Highlights of Help+Manual 7.3

EC Software has released the latest maintenance update (version 7.3) for its popular Help+Manual help authoring tool software. As with all maintenance updates, the update is free for all 7.xx users.

I want to highlight three new options today. The first two, Tidy XML and Normalize Styles in the Premium Pack, go hand in hand. Selecting the Tidy XML option allows you to create XML that is more translation-friendly for XML-based translation tools. By significantly simplifying the amount of XML tag information in the source code, it reduces the amount of XML markup and makes your topics much easier to edit with other XML-based editors.

Turn this feature on in the Project Explorer, Configuration > Common Properties > Miscellaneous Options. In the XML Topic Files section, check the Write translation-friendly XML box (1). Click Apply to all topics (2) to apply it to all existing topics; otherwise, it will only be used for new topics created after activating the setting.

Tidy XML is not activated by default because it is not compatible with any older version of Help+Manual. You won’t lose data when opening a Tidy XML project with an older version, but the formatting and layout will probably look distorted.
Use this option in conjunction with the Normalize Styles option in the Premium Pack, which performs two tasks that can save you many hours of tedious work:

  1. Globally remove manual formatting
  2. Integrate imported HTML in you project stylesheet

You can globally remove all the manual/inline formatting from your project, optionally preserving formatting with styles and manual bold, italics and underlining. This option also allows you to remove manual formatting in text imported from HTML or CHM files and convert it into references to styles in your project stylesheet. This can save many hours of work and make your project radically more efficient with imported HTML content.

With both these options, make a full backup of your project before starting (always a good idea when implementing any major change to a project)!

Remove Unused Images is a new feature in the Report Tool. When running a Full Report, the generated report displays a list of any unused images in the Unused Images section of the report. What’s new is a button which when clicked, creates an Unused Images folder in the folder containing the images, then moves these unused images to this backup folder.

You can read about all the new Help+Manual and Premium Pack features and fixes on the EC Software website. Dakota Systems is an authorized reseller of Help+ Manual, and is the only North American company offering training support for both beginning and advanced Help+Manual users. Dakota training courses are customized for the requirements of each organization. To learn more, please visit www.daksys.com.

Martin Edic is Marketing Lead with Dakota Systems. He previously worked as Director of Marketing for Jorsek (easyDITA) and with Language Intelligence Ltd.
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