation remains cautious. Even though everything appears to be stable, I still wouldn’t yet depend on it if I was buying a new computer as my only machine. However, I would already feel pretty good about using this as a second machine, provided I had a genuine, Intel-based Windows machine as a backup.

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Premium Pack 5.0.4 Maintenance Update

We have released a small update of Premium Pack 5 to version 5.0.4 with some maintenance changes and minor improvements.

How to get the update

You can download and install the update with the link and credentials you received when you purchased. If you no longer have these, just contact support by email and we will help you out.

Changes and Improvements:

  • Toolbox Utility:
    A silent error could occur when closing a project with the automatic help display activated, closing Toolbox as well as the project. This was never noticed because it looked like a normal program exit.
  • V3, V4 and V5 skins:
    The base font was set to 95% by default instead of 100%, which could cause images to be displayed a little less clearly on old displays until the user adjusted the text size upwards in the hamburger menu.
  • All skins:
    • The Search field is now activated automatically when the index or search pane is selected.
    • Corrected a number of title and alt texts that did not have variables.
    • Topic title font size variable added for print mode.
    • Links in popups now open in the same window as the WebHelp on mobile devices
  • V5 Minimalist Modern skins:
    Variables for the topic title font size have been added to the Topic Pane group (TOPICTITLE_FONTSIZE_DESK / _PHONE / _PRINT / _TABLET)
  • V5 Cool Max skin:
    The “Search” display text was not updated with a variable in some places

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Help+Manual 9.1 Released

We are glad to announce the immediate availability of Help+Manual 9.1 and Translation Assistant 9.1.

Help+Manual 9.1

  • Insert Link Dialog: New checkbox implemented that indicates whether the link points to the current topic. Ticking the checkbox (if unchecked) changes to the current topic.
  • Insert Table dialog: Checkbox added to tick all border sides of selected cells at once.
  • Save Picture Dialog: The automatic unique file name suggestion (save as “clipXXXX.png”) includes the username and computer name into the suggested file name, if a project is under version control. With version control, it is otherwise very likely to generate identical file names on different computers
  • Publishing tasks: In the Variables tab, import/export buttons for publishing variables have been re-implemented
  • SVG images: Colors defined with an RGBA() color definition are now correctly rendered.
  • Export dialog: The number of recently used skins is now limited to  15. The list was (unintentionally) not limited.
  • Import: Improved memory management when importing large chunks of HTML files
  • HTML Export: If an image contained one or more hotspots, had a caption, a flexible width and was centered on the page and did not use an image style with a border, the HTML written for the image contained one </div> tag too many and was invalid.
  • eWriter Export: The udpated eViewer.exe version 3.4 is included. When creating an .EXE file, the output file is created in the Windows temp folder first, then customized, then copied to the destination, to avoid interference with Dropbox, OneDrive, AV programs interuptions.
  • PDF Export: If the table of figures was printed before topics and the TOF spanned more than 1 page, the TOF entries after the first page did not contain page numbers.
  • PDF Export: Some special characters such as the Ohm symbol (Ω) where rendered with a replacement character in certain cases.
  • DeepL Plugin: Korean and Norwegian added.


Translation Assistant 9.1

  • DeepL Plugin: Korean and Norwegian added.
  • DeepL Plugin: Protected words (formatted with the lock symbol) were not correctly escaped in the processed XML and were returned including the <hmprtct> tags.
  • Bulk translation: improved error handling and error report implemented.


eWriter Viewer 3.4

  • eViewer 3.4 fixes a problem with topics that contain a “+” in the file name.


All updates are available from our download page.

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Free YouTube Course

A while ago we reported about the online HM-based technical writing courses offered by Subash Sarath via his site Learn Tech Writing Fast. In the meantime, Subash has produced a video course that is now available on YouTube free of charge. You can access the course on his YouTube channel here (click the image to visit):

We should note that this is a fully independent production in which we did not participate ourselves. We would be interested to hear any feedback, which you can send to the regular EC Software support address or post on the user forum.

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QtHelpConverter 2 released

We updated our free converter from HTML Help to Qt Help for compatibility with Qt 6.x.

QtHelpConverter takes a compiled HTML Help/CHM file and outputs Qt help (.qch).


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Help+Manual Maintenance Update

We are glad to announce the immediate availability of Help+Manual 9.03 and Translation Assistant 9.03.

Help+Manual 9.0.3

  • French User Interface: several bug fixes in the French UI translation.
  • eWriter Viewer 3.3: the udpated eViewer.exe version 3.3 is included for creating eWriter e-books. Note that eWriter Viewer 3.3 is available as a stand-alone installer as well. See below for details.
  • DeepL Plugin: bug fix for protected word lists.
  • Word/DOCX export: second-level keywords from snippets were not correctly indexed.
  • Image Styles: images with rounded corners – if the picture had round corners and no spacing between image and border, the border radius was wrong in PDF export.
  • Insert Picture Toggles: picture selection dialog now offers custom image formats as well.


Translation Assistant 9.0.3

  • DeepL Plugin: bug fix for protected word lists.

eWriter Viewer 3.3

  • eViewer 3.3 has an About dialog showing the version number. This About dialog is displayed along with the “Recent Files” menu option. Self-extracting EXE eBooks or custom deployments of the eViewer executable (which do not show a recent files list), don’t show the About dialog, either.
  • Bug fix: window position on start was moved by 20 pixels. This should have been applied to secondary viewer windows to offset them from the first window, but was applied to the initial first window as well.
  • eWriter Help System for Delphi / RAD Studio updated for eViewer 3.x


All updates are available from our download page.

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Premium Pack 5.0.3 Maintenance Update

We are please to announce the release of version 5.0.3 of Premium Pack 5. This maintenance update corrects a number of minor issues discovered and reported since the original release and is recommended for all users.

How to get the update

You can download and install the update with the link and credentials you received when you purchased. If you no longer have these, just contact support by email and we will help you out.

Important note for Cool Max skin users

This update includes improvements in both the standard and megamenu header menu systems in this skin. If you have made your own changes to these menus, please don’t overwrite the menu HTML and CSS files with your own ones this time, as that would eliminate the improvements.

Changes and improvements since 5.0.0

  • Premium Pack installer:
    Now also supports “only for me” option to allow installation without administrator mode, if Help+Manual 9 has also been installed in the same way.
  • Cool Max skins:
    Small HTML error in Classic Header source corrected
    The mobile logo image was referenced without a variable in one location
    OPT_NOHEADERLOGO option added to the skin options
    OPT_NOBREAD option was not enabled
    Fine tuning in the MEGA MENU header menus system
    Breadcrumbs were displayed in phone mode
  • All V3, V4 and V5 skins:
    Additional filter to prevent conflicts with external code and browser extensions using PostMessage functions
  • Google Analytics support:
    Removed a couple of irrelevant debug messages from the console log interface
  • Skins with project title in the TOC:
  • V5 Modern eWriter skins:
    Corrected internal server reference added to the EMail feedback option
  • V5 Flexible Keyboard skins:
    Focus switched to TOC when selecting the Previous / Top / Next buttons in the topic header
  • Both keyboard control skins:
    A bug in the Chromium web engine made the focus outline for keyboard navigation in the TOC invisible after clicking in the TOC with the mouse. This has been corrected with a CSS workaround.
  • Multiple skins:
    Improvement of CSS for formatting in the TOC
  • V4/V5 Flexible skins:
    Tooltip text variables were not connected to the left/right and up/down button tooltips
  • Help update:
    More flexible options for using WebHelp in SharePoint

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