HelpNDoc is intended to create help documentation for your software products. Likewise, it may come in handy if you need to write manuals and eBooks. It supports exporting to various widely used formats, including CHM, HTML, Word, PDF, ePub, Mobipocket, Kindle book and QT help. The program has a beautiful interface in the style of the latest Office suites. Consequently, it is not more difficult to use than Microsoft Word, except for the part of writing code, which certainly requires some programming skills. Luckily, the product is accompanied by excellent help documentation.
You can create a project from scratch but you can also start by importing an existing CHM file. At this point there are some general data about the project that you need to fill in. Structuring the contents in topics is as easy as creating pages and organizing them in a tree that can have as many branches and nodes as needed. Fortunately, drag-and-drop operations and contextual menus make this process a piece of cake for you. Also, while you create the topics, you can add keywords to automate searches. Next thing to do is feeding your pages with contents. It is a blessing that the program has an integrated spell checker to help you write text more confidently and avoid typos. In addition to standard text, you can insert various types of objects, such as video clips, pictures, sound and image maps, to turn your book into a real multimedia experience.
Advanced users can go much further by adding HTML code and snippets, which allow such things as generating conditional contents. If you need to save some time by automating recurrent procedures, you can create your own scripts, but it is a pity that you need to know how to write code in Pascal since other programming languages are not supported. In this regard, there is also an editor that lets you create various types of templates as well as edit existing ones. Finally, you can take out superfluous or redundant data to decrease project size using a command called Vacuum project.
As it has already been said, this application can generate various document formats. However, you may need some third-party applications (Amazon Kindle Generator and HTML Help Workshop) to export as CHM and Kindle book. To let you integrate the output documentation into your software development project, this tool also allows generating code in various programming languages, for instance, Delphi, C, C++, Fortran and Visual Basic.
My honest opinion is that HelpNDoc is an excellent tool. So, it is good that it is free for personal use. However, should you need to use it commercially and avoid advertisement banners on your project’s pages, you can decide to pay for either a standard or a professional license.
- Superb interface
- Excellent documentation
- Easy to use
- Exports to various formats
- Supports multiple types of objects
- Integrated template editor
- Script editor
- Integrated spell checker
- Scripts written in Pascal only
- Third-party applications required for some exporting to some extensions