Choosing a Help Authoring Tool

Checklist of key criteria for selecting a so-called help authoring tool (HAT) or user assistance development tool. Help authoring tools can be used for creating online help files and user manuals from the same source (single source publishing principle).

Help authoring tools (HATs) or user assistance development tools are specialized editors and converters you an use to create online technical documentation. Today, many help authoring tools also provide features for single source publishing, which means that you can generate several output formats and versions from one shared text source. While most tools manage to produce different online formats such as browser-based help and compiled help very well, only a few tools can also produce printed user manuals (or PDFs) of professional quality. Big differences also exist among HATs when it comes to translating projects into foreign languages.

Note: You can find a list of tools under Help Authoring Tools.

show/hide sectionBasic groups of tools
show/hide sectionSupport for translations?
show/hide sectionTeam support?
show/hide sectionGenuine single source publishing?
show/hide sectionAutomation of the build process?
show/hide sectionDocumentation of source code?
show/hide sectionManual formatting?
show/hide sectionControl over the HTML code?
show/hide sectionOther authoring aspects
show/hide sectionStrategic questions

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This page was last updated 06/2016