Helpinator 3.6.1

– Improved Web Help search index builder
– Improved Web Help keyword files creation
– Bugfixes

How to Prototype Help Project Quickly

Helpinator allows you to build new help project in seconds. Here’s how:

1. Add several topics at once. You can create all project structure using simple plain text format. Use “tab” to identify levels.


Add Topics

2. Add images. When you add images to Helpinator’s image library you can check option to add new topics with added images.


Add Images


3. Add topics as you capture new images. The same as above but using Screenshot tool.

4. Import existing “readme.txt”, “license.txt”, “gettingstarted.doc” and other documents that already exist in your project using Import Tools.

How to Add Annotations to Screenshots

Helpinator’s Image Library allows you to add various shapes with text and arrows to your screenshots, making it easy to describe program UI. To enable it, first select image in the tree view, then select “Tools->Activate Shape Editor”. Then you should select style for the shapes, default is “Red and Yellow”, meaning red lines and arrows with yellow background. You can read more on how to create styles.



To add new shape:

1. Select it on the toolbar

2. Click anywhere on the image where you want to place it.

How to Capture and REcapture screenshots in Helpinator

Helpinator allows you to capture screenshots of active windows with part of their background. Image Library serves as a storage for screenshots. There you can add annotation to screenshots and create clones. You can also assign category and automatically create topics for captured screenshots.




Mode – select what you want to do – capture new image or recapture image that already exists in the library.

If you choose to capture new image you have to specify File name format and category for image. You can use several predefined placeholders:

Name Description
WINCAP Caption of the captured window
EXT Extension of the image format (see below)
HOUR Current hour
MIN Current minute
SEC Current second


If you choose to REcapture image you need to specify it in the drop-down list. Only background will be replaced, shapes will remain the same. You can use this trick to update cloned images easily. Here’s an article with detailed instructions: 


– “Image Format” – specifies image format to store images to. You can select between PNG, BMP, JPEG and GIF.

– “Create topic” – if this option is checked then right after a window is stored to the library Helpinator creates topic with the same name containing captured image.

– “Append to topic” – if this option is checked and topic is selected from the drop-down list, Helpinator adds captured image to the end of the topic.

– “Background width” – specify what part of the active window background to capture along with the window itself. For example, if set to 30 pixels, then Helpinator will capture active window and surroundings with 30 pixels to the left, right, top and bottom. Set to 0 if you don’t want to capture background.

– “Background Effect” – select effect to apply to the background of the window. You can select from Blur, Darken, Pixelate and so on.

– “Drop shadow” – check this if you want active window to have a shadow on the background.

All this options combined allow you to take screenshots like this:


– “Hotkey” – select hotkey to trigger screen capture. Default is “Ctrl-Alt-S”

To start capturing images click on “Start” button.

How to Import Existing Documentation to Helpinator

Basically there are two ways to do it:

1. Using “Convert to H3 project” tool.

2. Using “File->Import files…” command.

Convert to H3 project

This tool is under "Helpinator” start menu group. When you run it dialog like this appears:

Convert to Helpinator 3 project


Source type – select type of the source files here. You can import:

1. Old Helpinator project

2. Compiled CHM file (if you don’t have the source for it).

3. HTML Help compiler project – if you were authoring CHM files using standard Microsoft tool – Help Workshop

4. RTF/HTML/TXT/DOC files – import variety of text file formats, from selected folder. To Import DOC files you need to have Microsoft Word installed.


Source – path to the source files or directory with source files (in case of source type #4).

Destination type – select type of Helpinator project to create. Single-file project stores all data inside one zip-compatible project file. “Multiple files” mode is better if you use come kind of VCS system in your project.

Destination – path to destination project. A filename or a directory path, in case of destination type #2.

Language – select default language for the project with imported data.


Click “Run” to start conversion. After it’s done you’ll be able to open destination project in Helpinator.


File->Import Files


This command acts identically to the “ RTF/HTML/TXT/DOC ” option from above, but is more useful to import files into existing projects. Select path to the directory with files to import and click “OK”.

Upgrading CHM\Web Help templates to support “Glossary”

You will have to add several lines of CSS code to your template for “Glossary” to work correctly.

1. Start new Helpinator project, select default templates

2. Select CHM\Web Help templates in the project tree view

3. Select “default.css”, browse to the end of it.

4. Copy the following code:

.glos_letter {
font-size: 12pt;
        font-weight: bold;       
        margin-top: 10px;

.glos_term {
        font-weight: bold;
        margin-top: 10px;                  

5. Open your project, select “.css” files of your templates and paste the code there.


Version 3.6 adds new feature – “Glossary Editor”. There’s now “Glossary” node in the project tree view, below “Keywords” node. It consists of the common Helpinator toolbar with Add, Rename and Delete buttons, list of terms and editor area where you can edit term description like any other topic.



To link from topic content to any term in the glossary you can use “Insert Hyperlink” command. This dialog now has “Glossary” tab with a list of terms.



In CHM mode Helpinator creates additional “Glossary” topic at the end of the project.



In PDF mode it does the same, except this topic is not the last, because “Index” topic exists there too.


Upgrading Your PDF/RTF Templates

By default when PDF/RTF template contains 3 pages Helpinator omits “Glossary” and “Index” sections in PDF/RTF/Printed Manual output. To enable it you should upgrade your PDF/RTF/Template.


If you are using “default.rtf” without any changes:

1. Select “PDF/RTF Templates” node in the project tree view.

2. Select “default.rtf”

3. Click “Rename”.

4. Rename it to “default2.rtf”.

5. Click “Add”

6. Browse to the Helpinator installation folder, subfolder “templates”, select “default.rtf”

7. Select project root in the project tree view.

8. Change default PDF/RTF template to “default.rtf”


If you are using custom template:

1. Browse to Helpinator installation folder, open templates\default.rtf in any word processor (MS Word recommended).

2. Copy last two pages (with “%GLOSSARY%” and “%INDEX%” placeholders).

3. Run Helpinator, open your project.

4. Select “PDF/RTF templates” in the project tree view

5. Select your custom template and click “Export”

6. Open exported file in the word processor and paste copied two pages at the end of it.

7. Save under different name, say “mytemplate2.rtf”

8. Go back to Helpinator, click “Add”, select “mytemplate2.rtf” from step 7.

9. Select project root in the project tree view.

8. Change default PDF/RTF template to “mytemplate2.rtf”

“Index” for PDF/RTF/Printed Manuals

Version 3.6 adds new section to the end of PDF, RTF and Printed Manuals. This section is named “Index” and contains project keywords with a list of pages where each keyword occurs. Page numbers are not available in RTF format.




To enable this feature you need to use new 5-page default PDF/RTF template or change your own template from 3-page to 5-page. 4th page is for “Glossary” and 5th for index and it should look like this:



“INDEX” will be replaced with language-specific term for Index from “Language Strings”.

LETTER – capital first letter of the group of keywords. Keywords are grouped by the first letter and sorted alphabetically.

KEYWORD – formatting for the keyword itself.

PAGES – formatting for the list of pages.

Printed Manuals

From version 3.6 Helpinator allows you to create “Printed Manuals”. They are much like “PDF” mode but Helpinator sends them directly to printer, with “Preview” phase of course. To create printed manual click “Printed Manual” icon on the main app toolbar.



Helpinator then will prompt you to select printer and will render “Preview”.



You can browse pages, check everything’s fine and when you are satisfied click "Send to Printer" to print it.