Precision Helper: Best free CHM production software _precision

Source: Internet
Author: User

Many users have the experience of making CHM documents, perhaps to share information with others, or to help themselves develop software. Although the web search CHM production software results are numerous, but the real use is not much, can be called excellent only a few. Among them I think excellent and free only Precision Helper, called the best free CHM production software.

Why do you say it's good?

1, new users can quickly start, easy to use: Precision Helper Ribbon Interface, visual visualization, the main functions can be found here, the overall design is more humane.
2, support many advanced functions, to a certain extent to meet the advanced users. Support for advanced features such as Object Viewer, API tester, and support for highly customizable interface. It also provides some customization of functionality through templates, and also provides a convenient extension interface.
3, directly using HHP as a project document. This is an attribute that I value very much outside of the function. Many of the same software use the proprietary project file format (note 1), although in fact does not "hold" the user, but still caused a lot of trouble to users, and it directly using HHP as a project file format, users can make their own choice after full use. For users who are currently using other software, you can easily free yourself from those proprietary project file formats through the Precision Helper's decompile feature (later).

This article directory:
First, a brief introduction
Create a project from a source file
Third, the anti-compile CHM file to create a project
Iv. installation and compilation of Plug-ins
V. Final HELP release format
The common problems and techniques about CHM
Vii. Summary
Viii. Other supplementary One, brief introduction

The following is a brief introduction to Precision Helper:

Software Name: Precision Helper
Development company: Precision Software & Consulting
Official website:
Download Address: Portable version (recommended) | Installation Version | More

The installation process is not covered by the fact that the official green version is directly available and the installation process is easy to use. Note If Microsoft HTML help Workshop (note 2) is not installed on the current system, you will be prompted to download the installation during installation, and if it is a green version, you must install it manually to generate a CHM file, which provides its download address (size 3.3 MB): Microsoft HTML help Workshop download (although actually the Precision Helper only needs one of these files, Microsoft recommends a full installation.) )

Note 1: The use of proprietary project file format refers to the project format at the time of production, in fact they all support importing HHP files to create projects, but it is not easy to get the modified HHP files.
NOTE 2: In addition to Microsoft HTML help Workshop, other CHM manufacturing tools are a shell that compiles CHM files using the program's components. Help Project Management
A list of recently opened items, a complete list of items, and a flexible way to add items to a list edit a table of contents and index
Flexible editing of items in directories and indexes, many ways to create a theme, inline topic Editor Context help editor
Full Control allocation context ID, alias ID, source file and annotation modern visual appearance
Ribbon Bar, flexible adjustment of layout and visualization settings for interface elements The final help for a variety of formats
CHM, WebHelp, EPUB, and individual HTML files (easy to print or convert to PDF or other format) other accessibility text editors that help you, multiple conditional filtering files, drag-and-drop operations between other instances or external programs, Visual window type designer other support Tools
CHM Viewer, API Tester, Quick Launch, global search

For complete details, see the "Main Features-Full features list" section of the Help. Create a project from a source file

After you open the program, the Welcome page appears, as shown in the following figure (for a description of the features in each of these sections, see the Help):

At this point, click the new item, and then select the location of the new item and enter the project file name, the following figure will appear:

Where the left-hand side is the navigation bar (adjustable position), the current topic in the middle is the Item property, now we first click on the file contained in the lower left corner, add the source file in the tab that appears (action according to the diagram):

For convenience, I have copied the source files to the current project's directory (if not, select the destination folder here), so add the project file directly, select all the files and make sure that the files will appear below the Included Files tab:

Now click on the Ribbon toolbar tool to automatically add the theme and automatically add keywords (here the topic refers to the CHM file on the left directory entries, the keyword is to the index of the subject file), according to the prompts to do the operation to add complete. Then click on the left navigation bar in the table of contents and keyword index, you can see the above has just added the theme and keywords:

?? ??
Note: The production of CHM does not necessarily require a directory and index, but for a CHM that contains more Web pages, including directories and indexes makes it easier for users to navigate. In particular, some CHM files that need to be consulted frequently are easy to locate through indexing, and can be used as context-sensitive help for other programs.

