Documentation is your website bible. Without it you’re leaving your clients and future development teams in the dark. But choosing a documentation tool can be confusing. There are hundreds on the market, each claiming to be the best, but which one do you choose? I’ve researched, tested and used dozens of these tools to pick the 5 that I recommend, and I’m going to share them with you today.
Are you developing a sophisticated software product that needs professional documentation to assist users in completing day-to-day tasks? There are a lot of different tools available on the market, but you may be wondering which ones are best suited for your individual requirements. Or perhaps you have been tasked with creating a technical product guide and would like to find software solutions that help you with this. In either case, we put together this article to highlight some of the more popular end user documentation tools and tech documentation tools on the market today.
End-user documentation tools that help you create great user guides for your company’s products are now available in the market. Let’s see some of the best documentation tools, issued by experts from software development industry.
If you’ve ever had to use a piece of software you’re not familiar with, you understand the importance of helpful technical documentation. You don’t have time to guess how to use a piece of software when you have work to get done. You need straightforward instructions to help you complete your tasks.
What is Software Documentation?
Software documentation is any written document that explains how a piece of software is built, operates, or used. For more complex software, it typically includes a section on general use as well as sections about each of the software’s various functions and features. Documentation comes in many forms, including user tutorials that demonstrate how to perform tasks, printed manuals or books with step-by-step instructions, or knowledge bases and FAQ pages on a company’s website.
Software documentation varies depending on the complexity of the software and the technical knowledge of the audience. For example, it can walk end-users through the basics of a piece of consumer software, assist IT and system administrators with software installation, and help software developers build or update programs.
Types of Software Documentation
There are many types of software documentation, from internal documents only accessible to software developers to user manuals for those who use a piece of software regularly. Two main types of software documentation are developer documentation and software documentation targeted toward the end-user.
Developer Software Documentation
Developers use a specific type of documentation created as part of, or in conjunction with, the software development process. These documents can include release notes that describe features and updates, README files in text documents that offer a brief explanation of the software, system documentation that describes requirements for installation, and API documentation explaining how to integrate and work with an API.
End-User Software Documentation
End-user software documentation provides information about how to install, use, or configure a piece of software. This type of documentation helps people understand how to operate a product. End-user documentation can include user guides, tutorials, troubleshooting manuals, and knowledge bases.
There are areas where the lines blur between different types of software documentation, especially when it comes to technical documentation. An example of this is the minimum system requirements for installing a piece of software. Even though it’s considered a technical document, it falls under end-user documentation because it’s written for software users.
Documentation is an integral part of any software product. It explains what the software does, how it works, how to integrate it into other tools, and provides a peek under the hood. There are several different types of software documentation, and they can all benefit from specialized tools that make creating them more manageable.
VISCO VISCO is a fully integrated software solution designed for small to mid-sized importers and distributors. This import/export software specialized is landed cost calculation, shipment and inventory tracking, as well as document generation and management… Client OS Windows, Web Deployment Cloud or On-Premises
POET Forwarder POET Forwarder from E2E Logistics Consulting is a freight forwarder software for freight forwarders and customs brokers. This solution helps expedite orders and provides controls for Custom Brokers with a web-based solution that allows clients, suppliers… Client OS Web Deployment Cloud Hosted
Reach Reach is an accounting software and business automation solution that provides features for a large variety of industries. The software can be custom built for your business and aims to provide a single source of truth for running your business, in… Price Range $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ Starting Price $630/year Client OS Web Deployment Cloud Hosted
AEB Customs Management AEB Customs Management is a central platform for managing your customs processes. Through end-to-end IT integration and smart automation, you’ll be able to handle imports and exports across a number of key export economies through easy integration of… Price Range $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ Starting Price $102/month Client OS Web Deployment Cloud Hosted
TIMMS TIMMS is an ERP software providing all the business management tools your organization needs to succeed. TIMMS is designed to fit processes and can be customized to your needs. TIMMS was developed to provide modules of financials, order entry, and… Client OS Windows Deployment On-Premises
EIMSO2 EIMSO2 (export import management software online) is an export import software that helps companies plan their export and import strategies. The combination of both the export management system online (EMSO) and the import management system online (IMSO… Client OS Web Deployment Cloud Hosted
E2open Global Trade Management Global Trade Management from E2open helps you import and export with confidence. Use this software to reduce product costs by qualifying for trade agreements and leveraging duty savings programs. Everything you need for global trade management (GTM) is… Client OS Web Deployment Cloud Hosted
Dynamics 365 Business Central ★★★★★ ★★★★★ (4) Get a complete business and financial management solution for small and medium-sized businesses. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central makes ordering, selling, invoicing, and reporting easier—starting on day one. [[toc]] With the October ’18 release… Price Range $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ Starting Price $40/month/user Client OS Web Deployment Cloud or On-Premises
