Top 12 Help Authoring Software Solutions and Tools in 2021

Top 12 Help Authoring Software Solutions and Tools in 2021

Modern customers, by and large, are speed demons. 

They need intelligently designed self-service platforms that can provide help in a few clicks and swipes. What happens when you fail to meet their expectations?

Your hard-earned customers turn to your competitors for a better, fulfilling experience. 

You can prevent that from happening by taking ‘help’ closer to your customers!

A powerful help authoring tool can make this possible. It enables you to craft compelling help documentation that customers can access conveniently. 

With a slew of options available online, selecting one tool that perfectly fits your needs can be challenging. 

Worry not. We have got your back. 

This blog presents a list of the 12 best help authoring tools to help you make an informed decision. But before we dive into that, let’s understand what exactly is a help authoring tool and why it is important for your business. 

What is Help Authoring Software

Help authoring software is a content creation and publishing tool that is used to build help documentation, manuals, help sites, knowledge base, FAQs, and more. It simplifies the cumbersome process of creating help files, allowing technical writers to fully focus on creating content that is simple to read and understand for end-users. 

The tool allows single-source publishing across multiple platforms such as – web, mobile, PDFs, ebooks, or printed documents.

Benefits of Help Authoring Tools

The best help authoring tools are geared towards making the tedious task of creating help documentation easier for technical writers. While using help authoring software, writers can be unperturbed about how a help file will display on different platforms. Rather, they can completely focus on their core work – writing help content that is useful for the end-users. 

In a nutshell, help authoring software is a savior that assists technical writers at every stage of content creation. 

Here are the top benefits you can achieve with online help authoring tools.

1. Allows Writers & Editors to Work Together

A good help authoring tool offers a common platform for technical writers and editors to create help content of top-notch quality for your end-users. By assigning roles and permissions and defining the responsibilities of each individual and team, you allow for a collaborative work system where everyone knows what they are supposed to do.

2. Single Source Content

Modern help authoring software saves you tons of time by allowing a single piece of content to be used multiple times and across multiple places in a help document. It eliminates the need to write the same piece of content again and again. You can simply write once and use it as many times and at as many places you want.

3. Translate Content in Multiple Languages

Serving customers spread across the globe speaking different languages is a daunting task. With the right help authoring software, it is easy to translate content into multiple languages and provide customers a localized experience.

4. No Coding or Programming Required

If you are a beginner at coding or have little knowledge about it, you can still use help authoring software easily. An ideal help authoring tool does most of the heavy lifting, so you don’t have to do everything from scratch, and you can instead focus fully on the content and design.

5. Elevates Your Online Visibility

Google prefers useful content that solves a problem, is well structured, and is inter-linked. The best help authoring tools enable you to create topic-wise categories through a table of contents, add the right keywords, and link all related articles and optimize it for search engines. 

Best Help Authoring Tools 2021

Picking one software from countless tools available online is like tracing a needle in a haystack. This list will make the comparison of help authoring tools a tad bit easier for you.

1. ProProfs Knowledge Base

A simple tool with stellar features, ProProfs Knowledge Base equips you with everything you need to craft compelling help documentation. Easy to use, feature-rich, and fully customizable, this help authoring software offers beautiful templates to help you get started. It allows multiple authors to work collaboratively, set workflows to review content quality, and publish the document in a single click. 

The best part is, it offers features like content snippets and merge tags that allow you to write small chunks of content once and reuse them multiple times across the document. Integrate this tool with Google Translate, Google Fonts, Google Analytics, Zendesk, and various other software to expand its horizon and put it to maximum use.

You can even use ProProfs Knowledge Base along with ProProfs Chat and Help Desk to give your customers a 360-degree support experience. 

Watch this video to learn more about ProProfs Knowledge Base software.

Watch this video to learn more about ProProfs Knowledge Base software.

