Help+Manual 7.3.1

Reviewed by Ruheen Kaur

"Windows help and documentation tool"

Overview

Every software requires to include a well-documented help file which can guide the users for its workflow but at the same time, it itself needs to be user-friendly enough so that the users are not left even more confused. Creating such an interactive help file can become a strenuous job for the technical authors or even the developers who have to invest long hours for doing so, and for this purpose help authoring tools were developed. One such powerful tool is ‘Help & Manual’ that aids in help authoring and documentation tasks and which is so easy-to-use that the author will find it as simple as doing documentation in a standard Word Processor editor. It is XML-based tool which also supports single sourcing, team authoring, conditional outputs, and can even create libraries of reusable content.

Installation

Before starting the installation, make sure that there are no other applications running on the system for the sake of a smooth setup procedure. The installation steps will seem to be quite familiar, as you need to confirm the setup installation location, program’s shortcut folder, type of installation – full or Custom, and additional icons like Desktop Icon. In the last step, you can choose to launch Help & Manual right after the installation completes. When the software is installed, you will be asked on what to do with its version – continue the trial version (30 days), purchase product key online, or enter the product key. Following Windows versions will support this software: Windows XP/SP3, Vista, 7, and 8.

Interface

The graphical interface of Help & Manual is very modern, pleasant, and intuitive. Its whole layout resembles the look of Word Processor (MS Word) a lot in many ways, for instance the topmost tabs and the ribbon area containing all the main functions and features, the text editor area under the toolbar where all the text can be added/edited, and the indentation provided in the page editor just like in a word processor. In addition, there is a panel on the left side named Project Explorer that displays the tree view for your current or recently opened projects.

Pros

  • It has the capability to create all standard help formats including the latest HTML Help CHM files, Visual Studio Help file for internal Visual Studio .NET programming documentation, and WebHelp as well
  • Furthermore, it can also generate Adobe PDF, printed manuals, Windows EXE eBooks for older Windows systems as well as CDs, and Word RTF
  • Its supports single sourcing technology, so all of the above mentioned formats can be published from the same project at any time
  • Team Authoring is a very useful feature of this tool that allows multiple authors to work on the same project simultaneously, which can prove to be extremely helpful and time saving while creating a lengthy help manual
  • Your effort put-in while generating a help manual won’t go wasted as this tool will let you create libraries of reusable content (like texts and topics) which can later be inserted in your new projects in Copy or Link mode
  • To make the help files more interactive, you can do lot of stuff with this tool such as- add graphics to the topics, apply hyperlinks, add anchors (these are basically jump targets that can be inserted in a position, so that you can jump to them by clicking a link), and even add macros
  • There can be some topics which when written in text, can be too complex for the users to understand, for such topics adding help videos can be a great  idea which is also supported by this tool
  • Apart from publishing electronic help file formats such as HTML and WebHelp, Help & Manual can also generate fully-formatted help manuals that can be printed directly and even output as Adobe PDF Files for further distribution (which its users can print out on their own)

Cons

Trial period(of 30 days) seems less since users who want to use this tool on trial basis for a project, might need more time to complete the help manual, hence more days for the trial version.

Alternatives

HelpNDoc is an efficient and intuitive tool which can generate HTML help files, help web sites, printed manuals (Word and PDF), printed ePub eBooks, iPhone/Android documentation, and Mobi/Kindle eBooks as well. Abobe RoboHelp is also a very powerful help authoring tool that can deliver content using various output formats including multiscreen HTML5, WebHelp, CHM, Adobe AIR Help, and more.

Conclusion

Help & Manual is a wonderful tool for creating Help manuals and proves to be a life saver for technical writers and developers who otherwise would have to struggle for creating well documented help files. The interface of this tool is very straightforward and its resemblance to word processor makes it easier for anyone to work on it, moreover, its own Help manuals are very helpful. Therefore, use of this tool is highly recommended to all the users who are involved in creating help files.

Requirements: 1024 MB RAM, 100 MB disk space

What's new in this version: XML Export and Import

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Antivirus information

Download3K has downloaded and tested Help+Manual on 3 Jun 2017 with some of Today's best antivirus engines and you can find below, for your convenience, the scan results:
  • Avast:

    Clean
  • Avira:

    Clean
  • Kaspersky:

    Clean
  • McAfee:

    Clean
  • NOD32:

    Clean
Help+Manual Antivirus Report
User rating
2/5 (4 votes)
Medium
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