Magaya Supply Chain Magaya Supply Chain is a single cloud-based platform for operations, accounting, visibility and tracking, connectivity, and compliance. Magaya delivers robust functionality for freight forwarding, warehousing, 3PL operations, customs compliance, freight… Price Range $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ Starting Price $210/month/user Client OS Web, Windows, iOS, Android Deployment Cloud Hosted
QAD Precision Transportation QAD Precision Transportation helps standardize shipping across your enterprise by tracking shipments and increasing the return on investment for your logistics operation. This software can be used for both domestic or international shipment of goods. The… Client OS Mac, Web, Windows Deployment Cloud or On-Premises
Enterprise 21 Enterprise 21 ERP software is a fully-integrated ERP system for small and mid-market manufacturing and distribution organizations. Designed to facilitate industry best practices, Enterprise 21 includes comprehensive software functionality to manage the… Client OS Windows, Web Deployment Cloud Hosted
ONESOURCE ONESOURCE, by Thomson Reuters, is a corporate tax software with applications to simplify business and compliance needs around the globe. This platform lets you streamline data and automate processes across your departments. This powerful portfolio of tax… Client OS Web Deployment Cloud Hosted
SAP Global Trade Services SAP Global Trade Services software improves global trade management and ensures regulatory compliance for your business. Available on-premise or via cloud deployment, this platform accelerates your cross-border supply chain by automating and streamlining… Client OS Mac, Web, Windows, iOS, Android Deployment Cloud or On-Premises
Turbo-EMS Turbo-EMS is an export management system that manages the export of handicrafts, home furnishings, accessories, gam and jewerly, leather garment and shoes, auto parts, hand tools, chemical, engineering items, and more. Both small and large enterprises can… Client OS Web Deployment Cloud Hosted
Whatfix is a Digital Adoption Platform that allows you to create step-by-step walkthroughs that act as real-time software documentation by guiding employees through your software. If you already have a knowledge base, you can display your documentation in a self-help widget.
Whatfix is redefining how software documentation is displayed and consumed, with new content embedded directly within your software applications in forms such as interactive guidance, contextual walkthroughs, self-help FAQs, popup notifications and beacons, and more. The platform also allows you to measure the usage and effectiveness of your documentation with user analytics.
Dropbox Paper is an online document workspace that lets you organize and display text, media, and files all in one place. It’s a web-based tool, so it’s accessible as long as you have an internet connection. If you’re already a Dropbox user, you can create and edit documents without leaving Dropbox.
Tallyfy is workflow and process management software that lets you capture and automate your company’s knowledge. This software offers the ability to see the status of your tasks, and it is built to integrate into many other systems like Slack or Gmail. It also automates the process of tracking document changes.
Think logically – if we usually edit docs on our smartphones do we really type all the files right from the scratch? In most cases, we just need to insert a couple of corrections and maybe a signature. The common problem that seems to occur each time when you try to edit a document from your smartphone is the difference in fonts.
This app was made to erase this problem – it has a special section where you can choose between dozens of fonts before actually adding a new text to a doc and therefore, make your edited doc look flawless.
Another advantage of PandaDoc is that it has lots of templates for editing so it cuts down the time of the actual process in half. Here you are able to edit any type of files and docs.
Google Keep is an app that occurred on the market quite recently and it positions itself as a note-taking app. In fact, this is not just a simple note pad that you may find on every smartphone, but a collaborative software, that allows the collaborative editing of mutual documents and notes.
The prominent feature of Google Keep is that here you can easily capture, edit, and share your note anytime, anywhere and any device. Another cool feature of this app is to organize your notes with different colors, font, style, and others. By the way, in order to use this app, you should have your own Google Account.
Among all the useful aspects of Google Keep, you can discover its possible to create shopping lists, simple notes and other things that don’t require document editing. Once again, you can grant access to those notes to the 3rd parties.
Among all those standard text editing apps the Evernote app might seem like not a suitable decision. However, if you’re not closely familiar with Evernote, then perhaps you are not aware that this app is a great document and file manager as well.
The advantage of this app is that it can edit documents of any type and it allows you to create documents of any type, including simple notes in the free form. Apart from that. there are many features that Evernote includes, but since in this list we are concentrating on the documents editing, it makes sense to mention them only.
The drawback of Evernote is that the app itself is free, however, it includes in-app purchases. There is a free version but its possibilities are extremely limited. In order to get access to the full range of features, you will need to buy the premium account.
Find the right documentation tool for your team
This is by no means an exhaustive list of documentation tools. There are plenty of other solutions, many of which are (quite honestly) almost identical copies of each other.
It’s also important to keep in mind that finding the right tool is only half the battle. The real challenge is to build a culture of documentation and develop the right habits. A user-friendly documentation tool, however, can make that task a lot easier. We hope this list helps you make the right choice for your team.
Documentation is a necessary evil. Everyone hates it. But like flossing, you would never get away without doing it. As a developer, you may find yourself writing documentation at one time or another. If not, then you have to read someone else’s documentation — which never seems to be any fun either. It’s tedious and boring, even if it’s well-written. Heck, I dread having to piece together even the most elementary of code samples using random bits and pieces from Google searches.
Technical documentation tools play a vital role in the software development process. From technical documents, to specifications and other forms of documentation, developers need these tools to help create useful and accurate documentation.