Key Features

  • Beautiful Templates – ProProfs offers ready-to-use templates for creating documentation, manuals, knowledge base, and much more. 
  • Single-Sourcing – Write a piece of content once and use it multiple times across multiple places in a document. 
  • Context-sensitive help – Explain technical terms, features, and concepts using tooltips, lightboxes, and popups. 
  • Workflows – Set workflow status for articles that are in draft or progress stage or when they are ready for review or set a custom status depending on your requirements. 
  • Multi-branding – Create multiple copies of a help site and brand each one of them differently. 
  • Public or Private – Keep your help documentation public or enable private sites for internal use. 
  • User management – Add users and create groups. Assign them roles and responsibilities of editor, contributor, and administrator. 
  • Built-in reports – Unlock actionable insights into your manual’s performance and take timely actions for its improvement. 

Why Use ProProfs Knowledge Base? 

  • Incredibly easy to use and designed diligently for beginners, experts, small as well as large businesses
  • Works seamlessly with ticketing, chat, analytics, and other third-party tools
  • Pairs well with sibling tools – ProProfs Help Desk and Live Chat giving you an enhanced experience
  • Fully customizable with features like CSS and white labeling

Pricing

  • Essentials – $30/100 pages/month
  • Premium – $80/200 pages/month
  • Enterprise – Available on request

2. Helpinator

Helpinator is designed, keeping in mind the convenience of technical writers. Feature-packed and easy to use, this help authoring tool assists you in creating technical content easily, even if you don’t have any prior experience in technical writing. 

The tool’s built-in phrase expander helps you write content with speed and accuracy. Besides, its rich content editor, multilingual project support, and 20+ output formats, including PDF, WordPress, WebHelp, and more, make Helpinator one of the best help documentation software. 

The tool is not cloud-based. If you have Windows 7 or 10, you can download it and access a wide range of features and benefits. 

Key Features

  • 20+ Output formats – Publish content in multiple formats such as web, PDF, print documents, EPUB, etc. 
  • Multilingual – Store multiple languages in a project file and change the content’s language in a click. 
  • WYSIWYG editor – Create content quickly and use text blocks for guides and snippets with this easy to use editor
  • Global spell check – Check spelling errors across the entire documentation or manual

Why Use Helpinator? 

  • The tool offers an intuitive UI that’s easy to learn and use
  • Its built-in tools like phrase expander, spell check, and navigation helps you write faster
  • It enables you to publish content in the format of your choice
  • Provides a lot of useful tools like GIF recorder, image editor, theme builder, and link checker for a great document creation experience. 

Pricing

It’s available for purchase at $99/year.

3. Dr. Explain

Dr. Explain is best suited for those who are working in the field of software development. The tool works perfectly for creating help documentation for software products. Its multilingual interface that offers nine languages helps you build content in multiple languages for a geographically spread audience. In collaboration with Tiwri.com, this help authoring tool allows multiple writers to work on a single document and publish it instantly. 

One of the best aspects of this tool is its screen capture system that evaluates an application’s user interface. You can take screenshots of complex elements and add callouts in your document’s draft. Add descriptions to the callouts and save them in any form you want – HTML, RTF, or PDF. 

This help authoring software is not a cloud-based solution. You can download its latest version to access the scores of features and benefits it provides. 

Key Features

  • Easy editor – The editor is easy to use and comes with functions like links and image insertion, spell checker, and text macro variable. 
  • Customization options – HTML templates and custom CSS to create help sites that look great. 
  • Multiple formats – Publish documentation on the web, as PDF, MS Word format or in print form. 
  • Quick import – Import content from HTML or CHM files

Why Use Dr. Explain? 

  • Automates tasks like creating screenshots, importing and indexing content, customization, etc. 
  • Allows technical writers to work together on a help document
  • Create help docs that work well on mobile devices

Pricing

  • Basic – Starts at $450 
  • Premium for one year – Starts at $585 
  • Premium for two years – Starts at $675

4. Adobe RoboHelp

A next-generation help authoring tool, Adobe RoboHelp, works well on Windows and Mac. It offers intuitive authoring features and easy publishing across multiple formats such as Microsoft Help (CHM), frameless Responsive HTML5, mobile apps, and more. This helps you serve customers seamlessly across multiple touchpoints. 

