Help+Manual News

Publisher & Product Awards: H+M Is the Top Help Tool on ComponentSource


We are proud and excited to announce that EC Software has once again received both the Top 50 Publisher and Top 100 Product Awards from ComponentSource, one of the leading online shops for professional development software.

In addition to this, Help+Manual is now the top-selling help authoring tool at ComponentSource by a wide margin. Help+Manual ranks 67th in the overall sales ranking for all products in the ComponentSource store.

ComponentSource Publisher Awards page:


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Standalone free EWriter Tool Updated

Our free standalone tool for generating EWriter eBooks and help files from HTML source files has now been updated to 1.0.1. This update brings the standalone version up to date with the EWriter publishing features in the current version of Help+Manual 7.

You can download the installer for the updated EWriter tool here:

About EWriter

EWriter is a freeware Windows eBook and help format that supports context-sensitive help and can replace CHM files for documenting Windows applications. It combines the benefits of CHM and WebHelp and eliminates the major disadvantages of both: Like CHM, it is a compact, single-file format that opens every context help call in the same window. Like WebHelp, the entire interface can be skinned and the books work on network drives. In addition to this, it also supports unique security functions and the ability to link to EXE files to create interactive documentation.



Note that some features supported only by Help+Manual, like links to EXE files, still require EWriter source files generated by Help+Manual itself, because the HTML code for the links is different. Even if you generate the source as WebHelp in Help+Manual and then use the standalone EWriter tool to compile the WebHelp to EWriter the links to EXE files won’t work because they will be coded differently.

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Restore compatibility with current Tortoise SVN

IMPORTANT: This works for both Help+Manual 7 and Help+Manual 6

As you will know if you use Subversion, recent changes to the Tortoise SVN client have made it necessary to downgrade to Tortoise SVN 1.9.2 to maintain compatibility with Help+Manual 6 and 7. This is potentially problematic in the long term, because it means that your version of Tortoise may no longer match the current version of your Subversion Server.

We now have a solution for this that works for both Help+Manual 7 and Help+Manual 6. We are going to provide more integrated support for it in the next update to H+M 7, but you can install the solution now and it will work fine. All you need to do is update Tortoise and then install the current 32-bit SVN client from Collabnet. The download is free, but at the moment you do need to register with Collabnet to get it. We are looking for a better solution for this.

All components must have the same version!

The only caveat is that you must make sure that all components have the same version. The version number indicates the Subversion version, so currently your Subversion server, Tortoise and the Collabnet client should all be version 1.9.4. If you update any of the components in the future you should update ALL of them to the same number again.

Step 1: Update Tortoise to the current version

This is Tortoise SVN 1.9.4. It is important that you DON’T use 1.9.3 — that was an intermediate version and it will continue to confuse Help+Manual’s SVN client access. You can always download the current Tortoise SVN version on this page:

Step 2: Download and install the 32-bit Collabnet client

When you click on the download link on this page you will first need to complete a free registration with Collabnet before you can proceed:

IMPORTANT: You ONLY need the 32-bit command line client, even on 64-bit Windows. In the current version this is titled “Subversion 1.9.4 (Windows 32-bit)” and is 6.16MB. This is the only component that is missing to make the current version of Subversion work properly with Help+Manual.

After downloading, run the installer and accept the default location it chooses for installation.

Step 3: Restart Help+Manual

Subversion functions should now work properly without any further action on your part. In the unlikely event that there are problems, select the Collabnet client manually in View > Program Options > Subversion. It is installed in C:\Program Files (x86)\CollabNet\Subversion Client and the file you need to select is libsvn_client-1.dll.

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Help+Manual 7.1 released!

We are glad to announce the release of Help+Manual 7.1 ! This update is classified as a maintenance update (free for all 7.xx users) and looks like a minor point-update. However, it is in fact a rather big one, with plenty of new stuff! Buzzwords: Team Foundation Server, Sandcastle, Author-it, PDF, Windows eBooks

Author-it import officially included

Version 7.1 can read and import Author-it project files directly. This makes the transition from Author-It to Help+Manual much easier than before, because the new import feature retains the internal structure of an Author-It project.

