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ClickHelp User Manual

Authoring

ClickHelp is a topic-based authoring tool. So when you write content, you work with topics neatly organized in projects.

A project is a container for the topics you create, while a topic is a separate standalone section of your document that is supposed to be meaningful on its own. A close analogy to a project would be a separate Word file and a topic — a single chapter. However, in the MS Office Word file, all the chapters are stored in a single document, while in a ClickHelp project, each topic is a separate document.

All project topics are organized in a tree-like navigation structure, allowing users to navigate between them, and each topic has its own content, which you can create, edit, and reuse. 

Create and Edit Your Content

ClickHelp features a powerful Editor which allows you to author help topics easily on different levels, thanks to the Design and HTML Source views.

The Design and HTML modes features

The Design mode offers you a user-friendly interface for creating and editing your content, similar to what you see in word processing software tools like MS Office Word or Google Sheets. It allows you to use all the familiar text editing and styling functions, such as making your text bold or italic, changing fonts, creating lists, etc., as well as work with different types of content, such as images/GIFs, videos, links, code samples, tables, tabs, etc. It is even possible to embed external data like diagrams or math equations.

You can read all about the mentioned functionality in the Topic Editor section. 

In ClickHelp, you can find several ready-to-use elements used to draw a reader's attention, like Info and Warning boxes, or to hide some data into an expandable box, like Show More Box, Text Popup, and Dropdown Text. You can also create your custom template elements and save pieces of content that you can quickly insert into your topics using the Quick Parts functionality. Read more about using these elements in the following section: Add Ready Elements.

It is also worth mentioning that you can add built-in navigation elements to your topics, such as:

Read more about using these elements in the following section: Add Navigation Elements.

The HTML Source View lets you edit the HTML code of your topics conveniently and provides multiple helpful functions like markup error detection, tags/attributes auto-suggestion, and Auto Formatting. Read more about it here: Topic Editor - HTML mode.

Reuse Your Content

Another essential feature that will help you in your authoring process is our rich Single-Sourcing functionality. It allows you to use the same content in different places and create various outputs from a single project.

This functionality comes in handy for different tasks: you can exclude and include topics for various user groups, create a separate version of your documentation containing notes for technical writers, produce printed outputs different from online publications and each other, and so on — all of this without having to create almost identical projects.

Several features comprise the Single-Sourcing functionality:

Variables. They are helpful when you need to put a short piece of text in many places across the documentation and have a way to update this text in a centralized manner. This means that after you change a variable's value in its properties, the corresponding text will be automatically updated everywhere this variable is inserted.

For example, you can use a variable as a version number of your application. Then, when the version changes, you will only need to update it in one place instead of manually going through all your topics.

Content Snippets. When Variables are not enough, and you want to reuse a bigger part of the content in other topics or projects without manually copying&pasting it, Content Snippets come in handy. The feature allows you to keep and maintain the source content as a topic in one place while reusing it anywhere you want. In addition, updating the source topic will automatically update the content everywhere you reuse it, so you won't need to go through all the topics where you inserted the content.

For example, it can be useful for headers, footers, disclaimers, or any other repeating content that needs to be the same across your documents.

The concept of Content Snippets is similar to Variables. However, the approach is a bit different: Content Snippets are made of separate topics, while Variables are plain-text string values stored in portal or project settings.

Output Tags. If you want a part of your content to be present in one output and excluded from the other, you can use the Conditional Content that works based on Output Tags. It allows you to get different outputs from the same source.

For example, you might need it for creating different versions of your documentation for different audiences: when you need to deliver a regular version to your readers and a version with technical notes for your technical writers.

Many users consider that it is better to have a single project with content marked for different outputs instead of having several similar projects, one for each output.

Topic Master Page. Used to customize a topic template: to add a custom header and footer, to integrate third-party tools or external fonts, to add SEO meta tags to all topics of specific projects or a whole portal at once.

For example, if you want all your topics to have the same logo picture at the beginning, the Topic Master Page settings page is a perfect place to set it up just a single time and enjoy the result appearing in all topics.

You can read more about the mentioned and other features in the following section of our User Manual: Single-Sourcing and Dynamic Output.

Other Features

In addition to Topic Editor and Single-Sourcing, ClickHelp has several additional features that help you with authoring.

Utilizing Index Keywords eases navigation across your documentation for both authors and readers: adding a keyword to a topic will include this topic in the search results when a user searches this word, even if the word is not in the topic content.

Adding SEO meta tags helps to get marketing benefits and place your documentation higher in the results of the search engines.

Copying a topic saves you time when you need to duplicate the topic's content in another project.

Built-in Spell Checker helps you to catch typos and correct mistakes on the fly.

Reading this section of our User Manual, you will find information about all the mentioned features and get to know more: