Best Help Authoring Software & Tools: Reviews and Comparison

Let’s face it: We live in the 21st century, where there’s software for anything and everything. So, there is no surprise that software is designed to help you write help pages (no pun intended!). Help Authoring Software or Help Authoring Tool (HAT) are the solutions designed to help technical writers create online help systems or technical documentation sites for most software companies. Let’s help you choose the right authoring solution.

What is a Help Authoring Software?

Do you know that best Help authoring tools (HAT) have three basic descriptions they are supposed to fulfill? Let’s take a look at them:

  1. File Input: HAT gets the source files or source text from multiple sources of documentation formats in the form of PDFs, HTML, CHM, Word documents, and much more. So the first thing a decent HAT should do is accept a range of file formats.
  2. Help Output: The output of HAT is most certainly not going to be in one single form. So, you should be able to publish the help documents into multiple file formats from an available tool without much hassle to make the writing process more comfortable. 
  3. Auxiliary Functions: This is what makes different HATs unique- based on additional functions it performs. Some of the most common extra parts include automated index generation, automated table of contents, spelling checker, etc. 

11 Best Help Authoring Software

Here is the list of 11 best help authoring tools for you to use with their top features and pricing model. 

  1. CloudTutorial

    CloudTutorial Logo
    CloudTutorial

    Best for building an advanced online help centre for customers

    Rating:4.3/5

    Want to write help articles quickly in a FAQ format? The CloudTutorial is the right choice for you. It does not require end-users to perform the coding. They can create a beautiful online help site for their product and company in a few clicks. It is based on unique interface analysis. CloudTutorial is also compatible with Mac OS and Linux. 

    CloudTutorial

    Top Features

    • Ease in writing help articles
    • User Management is simple 
    • No need to import data from documentation files
    • Get analytics reports on your help articles 
    • Organize your help and manuals into an unlimited number of categories
    • A smart search that shows the relevant help articles even for the misspelled terms

    Pricing Model

    • Free Trial
    • Standard Plan: $14.99/Month
    • Gold Plan: $49.99/Month
    • Plus Plan:$99.99/Month

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  2. HelpJuice

    Helpjice Logo
    HelpJuice

    Best for centralizing team knowledge and scaling customer support

    Rating:4.7/5

    HelpJuice is another knowledge management system solution that can be used to write browser based help files. It is a cloud based Knowledge management software that helps you create an internal knowledge management software for your employees and a support site for your customers.

    HelpJuice Inc includes a rich feature set combined with an easy to use interface. You can use the software to produce HTML and CHM documents, PDF and Word files, and EPUB.   

    HelpJuice

    Top Features

    • Google-like search function
    • Multi-language support
    • Analytics regarding page views
    • Supports document version control system
    • Make web pages SEO friendly

    Pricing Model

    • Supports Free Trial with Limited Functionalities
    • Starter Plan: $120/Month for only 4 Users 
    • Enterprise Plan: $999 per month
  3. Adobe RoboHelp

    Adobe RoboHelp Logo
    Adobe RoboHelp

    Best for creating a printed manual, a website, an eBook, and a help system

    Rating:4.0/5

    Adobe RoboHelp allows your customers to provide inspiring and attractive content designed explicitly for different screens. This software program gives productive HTML5 output with a single click to create policy and help articles to help pages. It has a sleek backend user interface. 

    Adobe RoboHelp Screen

    Top Features

    • Git Collaboration 
    • Add media into a content document
    • Dynamic Content Filtering
    • Multiformat Publishing
    • The perfect solution for project management strategies

    Pricing Model

    • Individual Plan: $29.99/Month
    • Enterprise and Educational: Based on the size of your organization
  4. Madcap Flare

    Madcap Flare Logo
    Madcap Flare

    Best used for creating technical documentation, user guides, instruction manuals, online help, and support websites

    Rating:4.3/5

    MadCap Flare is a cloud based technical documentation and help authoring software, designed to help technical writers or authors publish help files to their legacy projects. There is also another version of this software called madcap central.

