Best Help Authoring Tool (HAT) Software

Help authoring tools are programs designed to assist technical writers in designing, publishing, and maintaining software help documentation. The resulting text is used in explanation guides, manuals, and help files. They are aimed at reducing time and effort needed when creating assistance materials for employees and end users. Technical writers will use help authoring tools to create documents from start to finish. With the programs, they are able to write, edit, and export the documents to then be shared with editors, administrators, and other co-workers. Eventually, the help authoring tool will allow writers to publish the documentation digitally. Many of these products will import text in different file formats or document creation software. Some products which do not posess build tools will need to intergate with build automation tools to be viewed or used.

To qualify for inclusion in the Help Authoring Tool (HAT) category, a product must:

  • Possess tools for editing text, data, or code
  • Provide an input for source text
  • Provide an output for help files
  • Possess tools for adding indexes, content tables, or images
  • Provide tools for interface customization
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    MadCap Flare
    (174)4.5 out of 5
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    Whether you need to create technical documentation for online Help, software and API documentation, policy & procedure manuals, knowledge bases or user guides, MadCap Flare allows you to create, manage and publish content to a variety of formats, including print, online, desktop and mobile.

    Dr.Explain is a help authoring software to create help files, documentation and on-line manuals in CHM, PDF, RTF & HTML formats. Uniquely Dr.Explain captures application screens or web pages and documents them automatically! Dr.Explain is based on a unique interface analysis and screen capture system. Thanks to this system, Dr.Explain can automatically analyze an application’s user interface, take screenshots of all controls and elements, and then add explanatory callouts to all images in the draft help system. After that, all one needs to do is add descriptions to the callouts, and save the result in the HTML, CHM, RTF, or PDF format.

    Adobe RoboHelp 11 software empowers you to deliver differentiated content for different screens using multiscreen HTML5. Generate stunning responsive HTML5 output with a single click, even for legacy projects, or publish content in EPUB 3, KF8, and MOBI formats.

    Help+Manual is the most popular authoring tool for writing and publishing help and technical documentation in multiple formats. While it is as easy to use like Word, Help+Manual gives you the full power of a true WYSIWYG XML editor. You can focus your energy on writing and immediately get productive! This is combined with powerful features for editing documentation files, including full support for multimedia and complex modular projects. Some of the power features are: ► Multi-channel publishing - this includes all standard Windows help formats, from Microsoft HTML Help to Webhelp to Visual Studio Help, Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word documents and ePUB e-books - the standard format supported by the Apple iPad - as well as Amazon Kindle. ► Responsive Webhelp - Webhelp is a context-sensitive format and allows seamless integration of the documentation into your website. This output format can be highly customized and displays equally well on desktop and mobile devices. ► True single source - all publishing formats supported by Help+Manual are generated from the same project. This means you only have to edit your help and documentation once. Forget about the nightmare of "converting" your documentation every time you change anything. ► Multi-user editing and team authoring - multiple authors can work on the same project at the same time. No databases or additional server components are required. ► Version control, remote editing - Help+Manual has active support for Subversion, Microsoft Team Foundation Server and Microsoft Visual SourceSafe compatibles. ► Translation - projects are 100% XML and can be translated directly by tools like SDL Trados (configuration files are included).