Team Foundation Server and Microsoft Sandcastle

We have implemented support for Team Foundation Server 2015 (version control) and for the last Microsoft Sandcastle version 2.7.2. Visual Studio source code documentation with Sandcastle has been made much easier now.

PDF improved

A lot of work went into the updated PDF export. Version 7.1 comes with an updated PDF engine and automatically applies proper widow/orphan control to the text. Dedicated page breaks inside table cells have been implemented and a rare problem with distorted math formulas in PDF has been fixed.

Windows EXE eBooks

Our proprietary eBook format keeps becoming more popular as a replacement for compiled HTML Help files on Windows and we have updated the eBook viewer with several new features. Now you can separate the eBook viewer (the executable) from the data file and use one viewer with multiple data files. This creates a smaller package if you deploy your help in the eBook format. Execution of external files, in particular additional PDF files has been improved.

Miscellaneous improvements and fixes

  • Multiple TOCs: we have implemented separate default topics for each TOC. The default topic can now be specified separately for each TOC by right-clicking on a topic and selecting “Set as default topic”.
  • PDF: named destinations bug fix, tables always repeated their first row when a page break occurred in a table
  • Variables are no longer sorted automatically and support multiple selections. The variables dialog window has move buttons to move variables up and down and an additional button to sort them manually.
  • Impict: minor modifications
  • Print Manual designer: optical glitches on 150% screen dpi fixed, undo order was mixed up in some cases
  • Snippets: preview in snippet dialog calculated margins with screen pixels instead of device-independent units, resulting in a somewhat distorted snippet preview
  • Insert Web Video: when the “custom web content” pointed a local HTML helper file (e.g. a video helper page in the baggage list), the video was automatically considered a “local video” and not custom web content.
  • HTML Help (.chm) import: extended import options to split header and topic body, the importer now supports the CSS rule “@import url(xxxxx.css);” and parses the additional CSS files.
  • Version control: Checking out a versionized repository failed (VSS, SVN, TFS). A project was not saved on close, when a topic of a merged project was selected. Visual Source Safe – the manual checkout and checkin where disabled.
  • Windows eBooks: the configuration page for Windows eBooks includes an option to switch on the debug function.
  • Windows eBooks: the publish dialog and publish task dialog enable output file extensions <> “.exe”. When the extension is not “.exe”, H&M creates a data package only, without the viewer.
  • Windows eBooks: the eBook viewer has been updated to support the multi-data-file command line interface and extended hotkeys for runtime zoom.
  • Word (DOCX) export: wrong indents in bullet lists and wrong numbering fixed, page width calculation did not take the page gutter into account (this could result in oversized graphics not exactly fitting the available space)
  • Winhelp (.hlp) import: keyword index and TOC were not properly encoded when the source was a Russian Winhelp file.
  • Possible error in Publishing tasks: it was possible to specify an MNL file as the template for DOCX output, causing an error when the publishing task was executed.
  • HTML Help (.chm) export: standard CHM skins (black, blue, grey) triggered a Javascrip error when the print function from the toolbar was used to print the complete chapter.
  • Tables with alternating row colors: when a table with alternating row colors was placed in a snippet and an uneven amount of rows got removed by conditional tags during the export, the alternating row colors were wrong.
  • Search & replace find result list: copy & print buttons were unintentionally disabled.

Update Build 3925 (June 10, 2016)

This build-update includes fixes a couple of small bugs:

  • Publishing tasks: Webhelp task properties were always reset to defaults
  • DOCX export: table width calculation for fixed-sized tables with indents calculated too narrow width
  • Page breaks after list items: when the last item allowed a page break (= not keep with next), it ignored this para option in print and PDF
  • Rare drag & drop bug in main form (project tree) fixed, it was possible to initiate a double drag & drop operation.
  • Paragraph options dialog: when the units were set in centimeters, the rounding of the cm-values was incorrect.


  • Move buttons for TOC items: the buttons can now move multiple selections
  • Insert File Link dialog box: if the TEST button cannot find the external file in the project folder, it searches for the file in the search path.


Please download the update to 7.1 from our download page and install over your existing installation of Help+Manual.

