What’s the best help authoring tool? That question can be as complex as asking, “What’s the best car?” or “What’s the best sports team?” In other words, there isn’t a simple answer. Because everyone values different features in help documentation software differently, you must know what you are looking for and then make your comparison according to your needs.
You want to create user friendly help content and make documentation available to users via your website. But you don’t want to spend a fortune on creating the help content. Hours go into producing every guide, how-to article or troubleshooting document and if you are using your own staff or freelance writers, or typing in information yourself, creating online technical documentation can cost a lot of money!
Documentation can play a vital role in any software release. Help files can provide in-depth information about the product. If a customer is interested in buying your product, he can view the demo on live chat or contact with the vendor instantly. So, here we are discussing top online help documentation tools to find out which is best for you.
For software users, having help documentation is probably one of their main requirements. Customers don’t want to waste time trying to figure out how to use a specific program. When they get frustrated, they look for a more intuitive option. But offering users the best interface possible is not the only requirement for being successful in the market these days.
What Is Help Authoring Software?
A Help Authoring Software or Help Authoring Tool (HAT) is a content development tool that lets you create, manage, and distribute support documentation. You’ll often see it as a FAQ section or support document section on a company’s website.
Help authoring tools range from basic versions with simple features to advanced component content management systems (CCMS) that manage information on a granular level. Most businesses will do well with a solution somewhere in between.
Some of the basic features you can expect from any help authoring tool include:
- Adding a source text that you can compile into different formats, called single-source authoring
- Import and export help documentation
- Editing text, code, or data
- Managing indexes, tables of contents, or images
- Adding multiple authors to collaborate on the same text
- Customizing the interface, so it fits your brand
A few tools offer more advanced features, such as customization, increased security functions, and analytics tools. Many tools offer a “What You See Is What You Get”-view (WYSIWYG), which makes it easy to see the impact of any changes. Others are more powerful XML based authoring tools that require more tech experience from the user but can fit more demanding processes.
Why Use Help Authoring Software?
There are several advantages to using help authoring tools. You can:
- Save time with single-source and topic-based authoring. Write a text once, then compile it into different formats from the same source. Easy to write, easy to edit, easy to update.
- Collaborate on documents. Let the team write, comment, and edit together in one document to get the best customer support material possible. No more wasting time searching for the latest document version or trying to gather scattered comments into one document.
- Go multi-language. Serving customers in multiple languages can quickly turn into a headache. The right help authoring tool makes it easy to switch to the correct language — both for your team and for your customers.
- Skip excessive coding. No need to build and maintain a platform from scratch — instead, use a tool that already has all the features you need.
- Improve your SEO. Your customers might turn to Google before they go to your website. We all know how Google loves well-structured, interlinked, keyword-rich content, so your help documentation will rank highly. A help authoring software helps you establish a content hierarchy with indexes or tables of contents, link related content, and expand on popular topics.
Here’s a help authoring tools comparison to make it easier for you to find the right fit:
Best for: Okay, let’s be straight here — Helpjuice is different from many other tools on this list because it is so much more than just a help authoring tool.
Of course, you can set up a searchable, Google-friendly, fully customized customer support portal in no time. From FAQs and troubleshooting to training programs and product manuals — we’ve got you (and your customers) covered. But that’s only scratching the surface of the possibilities.
Helpjuice enables users to easily and quickly create a knowledge base that can be used to collect, organize, find, and share any company knowledge. Onboarding new employees? Sharing the latest sales figures to a select group of employees? Sending the latest policy changes to everybody? No problem — Helpjuice means you can control exactly who gets access to what information.
All this makes Helpjuice perfect for companies who want one strong Swiss army knife to form the foundation of their knowledge management strategy, instead of having to pay for, learn, and try to integrate several different software programs.
- Google-like search help customers find the right answer, quickly
- Interactive questions guide customers to a tailored solution — for example, based on the product model or software version.