    ClickHelp is a modern browser-based documentation tool to create online user manuals, as well as printed documents in various formats. It is provided as a cloud service, not installation needed - sign up and get your own online documentation portal. ClickHelp is used by software companies all over the world to create online user manuals, knowledge bases, help files, FAQs, tutorials and publish them instantly in their portal. ClickHelp is easy to setup and use - no installation, runs in a web browser and supports multiple platforms: Mac OS, Windows and Linux. This makes it easy to author your documentation from any place in the world. It can import content from Microsoft Word, HTML, RTF, CHM, ODT, etc. Can export to CHM, HTML 5 Web Help, PDF, DOCX, etc. This documentation tool has all the powerful features you may need for larger projects: *Password-protected online help. *Easy importing and exporting. The most popular formats like HTML, CHM, PDF, DOCX, DOC, RTF, EPUB, etc. are supported. So, if you want to move from another tool, you can import your documents and that’s all. *Powerful Full-Text Search. ClickHelp has its own patented full-text search that helps you and your readers find topics easily, it also supports wildcard and also if you need, it’s possible to exclude specific topics from full-text search results. *Reporting. ClickHelp has internal analytics that will help you measure team performance metrics and analyze end-user behavior statistics. *Context Help engine to add context help elements to your web applications. *Powerful CSS-based content styling. *Easy to use WYSIWYG topic editor, as well as HTML source mode. *Dynamic content support for single-sourcing - snippets, variables, conditional Blocks. You can also use them in headers and footers. *Single Sign-On support for Google, Microsoft Azure AD, Salesforce and custom OpenID Connect providers *Taxonomies. You can create hierarchic index keyword lists for every topic that makes searching for necessary topics easier. *Readability Scores and Metrics. In ClickHelp 30+ metrics are available. Due to them, you will write more readable and powerful texts. *Agile Help Authoring. You can publish or update separate topics that you select, there is no need to republish the whole project. *Comfortable Navigation Inside User Manuals. It’s easy to create comfortable navigation for your readers - an auto-updating mini-TOC, floating navigation, inserting any navigation elements right in your topics’ header are all available in ClickHelp. *Reusing content. Reusing topics via creating multiple TOC nodes for them in a single project or in different projects became even easier with the "Reuse" mode which can be selected when creating a new topic in TOC. It’s also possible to copy topics. *Easy code inserting - just two clicks and your code will be added and highlighted. *Beautiful ready to use documentation templates and portal designs. *Responsive mobile UI to deliver online docs on tablets and smartphones. *Unlimited version history for each topic.

    HelpSmith is a help authoring tool that you can use to create HTML Help (CHM), Web Help, Printed Manuals, Adobe PDF, MS Word documents, and ePub eBooks from a single source. HelpSmith includes a rich feature set combined with an easy-to-use user interface with a slight learning curve. Among the advanced features available in HelpSmith is the built-in Image Tool that significantly simplifies the way of writing documentation for user interfaces. For example, you can easily capture screenshots, create various annotations for images (balloons, arrows, ellipses, text labels, etc.), add clickable hotspots, and also use control annotations for UI elements that can be exported into the help topic where you can provide a detailed description for each control.

    HelpNDoc is an easy to use yet powerful help authoring tool which can generate various documentation formats from a single source: HTML and CHM help files, PDF and Word manuals, ePub and Kindle eBooks, cross-platform Qt Help files as well as mobile web-sites for iPhone and Android. Forget about bloated user interfaces and incomprehensible help authoring tools: HelpNDoc provides the most advanced functionalities in their simplest form. Creating HTML and CHM help files is usually a painful process but thanks to HelpNDoc you may surprise yourself enjoying it! Producing Word and PDF manuals, ePub and Kindle eBooks as well as Qt Help is as easy while the amazing template engine will let you generate iPhone or Android specific documentation websites in a snap. You know how to use the Windows explorer and your favorite word processor? Then you already know how to use HelpNDoc: it's that easy! Add to that many powerful features such as live spell checking in a fully WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) environment, a state-of-the-art template engine, an integrated media library, a project analyzer, and you'll begin to imagine how fast and easy it will be for you to create your next help file and how professional it will look like.

    HelpStudio seamlessly combines a feature packed WYSIWYG authoring environment, Html based layout templates and customizable Content Widgets to make it simple to create and localize consistent, professional looking help systems with the minimum of effort. Help Authoring just got a whole lot easier.

    Leading the cloud. From intelligent business applications to infrastructure, we deliver tomorrow’s emerging technologies today, like the autonomous database.

    ePublisher allows you to take advantage of new technologies and empowers you with features and formats that keep the integrity of your message while meeting the preferences of your audience. is an documentation generator that uses a simple folder structure and Markdown files to create custom documentation on the fly. It helps you create great looking documentation in a developer friendly way.