This automatically generates the directories and indexes, when the text in the directory and the keywords in the index are extracted directly from the headers in the page file. If there are more pages, it is recommended to classify and order the catalog items to make navigation more convenient.
Now back to the original Project Properties tab, you can see that the "Catalog Files" and "Index file" input boxes have been filled in automatically (automatically generated directory files and index files in the same directory as the project file), and here add some necessary parts:

Enter the path and name of the target CHM in the compiled Help file, or you can select it by using the immediate "..." button (if no path is specified, the same path is generated with the project file);
For the "default theme" recommendation, use the Next button to select this theme page will be automatically displayed each time the CHM file is opened;
The following "compiling full-text search information" adds search functionality to the CHM file, and if the search function is not required, uncheck this option to greatly reduce the size of the generated CHM file and speed up the build.

Now let's set the caption, click on the Object Viewer on the right, and the entry box to the right of current item will appear as "Untitled", enter the caption directly and return to the carriage (note If no return is not saved):

The basic operation to set up a CHM file is done here, and you can go to the run under the Ribbon column to compile and view the results. Third, the anti-compile CHM file to create a project

Almost every similar software can decompile the CHM file, this software in the anti-compile CHM software, in addition to understand the pressure of the Web page file/directory File/index file, it will also automatically generate project files. Now select the CHM import from the Ribbon Bar tool (Note: not "CHM viewer"), then select the CHM file to decompile and the directory of the new project (a blank directory is recommended, otherwise the project file HHP for the new project will contain extra files), and the following property window appears:

The appearance and behavior of the CHM file can be further set at this point, the same way as before the new.
If you are currently using other CHM tools, you can get all of their source files (including project files, directory files, index files, and Web page files, and so on) directly as items in the Precision Helper as they compile the project, if it is difficult to get a project file (for example, a CHM obtained on the web file), you can reverse-compile the CHM file to create a new project. Iv. installation and compilation of Plug-ins

Although Precision helper already contains a large number of functions related to the production of CHM, but the user's needs are various, there are always some unmet requirements, the Precision helper to provide an extension interface. You can first look at some of the plug-ins that come with your program (such as HTML Tidy), or go to the official website to see the plugin that is not in your program (see the online plugin). 1, install the plugin

After downloading the plugin file, unzip it to the Extras directory. For the green version of this directory under the Precision Helper directory, for the installation version, this directory is C:\Documents and settings\%username%\appdata\precision\precisionhelper\ Extras (Windows 2000/xp) or C:\Users\%UserName%\AppData\Roaming\Precision\precisionhelper\Extras (Windows Vista or later).
Plug-ins in the plug-in directory are automatically loaded when the program is started. 2, Write Plug-ins

If you don't find the features you need, consider writing your own plug-ins. Depending on the functionality you need and the tools you choose, writing Plug-ins can be simple or complex.
For demonstration purposes, I write a plugin to change all the file encodings in the current project. There are two types of plug-in interfaces provided by the program: command line and Pascal Script, where I use the command line. Use the AutoHotkey script to implement the plug-in functionality.
To write the plug-in configuration file (the extension must be PHE), you will know how to invoke the plug-in by using this file program. The following is the configuration file for the demo plug-in:

 [Precision Helper Extension]; CmdLine represents the use of command-line interfaces interface=cmdline the plug-in header and the hint information displayed in the Precision helper.

caption=encoding conversion Hint=convert The Encoding of htm/html files in current project. encoding Conversion the encoding of all Web page files in the project to the user-specified encoding. [Application]; The program to execute, where%appextras% represents the extended folder of the Precision Helper.
You can find more variables to use here in the help. %appextras%\encodingconversion\encodingconversion.exe [command-line]; The parameter passed to the program,%projectfolder% represents the project folder.
This allows us to operate on all of the page files inside.
parameters= "%projectfolder%" waitfor=0 savetoc=1 saveidx=0 saveproject=1 reloadtoc=1 reloadIDX=0 reloadProject=1 [IDE] ;
Set this extension to show what parts of the Precision Helper GUI are in the toolbar. ribbonhome=1 ribbontoc=1 ribbonidx=0 ribbonpub=0 ribbontools=1 ribbonhelp=0 