- Advanced analytics help you identify your customers’ favorite topics
- Customize the tool to fit your needs exactly (Helpjuice’s support team is happy to do it for you)
- Integration with tools such as ZenDesk lets you pull answers from your knowledge base straight into your support tickets
Best for: RoboHelp’s template features makes it especially useful for teams who are looking to create responsive websites for their help documentation. For example, the auto-generated code lets you easily publish a responsive mobile app to help guide your customers to the right solution. You can expect a large number of customization options and features, which gives this tool a bit of a learning curve.
The interface is minimalistic and allows you to switch views between author, code, and preview. Handy features include autocompleting search suggestions, which makes it easier for your users to find the right answer.
- Live CSS view so you can see your changes as you’re doing them
- Import and use scalable vectors in your graphics
- Global style management control for a coherent look
- Single-click mobile app generation
- Project management tool for a convenient help content overview
Best for: MadCap offers a suite of tools for document and content creation, with dedicated tools for interactive video, language translation, and screen capture. This makes Madcaps authoring tool Flare great for enterprises who prefer working with one provider tool instead of several.
Flare’s responsive layout editor makes it easy to control your content’s layout across devices without needing to code. You can also expect rich formatting options for customizing the look and feel of your material to fit your brand. While the tool does help you look stylish, it also features topic-based authoring and a project analysis tool to help you identify issues such as broken links, duplicate styles in stylesheets, and broken image links.
- Content importing with a drag-and-drop workflow
- Content explorer tool for organizing a project’s content-related items
- Both XML and text editor in real-time with a split view
- Microcontent authoring for feeding chatbots
- Password-protected user access with privatized output
Best for: HelpNDocs may not be as advanced as tools such as Adobe RoboHelp or Madcap Flare, but its simple, Windows-like interface makes it approachable even for less tech-savvy users. It features a WYSIWYG-editor, which immediately lets you see your changes.
A library of templates speeds up content creation. Once you’re done, HelpNDoc includes an easy feature for exporting content into various formats, such as PDF, EPUB, CHM, or HTML.
- Project-wide media libraries
- Advanced table of contents editor
- Automation of repetitive tasks with the script editor
- HTML5-based websites or online help documents
- Automatic check for broken or misspelled links in the documentation
Best for: The cloud-based Paligo brands itself as a heavy RoboHelp and Madcap competitor. It is a full Component Content Management System (CCMS) that uses XML. Paligo is especially useful for technical writers who need a way to manage complex technical documentation. Despite the advanced features, you can still count on a clear, appealing overview with the clean interface:
Paligo doesn’t just generate content in channels such as HTML and PDF but also integrates with widespread support and sales tools such as Zendesk, Freshdesk, and Salesforce.
- XML- and topic-based authoring
- Authoring, versioning, and content management functions
- Topic-based reuse of content
- Workflow tools for reviewing drafts, translations, and comments
- Single-sourcing of content into Salesforce
Best for: HelpSmith is excellent for those who want an easy-to-use tool that produces simple help web pages and documents. Customizable web layouts and document templates ensure that you don’t need to be overly tech-savvy to produce help documentation. If you are looking for an advanced technical writing tool, this probably isn’t the right fit for you.
The single media repository for media, such as images and videos, makes it easy to use files in several different projects. You can also merge projects for working on translations or bringing in technical writers.
- Single-source authoring to CHM, PDF, EPUB, and DOC
- Built-in processor with spell-checker and multi-language support
- Import content from file types such as RTF, HTML, and CHM help files
- Screenshot tool for easy tutorial images
- Build tag feature for conditional document compilation
Best for: Dr.Explain is useful for software development companies that need an affordable solution, whether freelancers, studios, or larger companies. For those who need to explain and create help documentation for their software, Dr.Explain could be a good fit.
Do you have a multinational team or customer base? Then this help authoring software might be of interest. Dr.Explain’s multilingual interface comes in nine different languages. It also supports various font faces, including Unicode, which makes it possible to create help documentation in, for example, Arabic or Chinese languages.