    Document360 helps your team create, collaborate, and publish a self-service knowledge base for your software with ease

    FAR HTML is a collection of help authoring and file utilities. If you need to quickly manipulate HTML, XML, ASCII text files, or author help projects (HTML Help 1.x, MS Help 2.x, MS Help Viewer 1.x, Help Viewer 2.x and Uncompressed Web Help) then FAR will save you lots of time and money.

    GenHelp and GenHelp Pro are new generation tools to assist in documenting code and creating help files. They take source files and import them to produce a file that can be used to create several forms of documentation.

    HelpScribble is a full-featured, easy-to-use help authoring tool for creating help files from start to finish. You can create WinHelp (.hlp) files, HTML Help (.chm) files, a printed manual and online documentation (on a web site) all from the same HelpScribble project.

    snazzyDocs makes publishing your documentation quick and painless, with technical-free writing and effortless hosting.

    WinCHM is a very easy-to-use and powerful help authoring tool. Not needing to learn hard, you can be master of creating professional and good looking HTML help(CHM), Web help, PDF manual and Word documents.

    Anark enables its customers to combine PLM and ERP data to generate role-specific engineering release, supply chain, manufacturing, inspection and field service/IIOT content for use throughout the extended enterprise and supply chain. Anark Core and MBEWeb support information-rich conversations between engineering and the downstream consumers of PLM and ERP data by delivering published content in the proper context of each enterprise process.

    Corilla is a collaborative authoring and publishing tool for technical writers.

    Doc-O-Matic is a software source code documentation and Help authoring tool. It takes source code and comments, adds conceptual topics and external input and produces documentation from it.

    EasyDocs is web-based software-as-a-service to create knowledge bases, helps docs and other documentation sites. EasyDocs includes a contend management system for authoring help articles, reliable infrastructure to host them and site customization tools to reflect your brand.

    FastHelp is a Windows Help File Generator that produces online and offline documentation. Compile to any of the following formats, all from a single source editor.

    Creating a help system for your product or service has never been easier! Anyone within your company will be able to quickly create professional web based help systems and PDF manuals that run in all browsers on all platforms.

    Program HelpCruiser destined for creation documents in various formats such as HTML, CHM, PDF, RTF& XML. Given help tool is optimized for solving tasks, that appear during the process of creation help files, descriptions & manuals for one or another software product.

    The Help Generator provides help authoring tools to create chm help files, browser based help and printed user documentation. The modern, Office style, help editing environment has many features to make you highly productive and guarantee quality output.

    Helpinator is a help authoring tool that allows you to create help files and documentation for your software in the following formats: CHM (HTMLHelp), PDF, WebHelp, QtHelp, JavaHelp, OracleHelp, EPUB, MOBI.

    MkDocs is a fast, simple and downright gorgeous static site generator that's geared towards building project documentation. Documentation source files are written in Markdown, and configured with a single YAML configuration file.

    Paligo is a powerful and user-friendly Content Management System for technical documentation. A revolutionary cloud-based tool that makes it easy to move to structured authoring and single-sourcing!

    SPEQit provides a painless way to capture, collaborate, communicate and validate software design and functionality in a single unified platform. SPEQit creates your software specs so that your engineers can build software correctly the first time. Eliminate project ambiguities and reclaim countless hours spent on reworking your solutions. SPEQit is great for teams looking for an effective and efficient way to visually and interactively communicate digital and software requirements over traditional methods and documents. By capturing your screens, UI elements and interactions on your visual designs with in-context requirements, you can better communicate the intent, experience, flows and business rules of your solutions before they are built. Produce digital solutions with vision and clarity from the start. SPEQit is Requirements Management for the Digital Age, ideal for Digital Agencies, Consulting Firms, Application Development Teams and Technology Startups.

    wpDocs helps you to create, manage and publish your knowledge base content online and mobile.