How to Create a Printed Manual or Printable PDF File from Your Help Project

After spending much time writing a professional help file, it makes sense to reuse that text to create the printed manual. In HelpScribble, simply pick Project|Make Flat Manual from the menu. (It is called a flat manual because the text is put sequentially in one big file, rather than being separated in hyperlinked topics.) For best results, choose HTML output, no hyperlinks and PNG images as the options for creating the flat file.

Obviously, a printed manual is a different medium than a help file that is read on the screen. So some editing will be necessary. If you try to automate everything, you will get a sub-standard help file, a sub-standard manual, or, most likely, both.

You can easily edit the big HTML file that HelpScribble's flat manual function generates with your favorite word processor. If you use MS Word, be sure to select View|Print Layout from the menu after opening the HTML file. Word opens HTML files in Web Layout by default, which is not a good choice to create a printed manual.

Supply a Printable PDF File with Your Downloadable Software

If your software is a download product, you obviously cannot ship a printed manual. But your customers will certainly appreciate it if you include a PDF file in the download. The people that prefer to read your documentation on paper can easily print the PDF file on their own printer. Many of our customers certainly appreciate the PDF manual that comes with HelpScribble.

Creating a PDF file is very easy. Create the manual as explained above by using HelpScribble's flat manual function and editing the result in your word processor. If you use Corel WordPerfect 9 or later, simply use the built-in PDF functionality to create a PDF file. If you use another word processor, you can buy Adobe Acrobat. Installing Acrobat will add a PDF printer driver to your computer. You can then use any application's Print function to easily create a PDF file. HelpScribble's PDF file was created with Word 2000 printing to Acrobat 5.

You Need HelpScribble