In a computer world, the term help system generally refers to electronic documentation in form of a help file or a set of help files that provides the user with information regarding your product or service. Depending on the platform and how the help system is delivered, the terms "Online Documentation", "Online Help", "Context Sensitive Help", "WinHelp", "Web Help", or simply "Help" are used. The help system can be made accessible though various methods, for instance an icon on the desktop, a function key (such as F1), a Help button in your application, or a link to an Internet web page.

There are many good reasons to provide online help with your applications. The prime objective is to provide the user with instant access to the information he or she needs to use your product or service. Online help can significantly enhance the user experience, and thus increase your sales, reduce the number of support calls, etc.

Help systems can be of various formats, such as plain HTML for web-based systems or compiled HTML Help for use on a computer running Microsoft Windows. Help Producer has native support for HTML 4.0, Microsoft HTML Help 1.3 and Microsoft Help 2.0.

In order to create online help with Help Producer, there are several steps you need to perform. Generally speaking, it follows the pattern outlined below:

  1. Write a help document in Microsoft Word that contains the text and graphics of your help pages.
  2. Export the help document to a help project. In this step Help Producer generates a help project that contains all files that are necessary to build the help file.
  3. Compile the help project to a help file. This is the process of consolidating all files of the help project into a single compiled help file.

Depending on what your target platform is, there may be additional steps, such as integration with your software.

Related Sections

Understanding Help Documents
Explains how Word documents are used to create help projects.
Understanding Help Projects
Describes how a help project is structured and what elements it contains.

See Also

Inside Help Producer