- Keyboard shortcuts for exporting to formats such as HTML, CHM, RTF, and PDF
- Advanced screen capture for capturing and annotating web pages
- Edit and publish to the cloud platform Tiwri.com with two clicks
- Gather help files from any programming language, including C, C++, Visual Basic, and more
- Automatic topic drafts based on your software interface
Best for: ClickHelp is for teams who need a robust help authoring software but want to skip the complexities. This cloud-hosted solution boasts support for rich topic content, such as quizzes, videos, and survey forms. Apart from single-source authoring, you can also reuse content across different projects.
One handy feature is the conditional content ability to tag content for different users, meaning that you can save the more advanced help content for developers. ClickHelp customers can expect to export their help documents as a web portal or into a wealth of file types, such as CHM, PDF, RTF, or EPUB.
- WYSIWYG-view that shows you the impact of the changes you make
- Helpful navigation elements such as breadcrumbs, “See also”-links and mini-table of contents
- Minimalistic workflow system for reviewing content
- Automatic document locking prevents you from losing changes when collaborating as a team
- SEO-functionality that helps your support content rank in search engines
Best for: Help+Manual is not the most powerful tool in this list, but it is convenient for light or occasional users. It even offers a “floating license”, which means that you can share a license among occasional contributors. The tool also features convenient tools for external content creation and content review.
The version control system makes it possible to work offline or edit remotely. The system checks out the topics as they are added and then adds them back in and compares them with the previous version when you finish editing.
- WYSIWYG-editor and interface similar to Microsoft Office
- Translation tools connected to ICanLocalize translation services
- Version control system makes it possible to work offline
- Templates and skins create a coherent look
- Tools for screen-capturing, QR-code generation, and graphics editing
What Makes Online Documentation Software the Best?
The best online documentation software should come equipped with unmatched features. It integrates seamlessly with third-party tools, offers a wide array of customization, collaboration, user management options and it should be user-friendly. Regardless of your target audience – employees or customers, the best online documentation software helps you create a compelling document that is searchable and accessible anytime, anywhere. It offers reports for you to know what are people searching for that they aren’t finding answers to, popular articles, poorly rated articles, and more.Get Started With ProProfs Knowledge Base Software For FreeOr Get a Demo
The table below consists of a summary of features while you can also take a look at details about each of them including their pricing right after the table.
ProProfs provides one of the simplest documentation software. It takes care of all your documentation needs right from creation and customization to editing and finally publishing it. You get insightful reports with stats such as popular articles, poorly rated articles, failed searches and more. Its powerful features are instrumental in building documentation of all kinds – technical, training, IT, and the like.
ProProfs is being used by some of the leading global brands, including Adobe, Acer, Nissan, HighQ, and many others. It addresses various concerns such as reducing external and internal tickets, increasing team collaboration, streamlining business processes, and much more.
It helps you at three major fronts:
- Streamlining knowledge management for businesses of all shapes
- Reducing tickets and bridging knowledge gaps among employees
- Ensuring smooth employee onboarding and support operations
- Professionally Designed Templates Pick your favorite template and build any documentation you want in no time.
- Anytime, Anywhere Access Provide employees or customers anytime, anywhere access to your help sites.
- Customization Options Choose from over 600 fonts, colors, and themes to design your document. Customize with your brand name and logo.
- 90+ Languages Supported Cater to your global audience by creating documentation in multiple languages.
- Insightful Reports Get valuable insights into documentation performance. Know total searches made, failed searches, broken links, and much more.
- Roles & Permissions Assign roles such as administrator, editor, contributor, and viewer to different users and groups. Take full control of who can do what in your documentation.
- Contextual Help Add tooltips, lightboxes, and popups to provide a guided tour to readers. Explain concepts, include pricing disclaimers, provide additional information, and much more wherever necessary.
- Conditional Content Set conditions to control content visibility. Hide or display specific content in your documentation based on the conditions.
- 100+ Settings & Integrations Integrates seamlessly with third-party tools such as Zendesk, Salesforce Desk, Wufoo, and Google Analytics along with its sibling tools such as ProProfs Chat and Help Desk. 100+ settings to configure the tool the way you want.
