How to Create a Knowledge Base With Step-By-Step Guides

In this tutorial we will cover two interesting features of Helpinator at once. The first one is called “Step-by-step guides“. It allows to define a sequence of actions or slides, each with a screenshot (optionally annotated) and text comment. You can then embed guides into topics and Helpinator will render them into output format accordingly to it’s specifications. Some output formats (like DITA or LiteHelp for example) support this content type out of the box, others, like GitHub markdown, require “emulation”.

Static Knowledge Base that Helpinator generates supports step-by-step guides and renders them as a user-controllable slideshow. It allows you to create knowledge bases for your company that contain easily understandable and navigatable procedures.

0. Planning a Knowledge Base structure

Helpinator has a versatile feature called Knowledge Base Profiles that allow to precisely define KB structure over Table of Contents created for tree-oriented outputs like user manuals. This is called “manual” mode. For this tutorial we will stick to “automatic” mode that just uses top-level topics as categories and all subtopics become articles in that category. The purpose of this tutorial is to create a Knowledge Base only, so we can design Table Of Contents with that in mind. Actually we can cteate ToC right when we create the project with ToC prototyping.

1. Creating a step-by-step guide

Step-by-step guides in terms of Helpinator are based on images (say, screenshots). It’s the basis. There is a number of ways you can collect screenshots for your guide:

1.1. Capturing with Helpinator

Helpinator has a built-in screenshot capture tool that allows to append captured images directly to a selected step-by-step guide.

Just enter the name of the guide to be created and Helpinator will append screenshots to this step-by-step guide as you capture them.

Capture into a guide

1.2. Capturing with any other tool (like TechSmith Snagit)

In this case you can paste captured images from clipboard directly to the guide editor.

Paste screenshot into guide editor

1.3. Already captured images stored in a Helpinator image library

In this case you can just select images in the library using checkboxes and click “step-by-step” icon.

Create step-by-step guide from selected images

1.4. Already captured images stored outside of Helpinator project

Same as 1.3. but you need to add images to the library first.

Add new images to the library
Click “Add images”
Image files selected
Images are in the library

2. Write step texts and titles

Now you can select the newly created guide in the project tree view and edit step texts and titles.

Edit step text and titles

3. Insert a guide into a topic

To insert a newly created guide into the topic open the topic editor and select “Insert” tab, then click “Step-by-step” and select the guide from the list.

4. Produce a Knowledge Base

To produce a knowledge base click on “Knowledge Base” icon on the main toolbar or select Main Menu -> Tools -> Compile Knowledge Base.

The default KB settings

This dialog allows to redefine project TOC to be KB-alike with categories and topics, but in our case we can leave to the auto generator, because we were after two-level KB-alike TOC right from the start.

Click OK and Helpinator will generate a static HTML Knowledge base for you.

Check out this sample KB: https://www.helpinator.com/samplekb/

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