With HTML5 and CSS3 support, Adobe RoboHelp helps you provide visually enriching experiences to your customers that last a lifetime. This tool is noted for its wide variety of customization options and a seamless collaboration system that allows teams to connect and produce brilliant content instantly. 

With a user-friendly interface and simple features such as single-source publishing and dynamic content filters, it is one of the best help authoring tools in the market. 

Key Features: 

  • Conditional Content – Create and apply rules to specific content across your documentation. 
  • Single-Sourcing – Make changes to the content once and reuse them across all pages
  • Quick Import – Import MS Word files to RoboHelp, with styling and images intact. 
  • Seamless authoring – The tool gives a hassle-free authoring experience with HTML5 and CSS3 support. 

Why Use Adobe RoboHelp? 

  • Multi-format publishing as HTML, CHM, and mobile. 
  • Helps you optimize your help docs for search engines
  • Displays relevant search results even when the search keywords are misspelled

Pricing

  • Available on Request.

5. Help Cruiser

A basic help authoring tool, Help Cruiser is perfect for those who are new to this field. You can use this tool to build documents in various formats such as PDF, RTF, or CHM. It offers a wide range of knowledge base templates to choose from, flexible formatting options, and a modern ribbon-style interface that offers various visual themes.

What more? You can even import files directly to your help document and speed up the process of content creation.

This documentation authoring software hasn’t been updated for a long time, so it doesn’t offer advanced features compared to other tools.

Key Features

  • Multiple formats – Create help files and documents in HTML, XML, PDF, and other formats.
  • Templates – Build help files quickly in your favorite format using templates.

Why Use HelpCruiser? 

  • Password protection of documents is possible.
  • It helps you develop various file formats and set different font types, colors, etc. for the content.

6. MadCap Flare

One of the top help authoring tools in the market today, MadCap Flare supports the whole content development cycle from writing and importing content to designing and publishing it. The tool is carefully designed to meet the needs of instructional designers, technical communicators, and learning and development professionals.

So, whether you wish to build technical documents, training manuals, or corporate intranets – MadCap Flare offers the right solution. 

Some of the key highlights of this software are drag and drop import, topic-based authoring, user and team management, translation management, and multi-channel publishing. 

You can even control the layout of the content and change it for different devices using the tool’s responsive layout editor. The best part? You can do this without the help of web developers or coding expertise. 

Key Features

  • Modern UI – Easy to use and modern user interface that offers a personalized and advanced authoring experience. 
  • Project Templates – Ready-made templates to help you create and publish across web, mobile, or print. 
  • Style Inspector – View and edit the style of your help docs in the formatting window. 
  • Analytics – Get deep insights into how users interact with your documentation. 

Why Use MadCap Flare? 

  • Allows you to create content in multiple layout modes
  • Allows topic-based authoring that helps you create content in small chunks. 
  • Helps you create micro-content for an enhanced search experience
  • Provides a systematic process to review content. 

Pricing

  • MadCap Flare – $149/user/month
  • MadCap AMS – $229/user/month

7. ClickHelp

ClickHelp is a simple and fuss-free help authoring tool that takes your documentation to the next level. Author great content, improve its performance with insightful reports and save significant time across all stages of document creation. 

This cloud-hosted help authoring software allows you to author, manage, and publish your documentation on a single portal. Multiple teams can work together in a single document workflow to create amazing content and review the results using the tool’s robust reporting system.

One important thing to mention is that it is always best to choose complex combinations when creating a password, so using a password generator is advisable.  Other significant features of ClickHelp include smooth navigation, flexible roles and permissions, quick migration of existing content, and single sourcing.