Pricing starts at: $0
Why Use ProProfs Knowledge Base software?
Easy to Use
The software is carefully designed to ensure that people of all skill levels can use it. No hassles of software download or installation. No HTML skills required. Customizable
You can customize the platform to match your branding. CSS helps you create documentation the way you want. Choose from over 600 fonts, themes, designs, and color schemes to customize your online document. Robust Reporting
Insightful reports provide you a comprehensive view of how your documentation is performing. Get actionable insights into the number of searches performed, articles read, popular and poorly rated articles, and much more. 24/7 Support
Worry not, regardless of when and where you get stuck. Aside from the self-service support, you can also get in touch with us to clear your queries. Trusted by Global Brands
Thanks to the software’s awesome performance, it has assisted businesses across the globe to address their concerns, both relating to customers and employees effectively.
Bit offers a robust solution for document creation and collaboration. Packed with powerful features, Bit is the perfect tool to simplify your processes and work smartly.
It’s an all-in-one package that helps you with multiple things, including software documentation, content management, document tracking, document management, and much more.
Designed carefully to work with companies working across a spectrum of industries, Bit is the perfect choice for document creation and management.
✓ Real-Time Collaboration
Allow your teams to edit documents together, and add real-time comments, regardless of where they are located. ✓ Document Tracking
Get actionable insights into the time users spend on your doc, how far they scroll, when do they stop scrolling and more. ✓ Templates
Choose from a wide variety of beautiful templates and themes that look great on multiple devices. ✓ Smart Editor
Style and format your content using the Smart Editor provided by Bit. Pricing starts at:
$12/Up to 50 members/month
If you are looking for digital document management and automated workflows, DocuWare is the right solution.
Available as both cloud and on-premise solutions, it is perfectly designed to align with your business requirements.
The software currently caters to global customers across a wide spectrum of industries right from retail and healthcare to manufacturing and government.
✓ File Import
Importing and indexing documents is a breeze with this feature. No user interaction with MS Office required. ✓ Versioning
Track edits and save changes made to your document. Get access to document histories anytime you want. ✓ Control Dashboard
Keep track of your workflows from a centralized dashboard. ✓ Workflow Automation
Automate workflows and set rules for document handling, assigning tasks, and much more. Pricing –
Available on Request
Document360 is a one-stop solution for all your documentation needs, from creating user manuals and product guides to SaaS documentation, technical documentation, and more. It can help businesses create both public and private documentation or knowledge base for their customers and employees respectively. With an array of rich features, an impressive dashboard, and real-time analytics, Document360 makes collaboration between help authors a breeze.
This documentation software helps you reduce your support ticket requests, improve agent productivity & provide instant support to your customers.
✓ Knowledge base assistant
You can reduce your support tickets and deliver 24×7 customer support by integrating knowledge base assistant with your website. ✓ Versioning
You can access all the version history and never miss out on anything. ✓ Real-time analytics
Real-time analytics and powerful insights let you understand how your documentation is performing. ✓ Multilingual knowledge base
Helps you build a knowledge base with multiple languages with the help of AI. Pricing starts at:
Best known for its capability in building private as well as public technical documentation, Confluence is trusted by companies globally.
This software comes packed with powerful features that deliver an unmatched document-building experience, making it a great tool for documentation.
It allows you to conveniently write, organize, and share content, making it accessible to who so ever needs it.
✓ Customizable Templates
Ready-made templates to help create documentation, the way you want. ✓ Flexible Permissions
Set granular permissions and control who can do what in the document. ✓ Page and File Versioning
Track changes and revert to previous versions when required ✓ Real-Time Editing
Allow users to add comments, mentions, likes, etc. for collaborative editing. Pricing starts at:
StepShot is one of the best documentation software for creating process documentation. Simple, powerful, and comprehensive, this software provides the perfect solution to build and share content easily. It’s best for enterprise consultants, IT operations teams, CEOs of organizations, and human resources.
