Online help authoring tools are designed to help you create new files that may be used on your help desk. These can load up data that your customers can review on their own, thus making your help desk more efficient. However, these authoring tools can vary in terms of the file formats they can handle and how these programs are organized. Regardless of what you choose, you have to think carefully about what’s available for your demands.

There are loads of great online help authoring tools that you can access right now. Here are a few of the top choices to look for when finding something you can use to get your documents ready for all to read.

  1. Helpinator. This is a program that lets you create online documents through the WordPress CMS or from JavaHelp or OracleHelp templates. You can capture screenshots and images and even create annotations of them so they can be incorporated in your documents. You can even divide the reports you create through Helpinator in steps.
  2. Dr. Explain. While this can take shots of software programs and documents, Dr. Explain goes one step further and can take pictures of application windows. You can create callouts that may be used for elements on your program. This is good for PDF and RTF programs alike.
  3. ProProfs. This is not a wiki, blog, or HAT, but a fully customizable, easy-to-use documentation web site that lets you create online documentation, user guides and manuals. You can even add overlays, tooltips and pop-ups in to your online documentation. Best, there is no need for downloads, installations or XML. The web-based software allows for instant publishing and team collaboration.
  4. WinCHM. The CHM format is one of the most popular choices for help desk files. WinCHM was created originally to help you out with CHM files but today it can also create PDF and print help files.
  5. HelpCruiser. This is a basic option that has not been updated in a while but it has been a trustworthy option for those who are new to the help authoring field. This basic option works with PDF, RTF Web Help and CHM documents. It can also create printed manuals with a WYSIWYG interface. The ribbon design makes this work just like what you’d get out of a word processor or web browser.
  6. RoboHelp. RoboHelp is a very popular authoring tool that can help you generate new documents with a WYSIWYG interface. However, this works better for the use of larger software systems. This can help with creating indexes and smaller data boxes that may be used when you’re trying to place a strong emphasis on very particular documents.
  7. Doc-to-Help. This lets you create new help desk documents quickly. You can use Microsoft Word to write content and then have it uploaded onto a help authoring platform. You can move these to a CHM, PDF or RTF platform. The best part here is that you don’t have to adapt your work to use another tool when using Doc-to-Help; think of this as a glorified conversion tool.
  8. HelpStudio. HelpStudio is a popular translation program and can use the Visual Studio Integration system to create the most appealing-looking help desk possible. This can help you create Web Help and PDF reports.
  9. HelpScribble. HelpScribble uses an editor that lets you take in traditional word processing programs to create new documents for help desk purposes. This is not recommended for PDF creation purposes though as the PDF program is known for being weak.

You can use any of these online options for your needs when getting your online help programs written the right way. This in turn should help you get the most out of your help desk plans while being very easy to run. Be sure you understand what you are working with at this point.