Step-by-step Guides

Helpinator 3.5 has a new feature – step by step guides.


Step by step guides are sequences of steps, each step has an image (from project image library), step title and short textual step description. When compiling CHM/Web Help Guides turn into Javascript-powered slideshow, when compiling PDF/RTF – into numbered list of images with descriptions.


Here’s how it looks in the editor:




Here’s how you can embed Guide into a topic:




And here’s how it looks in compiled CHM help file:




Here you can see it in action:

Why you should use “cloned” images

Helpinator’s “Image Library” allows you to create “cloned” images. What are they?


Let’s say you have a big complicated tool bar in your application. You need to explain your users how to work with it, what buttons trigger specific actions, all grouped by specific tasks… This probably will require a lot of copies of the toolbar image, each one with it’s own callouts, arrows and text boxes, but all with the same background – application toolbar.


Now suppose that during project evolution toolbar changes significantly – updated icons, some new buttons. Now you need to update a bunch of images to reflect changes in the UI. That could be a nightmare! But not if you use Helpinator’s image library and “cloned” images.


In the following example will’ take a look at one simple but very common situation. Suppose you have a set of images in your project, describing different parts of the toolbar, but all of them contain application name and version in the  window title like this:




One image has callouts for language bar:




Another for compile buttons, and so on…




We’ll make the first one “donor” image and two other images will be cloned.




Now suppose application version changes to 3.5. You need to update all those images. Luckily you have only one basic image and two clones, so you only need to update one image.


Select Tools->Replace bitmap when basic image is open in the editor.




Now all cloned images are updated:




New Styles

Helpinator 3.5 features new style editor, for old text and paragraph styles and two new styles – for tables and shapes that you add in image editor.

On the left side there’s a tree with style groups and available styles. To edit a style you need to select it in the tree first.

Text and paragraph styles remain the same with the previous version.



Table styles are the new feature in v.3.5. You can use table styles to make all tables in your help project look similar. Table style contains such parameters as border width, style and color, cell spacing and heading row count. The latter is mostly for PDF/printed manual purposes because Helpinator repeats table header on each page if a table is split across several pages.


You can select table style when inserting new table using topic editor “Insert table” command.




Shape styles are another new feature in v.3.5. The purpose is the same – to make all shapes that you add to screenshots look the same, preserving color scheme. You can select background color, line color, line width, fill style, border style and font name/size/style/color for text captions.



You can assign shape style by one of the following ways:

  • by selecting it in the “Style” drop down list in the image editor. This will assign selected style to all new shapes.



  • or by selecting style in the shape properties dialog:



Additionally shape styles are used in Helpinator’s step-by-step guides to specify color scheme for step numbers added to the step images.

Helpinator 3.3

In this release:

– Added: categories in image library
– Added: screenshot REcapture
– Added: “skip topic” flags
– Added: Web Help header and footer
– Added: Language strings
– Added: option to disable project checkup before compile
– Changed “Image library” and “Topic List” interfaces, button layouts in other lists

+ Bugfixes