✓ Easy Exporting
Export content in multiple formats such as PDF, HTML, PowerPoint, WordPress, and more. ✓ Customization
Its PDF template editor allows you to customize your document to match your brand. Coding not required at your end. ✓ OCR Technology
The software’s OCR technology helps you spot the wrong content and allows you to add it wherever it fits best. Pricing –
Available on Request
ClickHelp is one of the best tools for software documentation. It houses unmatched features that help you build the finest documentation for your software. Striving to help firms reduce time while creating documents and increase conversion rates through improved user experience, ClickHelp is the best choice, especially for software vendors.
✓ Version History
You get to save unlimited versions of your document and track the previous changes made by users. ✓ Multi-Channel Publishing
Publish your document in multiple formats such as PDF, web page, and more. ✓ In-Depth Analytics and Reporting
Analyze how your document is performing with the help of useful insights into content quality, user behavior, and much more. ✓ Security and Reliability
Single sign-on, regular backups, cloud or on-premise hosting for your document, and much more to ensure that your documentation is secure. Pricing starts at:
Process street is majorly used to build processes or procedures documentation. Its intuitive interface makes it super easy to create documentation in no time.
The software allows you to keep track of recurring workflows, enhance collaboration, and monitor activities from a single dashboard.
A great tool for documentation, Process Street, can be used for accomplishing multiple goals such as employee onboarding, candidate screening, IT help desk support, and much more.
✓ Simple Interface
The software’s user-friendly interface allows you to create a structured process document in a hassle-free way. Its simple keyboard shortcuts and drag & drop system make it extremely easy to use this software. ✓ Collaborative Workflows
Assign workflows to your team, monitor the activities of team members and get notified on completion of tasks. ✓ Multimedia
Include images, videos as well as audio to your document to make it engaging for readers. ✓ Groups
This feature helps you manage the permissions of different users easily. Pricing –
Available on request.
Paligo is an effective technical documentation software comprising stellar features and powerful functionality. The software is carefully designed to help you reuse content and create an excellent document. Paligo strives to transform technical documentation by empowering teams to create rich content by working collaboratively.
✓ Conditional Filters
Filter content by taking into account factors like product, audience, market, and more. ✓ Powerful Editor
The XML based editor offered by Paligo works great for structured authoring. ✓ Translations
Manage your translations smartly and get rid of shuffling through files for every language. ✓ Version History
Compare different versions or roll back to a previous version of your document easily. Pricing starts at:
Docusaurus is counted among the most popular open-source documentation software. It’s crafted to provide you with the best-in-class experience. With global clients from various industries in its kitty, Docusaurus is slowly positioning itself as the best project documentation software.
Translate your documentation in over 70 languages and cater to a wider audience. ✓ Powered by Markdown
Write and edit content easily with Markdown. ✓ Document Search
Make search effortless for your audience. ✓ Document Versioning
Create new versions, rename existing document versions, and much more with this feature. Pricing –
Available on Request.
Heflo is intuitive, cloud-based, simple to use, and is a good choice for your business process documentation requirements. The software provides a complete documentation solution allowing you to build professional, comprehensive, and beautiful online documents.
✓ Version Control
Store previous versions of your document to track changes ✓ Exportation and Importation
Export or import files easily to your document ✓ Diagram Library
Ready-to-use collection of diagrams that you can refer to create your own. ✓ Superior Design and Usability
The WYSIWYG editor allows you to write and customize content the way you want. Pricing –
Available on Request.
DocuShare by Xerox is a cloud-based solution for all your documentation needs. It is simple, intuitive, and powerful, all at the same time. Packed with powerful features, this software helps you with the digitization and sharing of documents, capturing and managing knowledge, and much more.
✓ Customizable templates
Choose from a wide range of beautiful templates to build your documentation. ✓ Text Editor
Write and edit content easily with its simple text editor. ✓ Version Control
Save different versions of your document and keep track of the changes made. Pricing –
Available on Request.
