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Help files...

Posted on 1998-11-05
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Last Modified: 2010-04-04
Hi

I need some ideas...

I want to write a help file for my program, but I would like to maintain it from a word processor, eg Microsoft Word...

Is there a good and reliable third party software that can take the RTF from Word and create a help file for me? It would be really nice if i can create my help indexes (and other enhancements like inserting a bitmap, etc) in Word as well...

if the third party software isn't the way to go, it is difficult to generate my own help file from the RTF?? i am sure it would be quite hard to get those indexes and fancy stuff done... please give me some ideas/methods...

Regards
Keith
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Question by:keithcsl
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15 Comments
 
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Author Comment

by:keithcsl
ID: 1345778
Edited text of question
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Expert Comment

by:ZifNab
ID: 1345779
keithcsl, for this I use HelpScribble... It's very easy, not so expensive and it also can prepare some code for you. e.g. let it check your component source and all the nesecarry code, links are already created for you.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:Greedy
ID: 1345780
I like Help Magician Pro.  It's like $400 but worth it for large projects.  If the project is small (like 5 forms) you could make the Help as a collection of HTML files and then have the menu/help (F1) in your program do a CreateProcess to launch the browser into it.  There are a bunch of free/good HTML tools that could help you build the pages, they just wouldn't have the nice searching that winhelp has...might be a PlugIn that can do it?
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:rwilson032697
ID: 1345781
Or you could use Word directly and output HTML (HTML is becoming the format of choice for help now...)
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Expert Comment

by:BoRiS
ID: 1345782
keithcsl

The best one to use that plugs directly into word Robohelp 97 and Robohelp HTML they both allow you to create every thing in word and then complies a full help or HTML help file

Also there is a Doc2Hlp which takes the .doc and creates a hpj then hlp...

HelpScribbler is also very good...

Later
BoRiS

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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Stuart_Johnson
ID: 1345783
Keith,

I'll back Zif up on this one.  Help Scribble is definately the way to go.  I have been using it for about eighteen months or so now, and it is by far the best help authoring system there is.  It interfaces with all version of Delphi directly, even offering you a HelpContext PropertyEditor so you can select which helpcontext ID you want assign each component.

If you consider using HTML for you help files (as M$ has now), there is a free program called HTML Help Workshop which is released by Micro$oft.  Windows help interfaces with it automatically, so there is no reason a user has to have a web browser installed.

As for writing help files in Word, well, unless you have heaps of time on your hands, I would definately avoid it.  HelpScribble offers a full word processor interface and takes away all the hideous internal commands required to author a help file.  

The only thing that is really missing from HelpScribble is a spell checker.  However, you can export the help file into an RTF file and load it into Word to check the spelling if you need to.

If you want to check out HelpScribble, you can download an evaluation copy of it from http://www.ping.be/~jg 

I cant remember where the M$ HTML Help Workshop is, but if you search their site it will shop up there.

Best of luck,

Stu
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Expert Comment

by:GOMF
ID: 1345784

keithcs,

Regarding your question about a help constructor.

Try Helpscrible 4.0.3  - look at this addr
www.ping.be/jg/

faithfully

GOMF
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Expert Comment

by:ZifNab
ID: 1345785
GOMF, HelpScribble is already proposed, more than twice! Read the comments, please!
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Expert Comment

by:elkiors
ID: 1345786
I use DotHelp V1.3 available for direct download from WWW.COMPONENTSOURCE.COM which I find is good for small projects. Fairly cheap too for $75. It handles full 32 bit windows help. Compressed files. Graphic Hotspots and the like.

Darren

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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:venks
ID: 1345787
I use a software called HELLLP! based on Microsoft Word.It is very good and works very fine.It is shareware and it does not cost very much.If you know your RTF and HCW well you can even display your own copy righ messages with out buying the legal copy.I wont tell you how since it is not correct.
There are free  help creators availble also though i found
HELLLP! very good
it is availble from GUY SOFTWARE
1752 Duchess Avenue
West Vancouver
British Columbia   V7V 1P9
CANADA



It costs only 20 -30 dollars
regards
venks
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:rwilson032697
ID: 1345788
A free bit of advice - avoid DodoHelp (Robohelp) like the plague. Quite simply the most unstable, bug-ridden crappy piece of Word-addon help authoring software my company has had the misfortune to be saddled with.

If you can avoid it do so - if you can't then get another job :-)

Raymond.

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Expert Comment

by:Greedy
ID: 1345789
You can find a good list of several help systems at

http://members.aol.com/LindaMoore/helpauth.html

Take a look at that Help and Manual.  It's writen in Delphi and has some nice features.  I am still sold with HMPro.


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Expert Comment

by:Stuart_Johnson
ID: 1345790
Yo!  Keith!!  A bit of feeback would be good about now mate :)

Stu
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Author Comment

by:keithcsl
ID: 1345791
Hi guys

sorry for the late comment.. it takes a lot of time to try out the softwares that you all have recommended. in my opinion, i think Help Scribble is my way to go, mainly because it is affordable and quite easy to use.

hmmm, how do i end this question? zifnab, since you proposed HelpScribble first, could you post ur comment as an answer?

thanks a lot for all this input. i would never have imagined how many help authoring tools are out there without your input. i will continnue to try other softwares and see if any of them might suite me better...

Regards
keith
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Accepted Solution

by:
ZifNab earned 50 total points
ID: 1345792
keithcsl,

 For this I use HelpScribble... It's very easy, not so expensive and it also can prepare some code for you. e.g. let it check your component source and all the nesecarry code, links are already created for you...

Zif.

to the searcher: other nice proposels can be found on the comment list of this thread.
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