    It is a cloud based solution that allows your team to track and manage tasks, organize workflows, schedule and automate processes. Madcap Flare is a help authoring software to create help files, documentation and on-line manuals in CHM.   

    Madcap Flare

    Top features

    • Import files from multiple different formats
    • Easy authoring with XML editors
    • Supports Component Content Management Systems (CCMS)
    • Publish your articles or user guides in multiple formats
    • Possess tools for adding indexes, content tables, or images. 

    Pricing Model

    • Basic Plan: $149 /month/ user.
    • Floating License and Enterprise Floating Licensing: Need to contact the support team
  5. HelpNDoc

    HelpNDoc Logo
    HelpNDoc

    Best used for generating multiple documentation formats from a single source

    Rating:4.2/5

    HelpNDoc is a versatile help authoring tool that works with PDFs, Word, ePub, Kindle, QT Help, HTML, CHM help text files to deal with different functionalities.


    HelpNDoc

    Top Features

    • Clean and easy-to-use interface
    • A super-advanced table of contents and document editor
    • Live spell check tools for pdf and word
    • Supports CCMS
    • Works with kindle ebooks

    Pricing Model

    • Free Trial available with limited functionality
    • Named License: $99/Month
    • Floating License: $249/Month
  6. HelpSmith

    HelpSmith Logo
    HelpSmith

    Best used for creating HTML help (CHM), Web Help, Printed manuals, Adobe PDF, MS Word Documents, and ePub books from single source

    Rating:4.7/5

    A complete help authoring tool (HAT) is great to create CHM Help files, Web Help systems, Printed manuals, Adobe PDF Documents, and Word Documents from one specific source. One of the essential features of HelpSmith is the built-in Image Tool that significantly simplifies the way of writing 

    HelpSmith

    Top Features

    • Built-in screen capture system
    • Easier Writing tools and functionalities 
    • Automatic help creation for the user interfaces
    • Conditional document compilation, syntax highlighter, user-editable variable
    • CCMS compatibility

    Pricing Model

    • Free Trial 
    • Standard Plan: $199/Month
  7. Dr.Explain

    Dr Explain Logo
    Dr.Explain

    Best used for creating help files, documentation, and online manuals in CHM, PDF, DOC & HTML formats.

    Rating:4.7/5

    A multi-language help authoring tool or software available in 9 different languages to create files, technical help documentation, and online text manuals in CHM, PDF, RTF, and HTML formats automatically from a single source.

    It captures the control of overall application screens or web pages and documents them automatically. Dr.Explain is based on a unique interface analysis and screen capture system. 

    Dr.Explain

    Top Features

    • WYSIWYG XML editor to work on the cloud
    • Impressive screen capture quality
    • Supports links, images, tables, lists, and fonts
    • Multilingual program interface

    Pricing Model

    • Free Trial
    • Regular License: $250/Month
    • Premium: $585/Month for 1 Year, $675/Month for 2 Years
  8. HelpStudio

    HelpStudio Logo
    HelpStudio

    Best for creating and publishing help systems and integrating them with your desktop or web-based applications.

    Rating:3.0/5

    A product of Innovasys, HelpStudio info pages makes the task to help content authoring pages incredibly easy. You can create and publish procedures, documentation, and help systems and integrate them with your application components. 

    HelpSmith includes a rich feature set combined with an easy-to-use user interface. 

    Helpstudio

    Top Features

    • Author and collaborate on the WYSIWYG environment
    • Easily import quality content from Word, RoboHelp, HTML help, or HTML files
    • Output to cross-platform and multiple help formats from one specific source text

    Pricing Model

    • Free Trial
    • Basic Plan: $370/Month
    • Enterprise Plan: $469/Month
  9. Help & Manual

    Help & Manual Logo
    Help & Manual

    Best used for writing and publishing help and technical documentation in multiple formats

    Rating:4.8/5

    A leader in help and documentation tools, Help+Manual helps you Write, Publish, and deliver help articles and help documentation just like word processors. Everyone in your organization can access this help authoring tool.