The plug-in configuration file and the program to invoke are then placed in the Encodingconversion subdirectory of the plug-in directory, including Encodingconversion.phe, Encodingconversion.exe and other files needed to invoke the program (here for convenience, all in the same directory). Where the Encodingconversion.exe is compiled from the Ahk script, if you use the AutoHotkey of the installation version, the Ahk script is used here directly without compiling.
I packed all of this plugin files into a compressed file, please click here to download the test, which contains the Ahk script source files. Unzip it to the plugin directory and then start the program, you can see the plugin in the appropriate location toolbar:

Note: The default plugin icon is now displayed, and you can customize the plugin icon yourself, you need friends please see help.
From the process of writing this plug-in, we can find that if we can find the appropriate program (which requires support for command-line calls), then just write the configuration file. V. Final HELP release format

In this article, the output CHM format, which is the main output format for the Precision Helper, but it also supports output to other file formats, briefly describes the main formats it supports:

1. CHM: The file format in the early Windows system is WinHelp (extension. hlp and. CNT), and support for the WINHELP format has stopped from Windows Vista. HTML help (extension. chm) was introduced starting with Windows 98. HTML Help integrates directories and assistance in a single file, while supporting indexing, Full-text search, and rich html-based formatting, so it is now the most common online help format used in programs on the Windows platform. This format is recommended when you share some data that you do not need to edit and print in the Windows platform.

2. WEBHELP: This format is to copy the project's directory structure (the source file) to a specific folder and generate an HTML or XML-formatted "framework" that can be easily browsed in a Web browser. Many programs that are online help are implemented in a similar way, with specific effects see: Precision helper online Help (English). Your own style is fine, but if you have a Web page or you know how to handle a picture, you can customize it to your own needs by modifying the template.
I recommend using GB2312 encoding for local CHM files, but it may be better to use UTF-8 for online help.

3. EPUB: This is a widely used ebook format for easy viewing on different devices. Specific effects See: Precision
Helper Help ebook (English).

4. A single HTML document: Actually merges all the topics into one file and copies other items (images, styles, etc.) to a specific folder (including the directory structure). This format is generally used as an intermediate format for further operations, such as printing or converting to PDF (a PDF printer or conversion tool should be installed at this point, please refer to help). The common problems and techniques about CHM

Here is a brief introduction to the CHM format related to some of the problems and techniques, using the question and answer form.

1. Q: I downloaded a CHM file from the Internet, opened the view page, but prompted "Unable to display the page ...", every page is like this, what reason.
A: This problem is due to Microsoft's increased security restrictions on network-transmitted CHM files in Windows updates. Do the following: View this file property, click the Unlock button in the property box, and then make sure that you can view it normally. If you download a large number of CHM files directly from the Web, you can modify the registry to remove this security restriction (not recommended). For more information, see: ms05-26,kb806054,kb902225.

2. Q: I would like to publish some CHM format information to the Internet, but I hope that users can download the direct view, and do not need trouble to unlock, there is any way.

A: A very simple way is to compress the CHM file (for example, compress to a ZIP file) so that other users can view it directly after the decompression. At present, AutoHotkey Chinese help offline file release using this form, so easy to transfer, but also user-friendly.
In practice, I found that a lot of users in the open CHM file to see "Unable to display the page ..." is not clear can be unlocked after viewing, so the release of help when the compression is more necessary.