A cutting-edge documentation software solution, Documize is perfect for both technical as well as non-technical people. The software is rich in features and helps you create an online central knowledge repository with ease. Well-suited for both internal and external documentation, Documize can be deployed both in the cloud or on-premise.
✓ Easy Import
Import word docs right into your document. ✓ Table of Contents
Create a natural flow of your content for better readability. ✓ Templates
Reusable templates to help you get started. Pricing starts at:
$75/per 25 users/month.
Nuclino is a robust project documentation software that is of significant help in onboarding new employees, decreasing duplication of work, and enhancing productivity. Although Nuclino’s key focus is on internal documentation, yet, it still has capabilities that allow sharing documentation with stakeholders existing outside your organization.
✓ Instant Search
Nuclino’s search mechanism is fast and accurate. Give a seamless search experience to readers, wherein they can find relevant information quickly. ✓ Version History
Store previous versions of your document to track changes. ✓ Access Rights
Assign roles and give rights to gain full control over what users can and cannot do in your documentation. Pricing –
Available on request
15. Zoho Workdrive
If team collaboration is what you aim for, your search ends here. Zoho Workdrive is regarded as one of the best as far as managing files for teams is concerned. It helps you create a centralized and secure platform where teams can work together in collaboration. Zoho Workdrive is the right choice for bringing teams and fostering collaboration in the workplace.
✓ Team Folder Access
Assign different roles to team members and control access. ✓ Private and Public Space
Keep your folders private or public, depending on your requirements. ✓ Draft Before Publishing
Save drafts and do a quality check before publishing content. ✓ Instant Uploads
Upload bulk files instantly to your documentation. Pricing starts at:
Rs120/per 3 users/month.
Dokit offers a holistic solution to all your documentation requirements. It covers everything right from creating and organizing to sharing and collaborating. Its suitable both from employees as well as customers’ standpoint. The undisputed performance it delivers makes Dokit one of the best documentation software. It’s available both as SaaS and on-server.
✓ Easy Authoring
Its user-friendly interface is designed to help you create content, import docs, and do much more. ✓ Organization
Dokit enables you to keep full control over your documentation. Track revisions, check updates, manage versions, and more. ✓ Collaboration
Infuse collaboration in teams. Allow team members to ask questions, get feedback, and work collaboratively. Get notifications whenever there is a change. Pricing starts at:
Doccept is a versatile documentation software offered by Kensium. The software was created after doing thorough research on the significant challenges organizations face and how documentation can conquer them. Doccept is a one-of-its-kind software that focuses on the entire document lifecycle management. Catering to a wide spectrum of industries, Doccept has brought a remarkable difference in the way its clients function.
✓ Workflow Management
Keep track of your documentation, set rules, and monitor the progress of articles until they are approved for publishing. ✓ Templates
Use preformatted documents to build online documentation. Avoid mistakes and save time that would have been lost if you create documents from scratch. ✓ Dashboard
Keep a tab on what’s going on with your documentation. Check the latest updates, changes, or any other activity made on a single, centralized dashboard. ✓ Full-Text Search
Search by keyword, folder, date range, and more. Get information instantly at your fingertips. Pricing –
Available on Request.
Intellect Document Control is best suited for organizing, customizing, and managing documentation effectively. It’s feature-rich, easy to use, and helps you customize your documentation to meet your requirements. Flexible and configurable, Intellect Document Control software is the go-to option to streamline your documentation.
Customize workflows and document controls to match your requirements. ✓ Permissions
Set user permissions on the basis of documents, tasks, fields, and more. Keep track of who can access your documentation. ✓ Workflows
Set workflows to ensure quality checks before articles get approved. Pricing –
Available on Request.
Adoddle by Asite is all about cloud-based collaboration. This cutting-edge tool helps in document management and control by enabling you to store data at a centralized platform securely. Everyone involved in projects can easily collaborate and get work done, which results in a sharp decrease in errors. It also saves a significant amount of time and cost. The vast capabilities of this software make it the right choice for document creation and management.