    Help & Manual

    Top Features

    • Import and organize with a few clicks
    • Import files from 8 different Help formats
    • Room for Teamwork and multi-user editing
    • Ability to deal with web browser translation management
    • Optimized for building knowledge bases

    Pricing Model

    • 30-Day Free Trial
    • Standard Plan: $199-$1198/Month 
  10. ClickHelp

    ClickHelp Logo
    ClickHelp

    Best used for creating documents like online manuals for users, help documents, and tutorials.

    Rating:4.7/5

    An online documentation tool to author, host, and deliver your technical documentation from a single self-service portal. You can manage all your documents from a central place, easily import all your text documents, and perform document management with ease. The advantage of ClickHelp is a sleek backend User Interface much more in keeping with modern software. 

    ClickHelp

    Top Features

    • Streamline your documentation to make collaboration easy
    • Get in-depth reports to improve cost-effectively
    • Save time on all stages of the documentation life cycle
    • Flexible permission management
    • Supports CCMS

    Pricing Model

    • 30-Day Free Trial
    • Basic Plan: $50/Month – $600/month
  11. Confluence

    Confluence Logo
    Confluence

    Best used for helping teams to collaborate and share knowledge efficiently

    Rating:4.4/5

    Confluence is a collaboration tool to make the remote working of knowledge management easy and collaboration simple. You can collaborate with your teams to create documents that can be internal or external, like help articles, FAQs, and text files. 

    Atlassian Confluence

    Top Features

    • Create and set document templates and make work faster
    • Organize everything in one page and space
    • Search within documents easily with Google-like search engines
    • Supports various social networks
    • Optimized for building knowledge bases

    Pricing Model:

    • Free Plan: For 10 Users
    • Standard Plan: $5/User/Month
    • Premium Plan: $10/User/Month

These were the best help authoring software & tools that you need to consider before choosing the right authoring software for your business. 

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Features to Look For

It is very likely that at this point, you have a shortlist of HAT, and you want to finalize one. So at this point, you may ask us, what are the three power features to consider while choosing a HAT:

  • Easy to use: You want to have software that is easy to use, so there is no learning curve for your employees. 
  • Ability to collaborate on documents: The next thing your writers will do is collaborate on documents or topics. If the HATmakes this easy to do and offers attributes to increase collaboration, then it is a great option to consider. Also, it should maximize the content reuse. 
  • Skip Excessive Coding: If to make optimal use of all the coding functionality provided, your team needs to have a coding background, then you may want to look at other options for getting significant results.

Who Can Effectively Use Help Authoring Software?

The next question that naturally arises is: do I need or possess any intent to use a help authoring tool with a documentation generator? 

If you consider options to create a help page for your product with 50-100 articles at the initial stage, then an option like CloudTutorial is great as it is affordable and easy to use compared to other software solutions. 

On the other hand, if you want to create a full help and documentation site, the Adobe RoboHelp, Help+Manual, and De are also good options to consider. These are great as you can have multiple sources of file outputs and easily integrate them as a part of your product. 

FAQs

To develop online help pages, you can use a knowledge management tool like CloudTutorial and HelpJuice and create a help site and maintain an internal knowledge management for your employees using such significant authoring capabilities to a great extent.

Adobe RoboHelp is a licensed help authoring tool to create help pages, product manuals, and other documentation to go along with your product. Aimed towards producing responsive documentation over-responsive sites, it is ideal if you want to create printed manuals. RoboHelp enables you to create and maintain help content for your business.

Conclusion

Which help authoring platform suits the best for your requirements?

You can purchase a licensed help authoring tool like CloudTutorial, RoboHelp and HelpNDoc if your primary purpose is to create manuals, how-to-guides, and help authoring websites. 

On the other hand, if you want to create a self-service portal, look for a subscription-based tool like CloudTutorial that comes with advanced features.

If you have any questions related to our software and how it helps you, please feel free to contact us, and we will be happy to answer your questions.

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