Key Features

  • White Label – Add your brand’s logo to the help document. 
  • Reports and analytics – Track content metrics and make data-backed decisions to improve performance. 
  • Easy Migration – Migrate content easily from MS Word, Confluence, and MadCap Flare. 
  • Context Help – Offer context-specific help using pop-up windows, keyboard shortcuts, links, and more. 

Why Use ClickHelp? 

  • Empowers you to author and publish help docs from a single place
  • Provides a common platform for teams to collaborate on documents
  • Keeps help files secure with single sign-on and login tokens. 
  • Makes customization a breeze with templates and CSS

Pricing

  • Essentials – $55/author/month 
  • Startup – $69/author/month  
  • Team – $99/author/month 
  • Enterprise – $139/author/month

8. HelpSmith

A complete help authoring tool, HelpSmith is perfect for creating simple CHM HTML help files, MS Word documents, Adobe PDF documents, printed manuals, and more. It has a responsive layout that works well on desktop as well as mobile devices. Its topic templates help in customizing the look and feel of your help files. 

What more? HelpSmith offers ready-made design themes, a built-in screenshot tool, a word processor, and easy file importing options. The tool also supports Facebook and Disqus comments. 

As compared to other market-leading help documentation software, HelpSmith lacks advanced features and functionalities. In case you are searching for a high-level authoring tool, HelpSmith may not fit your requirements. 

Key Features

  • Topic templates – Create and customize content quickly with topic templates
  • Responsive – Works well on mobile and desktop computers
  • Word processor – Choose your favorite styles and run spell check across languages
  • Customization – It’s easy to customize headers, footers, and other elements of help docs. 

Why Use HelpSmith? 

  • Allows you to capture and crop screenshots and add clickable areas to the image
  • The tool is equipped with multiple publishing options that help you generate outputs in HTML, web, PDF, Word, and ebooks. 
  • Makes document design easier with ready-made themes
  • Helps you single-source content and publish it in the format of your choice. 

Pricing

  • Standard – $199 
  • Professional – $299 
  • Ultimate – $399

9. Paligo

This web-based help authoring tool helps you create top-quality technical documentation in one collaborative space. Topic-based authoring and a powerful content reuse system save you a tremendous amount of time during document creation.

Paligo works on a Component Content Management System (CCMS) that uses XML, giving you a seamless and fuss-free document management experience. The tool allows you to import files directly from MS Word, MadCap Flare, Zendesk, Confluence, and various software.

Its multi-channel publishing is great for those looking to publish documentation in various formats such as print, PDF, HTML5, and SCORM. Paligo’s workflow features work well for reviewing content, managing translations, and seeking contributions from team members. 

Key Features

  • Structured authoring – With the tool’s XML source format, you can give a consistent structure to your documentation. 
  • All in one CCMS – Paligo is an all-in-one cloud-based content management system that assists in authoring, managing, and publishing help documentation. 
  • Content Reuse – You can reuse a specific piece of content across multiple pages and sections in your document. 
  • Powerful integrations – Paligo integrates with leading tools like Zendesk, Freshdesk, and GitHub. 

Why Use Paligo? 

  • Allows easy publishing with content reuse and topic-based authoring
  • Brings teams together to work in collaboration
  • Enables you to directly import content from HTML, Confluence, and MS Word. 
  • Brings reviewers and contributors on board to create and publish content together

Pricing

  • Professional – $179/author/month
  • Business – $269/author/month 
  • Enterprise – Available on request

10. HelpNDoc

HelpNDoc is a versatile and easy-to-use tool that’s ideal for those who aren’t that tech-savvy. You can use this help authoring software to write fresh content or import files and produce documentation in multiple formats such as help files, user manuals, ebooks, and more.

Responsive to multiple devices of different screen sizes, HelpNDoc can be used to create documentation on your favorite devices. 