3. Q: When I create a CHM file from a htm/html file, some pages in the CHM file are blank and cannot be searched for Chinese.
A: In my experience, this situation is caused by coding. For the CHM format, there are two locations related to the encoding: the encoding of the CHM itself and the encoding of the htm/html file, where the encoding of the htm/html file includes the encoding declaration of the file head and the encoding of the file. To avoid these problems, it is recommended that you choose ANSI or GB2312 for the CHM's own encoding (for the Simplified Chinese system, the two think the same), and use this encoding for the headers and files of the htm/html file.
If you have to use UTF-8 encoding in your Web pages, you can make changes that allow the page's <title></title> label pairs to contain only ASCII characters, which prevents some pages from appearing blank, but still cannot search for Chinese. (It is not yet certain that the problem can be solved by updating IE to the latest version in different systems.) )
In addition, if you place a CHM file in a deeper directory or in a Chinese directory, some problems may arise when you use it.

4. Q: I need to often/batch of the decompile CHM file, each time to open a software to unpack very troublesome, can be more convenient.
A: Use the batch command:

Hh.exe-decompile <dir> <object.chm>

Where hh.exe is the system's own CHM viewer,<dir> is the target directory,<object.chm> is the CHM file to extract. Use this command in a loop if you need bulk decompression. In addition, many compression decompression software can extract CHM files or view their internal files. Users using Totalcommander can set a hotkey for the internal command Cm_gotodir to go directly to the CHM file to see what's inside.

5. Q: I need regular/batch from the prepared project files compiled into CHM files, can be achieved.

A: First, please download the Microsoft HTML help Workshop (download intermediate 3.3 m files) and extract the Hhc.exe and Hha.dll files from, and you can now use the following batch commands:

Hhc.exe <myproject.hhp>

MYPROJECT.HHP for the project files to be compiled, make sure that the Hhc.exe and Hha.dll files exist before executing. If successful, the generated CHM file will appear under the Options section of the myproject.hhp file compiled the file path specified by the file's corresponding value.
Another approach is to add all the items that need to be compiled to the Precision Helper and then open the build list from its Start menu, and then compile all the buttons under the Robbin column, and click on it to compile all the items in the build list.

6. Q: I want to do some tagging when I look at the CHM.
A: Because the CHM format is primarily designed for online Help for the publisher, it may be inconvenient in some special cases, such as the inability to add comments as a PDF document. Some tools can be used to implement similar functions, such as CHM Editor can support pages directly in the CHM, Ultrachm can highlight text in CHM, and so on. Vii. Summary

This article briefly describes the basic features of the Precision Helper to create new projects, as well as more features and usage see Help. If you want to experiment with some of its features, it is recommended that you test the project file (in the Samples folder) with help from the Precision helper in the package.
Whether you're a new or old user of CHM help, Welcome to the Precision Helper, which in most cases meets your needs. If you find a feature that you need that it has not yet supported (please check Help for confirmation), welcome to the official Find existing plugin (plugin view address) or write your own plug-in, or feedback to the development group (email address: Viii. other Supplements 1. Some of my experiences in making CHM

I originally generated the CHM by using the plugin in Totalcommander chmdir (good soft Note: I released the TC School of CHM ebook, is also used by the plug-in), but this plug-in is weak, unable to make more settings and include Full-text search features (this is the original I updated AutoHotkey Chinese help does not include the reason for the search, many AutoHotkey Chinese users know it. Then began the process of looking for such software, after selecting the software for some time to find the end. At present, AutoHotkey help in the process of updating and the generation has been scripted using the method described earlier, so typically only use the Precision helper when creating new Help. 2, about Precision Helper's Chinese translation

The current Chinese interface and help is my translation, due to the level of English and the ability to limit the accuracy and the fluency of the expression of problems. If you have a friend who is familiar with the various aspects of the CHM, and is free to help out (and translate the Web pages related to Precision Helper on the official website), you can try to negotiate with them to give you a license to their business software (which is their thanks to the translator, Because I only need them for this software, so then give up. In translation I use OmegaT, this is a fast-start translation memory software, while the translation memory provided to them, so in the completion of the main proofreading, and do not need to enter the current translation (for a simple understanding OmegaT please refer to Wikipedia OmegaT introduction and omegat- Open the source computer to translate the helper program). 3. About donation

Precision Helper is freeware and if you feel it gives you a lot of help, you can consider donating to support their further development (donation address).


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