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Making Help Authoring a Pleasure To Do

Customization options for a help system

We are evaluating different help authoring tools and we like the features (such as batch compilation, build tags, image annotations, etc.) offered by HelpSmith, which can be useful for our documentation.

I would like to learn more about customization options that HelpSmith provides to design the style of our help files and manuals.



I would like to learn more about customization options that HelpSmith provides to design the style of our help files and manuals.

HelpSmith includes various customization options which you can use depending on the documentation format.

Web Help customization options

For the Web Help format, you can find various options that allow you to customize the help system's layout at:
Project Options tab|Project Options|Web Help|Layout

For example, you can create a custom header area by displaying a special topic, or by embedding a custom HTML/CSS template, as described in this topic.

If you need to add your company logo to Web Help's header area, you can find the instructions and download a sample project here.

Web Help themes


Printed Manual/PDF customization options

For the Printed Manual and PDF formats, HelpSmith allows you to:

  • Edit outline levels settings (fonts, etc.)
  • Front page
  • TOC page,
  • Index page
  • and other settings at:

Project Options tab|Project Options|Printed Manual section

For example, if you need to customize the cover page, you can prepare and display a special topic instead of the automatically generated page.

Editing outline levels


Using templates to customize the appearance of help topics

Also, in HelpSmith, you can create and apply templates which are listed in the Project Manager pane under the Templates node.

A template is a document which you can edit in the HelpSmith's word processor (similarly to a topic), which contains common parts for topics, such as:

  • Topic Title placeholder
  • Topic Content placeholder
  • Navigation Links
  • Related Links
  • etc.

For example, you can create a template and set it as the default template for a specific output format (for example, for HTML Help or Web Help), and thus setup the desired appearance for your help topics.

Editing a template in HelpSmith

For more details on using templates, you can find a step-by-step guide here.


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