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Premium Pack 3.15 Update

We’re pleased to announce the release of the Premium Pack 3.15 update. This update adds a couple of important new features and correct some problems that users have reported. The new features added this time will be particularly interesting if you want to add WebHelp to a WordPress site or if you are using WebHelp locally without a web server.

How to get the update:

You can download and install the updated version with the same download link and installation password from the mail you received when you purchased your copy of Premium Pack 3. If you no longer have this please contact and we will help you out.

See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 3 and visit our online store to purchase.

New language files for Dutch, French and German

This release includes some new Premium Pack language files for Dutch, French and German provided by some Help & Manual users. You can load the language files into your skins with the Premium Pack Toolbox utility included with the Premium Pack.

V3 Responsive Skins

New URL handling in no-server mode

The URLs displayed when using WebHelp without a web server are now much more consistent and clear. We have also dealt with an Internet Explorer bug that displayed garbled URLs in some situations when using WebHelp without a web server.

Support for WordPress sites

You can now use embedded help, field-level topics and field-level popups in WordPress sites with the V3 Responsive skins.

Field-level topics and popups

You can now use field level topics and field level pop-ups on the same page.

Handling of  “anchor topics” in the TOC

It is possible to create a chapter that consists of a single large topic, with additional TOC entries that refer to anchors in that topic file as “sub-topics”. The highlights in the TOC now display correctly when these “anchor topics” are selected and the page scrolls to the correct location. This also works when these pages are opened with a topic link or URL.

Premium Pack Toolbox:

  • Renaming variables and build options did not work correctly if the variable or build option had an underscore in its name.

V2 WebHelp/EWriter skins:

  • The Twitter button failed to appear in the sharing popup on some browsers.
  • The rightmost tab in the header menus is now right-aligned so that it can’t extend beyond the edge of the window.


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Mail us your Premium Pack 3 language files!

We are preparing the next update of Premium Pack 3 and we would like to include as many language files for the skins as possible in this release.

If you have added your own language interface for your skins you can save the language file very easily with Premium Pack Toolbox. Just load the skin in Toolbox, then select File > Premium Pack Language Files > Save PP Language File and type only the language of your skin as the name (for Example “French” or “Hindi”). Everything else is automatic.

Then just mail the file to us at so that we can include it in the upcoming release.

Thanks a lot!

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Dakota Systems offers Help+Manual training in Chicago

Dakota Systems, a leader in enterprise publishing and content management, and EC Software, makers of Help+Manual, today announced a partnership to sell and deliver training for the help authoring tool.

Dakota Systems is a privately-held corporation headquartered in the heart of downtown Chicago, IL, USA. Specializing in content management and XML publishing solutions, Dakota has gained industry recognition of its content delivery services for customers around the world.

“We are excited about the prospects of working with EC Software,” said Brian Buehling, Managing Director of Dakota Systems. “Help+Manual is a program that has many unique advantages over other help authoring tools. Its great user interface delivers much of the functionality of a high end component content management system in an affordable program.”

For both beginning and advanced Help+Manual users, Dakota provides training courses that are customized for the requirements of each organization. To learn more, please visit

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Author-it Import (Beta) in Help+Manual 7.1

We are close to beta release Help+Manual 7.1, the next free minor update scheduled for April 2016, and we are looking for beta testers in particular for the new Author-it import.

Help+Manual 7.1 will support the latest version of Team Foundation Server, Microsoft Sandcastle and comes with a new import format: Author-it XML project files. We plan to import Author-it projects as precisely as possible to offer a seamless transition from Author-it to Help+Manual.

If you are interested in beta testing the new version, any of the new features above but in particular the Author-it import, please send an email to for an invitation to the beta test.


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Premium Pack 3.1 Update

We are delighted to announce the release of the first major update to Premium Pack 3 for Help & Manual 7. This update brings several important new features, adds a wide range of improvements and corrects a number of issues in the original skins. The update is free for all Premium Pack 3 users.

How to get the update:

You can download and install the updated version with the same download link and installation password from the mail you received when you purchased your copy of Premium Pack 3. If you no longer have this please contact and we will help you out.