✓ Version Control
Save previous versions of your document, compare versions, and make sure that error-free documents are in use. ✓ Scanning and Indexing
Streamline and manage documents effectively. ✓ Workflows
Create customized workflows and track progress. ✓ Document Archiving
Maintain document archives and keep track of the audit trail. Pricing –
Available on Request.
FormStack is a smart documentation tool that comprises ground-breaking features for document generation and management. It provides you a holistic solution, taking care of all your documentation requirements right from the point of creation and storing to management and publishing. Whichever industry you operate in, FormStack helps you generate impressive documents with ease.
✓ Customizable Templates
Use pre-built templates to get started with your documentation. ✓ Themes & CSS
Choose from a variety of themes, add your logo and customize content to match your brand. ✓ Multiple Users
Add multiple users and help them manage your content ✓ User Permissions
Set permissions for users and define their rights. Pricing starts at:
Designed for businesses of all sizes, Qualityze document management software helps you build documentation of various kinds, including instruction manuals, process narratives, and much more. It’s a cloud-based, configurable, and cost-effective solution that caters to a wide spectrum of industries across the globe. Whether you are a small and medium enterprise or a well-established firm, Qualityze has what it takes for effective document management.
✓ Version Control
Save previous versions and track changes made to the content. ✓ Document Archiving
Set the number of days for which a content piece should be displayed. Post that, it will be counted as obsolete and will be stored as an archive. ✓ User-Friendly Interface
Using the software and creating documentation is a cakewalk with its user-friendly interface. ✓ Workflow Management
Create workflows and track the status of content easily. Pricing –
Available on Request.
Best for: Confluence is built for sharing your public and internal technical documentation. It is part of Atlassian’s suite and integrates well with Atlassian’s tools, such as Jira and Trello. You also have the option of purchasing third-party apps and custom themes for extra features. Confluence is particularly attractive for teams who want a solution that integrates well with other tools.
Depending on your needs, you can choose to host the software yourself or go for a cloud-based solution. While Confluence is a reliable option, it may be too advanced for smaller teams looking for a simple help authoring tool.
- Real-time collaboration with @-mentions and in-line comments
- Customizable, clean-looking templates
- Import and export into formats such as Word, PDF, and HTML
- Advanced security features, data encryption, and privacy compliance features
- Users get a personal workspace that they can organize as they wish
How to Create a Software Help Document
Once you’ve chosen the right help authoring software, how do you then create useful, attractive help documentation? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Identify the purpose. Which is the number one outcome your customers want when reading the document? Should it solve a common customer problem step-by-step, explain a feature, or train customers in using the product?
- Give it structure. In what order will your customer need the information? A short introduction followed by step-by-step instructions can serve as a useful template. To what other pages would a link be useful?
- Skip walls of text. Break up long paragraphs and add subheadings to make it easier to scan the help document easier. Maybe you need to add a table of contents for a long support document?
- Offer an experience. Add images, infographics, videos, or other media to create a rich customer experience. A well-chosen screenshot can be the difference between getting another support call or helping customers solve the issue themselves.
- Stay on brand. First of all, customize the help files to fit your overall style guidelines. Then, you can pay attention to how you communicate your brand’s personality. A help manual doesn’t have to be boring. Did you find the perfect gif that illustrates (and sympathizes with) your customers’ frustrations? If that’s your style, include it!
- Keep selling yourself. Be mindful of Mark Baker’s concept of “every page is page one.” Yes, you might solve a technical problem… but the page could still be the first page a prospect sees and function as a landing page. How do you present your business and communicate the benefits of being your customer?
Our free article helps you to choose among the best help authoring tools and online help documentation software reviews. Our goal is to let you find the best solution for your needs and to help you find the right tool to meet your technical specifications regarding ease of use, capabilities, cost and effectiveness.
Humans are curious beings, and when they read online help documentation their first question is whether these documents are written by real humans or not. Many marketeers will claim that great content takes time and money to create. Having used free help authoring software I’m here to say that you don’t need anything but a basic knowledge of your product/service to create high quality help documentation for your customers.