Create Help Files, Web Content, XML Files

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EC Software has released Help & Manual version 5, a powerful Windows application that lets software developers and technical writers create help files, PDF manuals, knowledge bases and other documentation.

In addition to being a classic help-authoring tool, Help & Manual’s multiuser capabilities let teams of content managers create a content management system (CMS) without having to wrestle with database or server software. All of the output from Help & Manual can be saved as Webhelp, PDF files, HTML Help, Winhelp, Word documents, XML or e-books.

Version 5 was built around the revolutionary new Microsoft Office ribbon interface. Using Help & Manual is as easy as using an ordinary word processor, allowing nontechnical people to create Web site and print content, quickly and easily.

The new version of Help & Manual saves data in pure XML format, in a consistent schema top down. Documentation sources can be split at any level, divided into subprojects and merged together seamlessly when publishing.

Help & Manual has improved the handling of very large help projects with several thousands of topic pages. Improvements include the dynamic loading of help projects, quicker search and replace operations and customizable topic status. The new reusable styles and HTML skins can be applied on the fly to style entire projects when you create output. By applying skins, you can apply your corporate layout to any new project, with a single mouse click. Creating customized skins is quick and easy.

Additional improvements in version 5 include a new Snippets function that lets you build libraries of reusable content, extensive support for conditional output and one-click publishing with skins — project templates to customize and overwrite the default HTML layout.

Help & Manual continues to provide all of the features that you would expect in a professional help-authoring application. The program fully integrates the design of a table of contents, a keyword index and context-sensitive help. Using simple drag-and-drop, you can create hyperlinks to other topics and test your work in design mode. Help & Manual offers full Unicode support.

Help & Manual comes with several additional tools rarely found in other packages. There is a built-in screen capture function, an image editor optimized for screen shots and a manual designer to customize the layout of print and PDF manuals.


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