See the Premium Pack product page for more details on Premium Pack 3 and visit our online store to purchase.

New Features in the V3 Responsive skins:

Language Files for all Skin Types
To make translations easier, the Premium Pack Toolbox utility can now export and import all the interface texts stored in your skin to and from external language files. Users can now share their language versions, which we will make available with skin updates as we receive them. German and English language files are included for all skins. 

Field-level Topics
The very popular field-level popups have now been supplemented by field-level topics. You can now display entire topic pages from your help without taking the user away from your page. Toggles, popups and even videos are supported on the pages.

URL switches for Search and Index tabs
The V3 responsive skins now support URL switches for Index and Search. You can create links to the help that open the keyword index or search tab and perform a search for a specified keyword.

Additional programming options for embedded help
We have added additional options for JavaScript programmers for handling embedded help on your pages. You can open and close the embedded help from your own scripts, and specify a “callback function” to be executed after the help opens or closes.

Blink effect for anchor targets
In the V2 skins the targets of anchor links and Auto-TOC headings blink twice briefly after you scroll to them as a cue to the user. This turned out to be so popular that users were missing it in the V3 Responsive skins. We have now restored it there and made it configurable. You can turn it off with a configuration variable.

Improvement for operation without a web server
We have corrected the jquery.history.js component to work better with Internet Explorer when displaying WebHelp locally without a web server. It now also works correctly from paths containing spaces and paths to local servers like NAS devices.

Fixes and Improvements:

The 3.1 update package includes the following fixes and improvements. Most of them apply to the new V3 Responsive skins, but we have also made some key changes to the WebHelp/EWriter skins.

V3 Responsive Skins:

  • Field-level popups can now be closed with the ESC key as well as the close icon. They can be called with the topic ID on its own, without the previously required “.js” extension.
  • Accented and umlaut characters in variables were rendered incorrectly in WebHelp output during browsing (but not on the first page). This fix requires updating to Help & Manual 7.0.9 or later
  • Anchor links to topics in popups did not scroll to the anchor.
  • Topics with multiple entries in the TOC: Selecting a duplicate TOC entry highlighted the first entry pointing to that topic instead of the one that was clicked or tapped.
  • Links to topics with anchors did not work if the links were on the default topic page (index.html).
  • Links to anchors didn’t work if the anchor name contained a dot.
  • The titles of topics defined without headers in Help & Manual did not display correctly.
  • Some interface variables were not updated in templates when they were edited.
  • If there was more than one video light box on a topic page, only the first one worked.
  • Opened image toggles did not close if the user navigated to a new topic while the toggle was open.
  • Some entries for variables and settings in PP Toolbox showed an error message even if you entered correct values (errors in the plausibility checks for some values).
  • Variables for the texts in the permalink popup were not applied when the variable texts were edited.
  • Variables in topic footer didn’t update when browsing to new topics. Topic footer failed to display on browsing without a web server.
  • Browsing WebHelp without a web server failed on some non-mapped drives, for example NAS systems in the local network.
  • Browser history sometimes failed when browsing via the TOC (back button went to the previous page instead of the previous topic).
  • Show/Hide Expanding Text hamburger menu item did not switch to “Hide” when toggles are open in a topic when the topic is first loaded.

V2 WebHelp/EWriter skins:

  • New variables for setting the maximum width of the browsing, search and index tabs and the current title displayed in the browser tab.
  • Tools in the toolbar were sometimes too widely spaced the first time the help was opened.
  • Improved topic print preview and multi-page printing for both WebHelp and EWriter.
  • New variable for setting monochrome printing (sets all text on the page to black and all backgrounds to transparent for the printout.

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Help+Manual 7.0.9 Maintenance Update

We have updated Help+Manual 7.0.9 ! This update fixes an issue with indents of bulleted and numbered lists in the recent 7.0.8 release and is recommended for all 7.0 users.

Most importantly, however, the installer and all executable files are signed with a new code signing certificate the uses the more secure SHA256 algorithm, for old signatures signed with SHA1 are no longer considered valid on recent Windows versions.


Please download the free update to 7.0.9 from our download page and install over your existing installation of Help+Manual.

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