A simple user interface, advanced table of contents editor, powerful topic editor, project-wide media library, automatic spell check, and project analyzer are some of the key highlights of this help authoring tool. 

HelpNDoc is not that advanced as other powerful tools in this domain, but the good part is that it’s a simple tool that can be easily used by anyone who has little to no technical knowledge. 

Key Features

  • Clean User Interface – The simple user interface turns the cumbersome task of authoring help documentation simple and fast
  • Full-featured editor – Create content with the tool’s feature-rich editor that is as powerful as MS Word. 
  • Live Spell Check – Get notified every time there is a spelling error in any corner of the document. 
  • Media Library – Store all media in the library and manage them in one place

Why Use HelpNDoc? 

  • The tool allows you to publish files as HTML, CHM, PDF, and ebooks. 
  • Empowers you to control all aspects of the final output through its template system. 
  • Comprises all the necessary tools to make writing and publishing easier for your teams
  • You can check misspelled links, missing data and spot duplicate entries with the project analyzer. 

Pricing

  • Standard – 119$ 
  • Professional – 362$

11. HelpScribble

HelpScribble is an easy-to-use and fully-featured help authoring tool that helps you create online documentation, printed manuals, WinHelp files, and more. In addition, the tool allows you to add hyperlinks to the content and create new topics with a single click. 

In case you already have existing content created using another help authoring software, you can import the same using help decompiler and reuse it in your current document. HelpScribble is best suited for creating documentation for your software products and publishing it in a format of your choice – web help, HTML help, printed manual, and more. 

HelpScribble is not a cloud solution, so you will have to download it to access its features and benefits. 

Key Features

  • Hyperlinks – Link pages and articles for quick browsing.
  • Printed Manual – Create manuals and print them easily for your customers.
  • WinHelp format – Build documents in WinHelp format and make it easy for readers to read them. 

Why Use HelpScribble? 

  • HelpScribble is extremely easy to use for both beginners and experts.  
  • Creating topics or sections is just a click away with HelpScribble.
  • Import files and reuse them using the Help Decompiler feature.  

Pricing

  • Available on Request.

12. HelpGenerator

HelpGenerator is the right choice if you are looking to create CHM files, browser-based help files, and printed user documentation. Its robust set of features help you stay productive at work and produce quality documents. 

The tool features an online help editor that makes content authoring extremely easy. You can create topic pages from any part of your application using the Help Generator add-in. Topic templates provide a defined style and layout, making it easy for you to craft help articles quickly. 

This help authoring tool helps you identify broken links in your document so that you can fix them before publishing. It also supports single-sourcing, allowing you to write text once and publish it across the document. 

HelpGenerator is not a cloud-based tool. Download its latest version to explore the features it provides. 

Key Features 

  • WYSIWYG Editor – Modern and easy editor to create help files
  • Help Capture Tool – Generate help content, customize, and publish easily. 
  • Single-Source Publishing – Create a specific piece of content once and publish it multiple times across all pages. 

Why Use Help Generator?

  • The tool comes with an easy user interface. 
  • Writing is a cakewalk with the software’s built-in phrase expander. 
  • You can generate content in over 20 outputs.

Which Help Authoring Solution Is Right for Your Business?

We know that zeroing in on the best help authoring tool from the scores of options available is a daunting task. You need to have a complete understanding of what each tool offers and how it can help you meet your requirements. 

That’s why it’s crucial to gain clarity over what you really want. Chalk out your requirements, go through the online free help authoring tools list given above, and shortlist the ones that fit your criteria. Go for their trial versions if they offer and then make the final choice. 

In case you get stuck in the process or don’t feel confident about your choice, you can reach out to us, and we will help you pick the best tool.

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About the author

Brayn Wills

Brayn is a knowledge management expert. He has been published in CustomerThink, PointVisible and Apruve. As a customer support specialist at ProProfs, Brayn has been instrumental in building a robust knowledge base and documents that help support executives keep every customer delighted. You can catch up with Brayn on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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