One Minute Challenge
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We will now show you how to create a basic help file in under One Minute, then all you have to do is fill in the help text. Are you ready? Let's go!

  1. Select "File | New Project" and fill in the fields as follows and click [OK] to create your New Project:-
  2. At the top of the screen you will see your Project details. On the left is a list of all the Topics (pages), which is blank at present and on the right is the editor where you will type in your Help Text. Click the Add Topic/Heading button as shown in the image and the "Add Topic/Heading" screen will appear.

  3. We will call the first Topic "Welcome", so type this in the "Title" field, click "Topic" and click [OK]. You will see the Topic added to the Contents list on the left and on the right the editor will load the Topic ready to edit. Type in some sample text like "This is my first Topic".
  4. Now Click the "Add Topic/Heading" toolbar button again. This time we will create a Heading. Headings allow Topics and other Headings to be stored beneath them, ready to be opened when you click on the [+] sign next to them. In the "Add Topic/Heading" screen, click the "Heading" button and type in "Links and Images" in the "Title" field and click [OK].

    Your Project should now look something like the image below.
  5. Now we will add two more Topics, this time beneath the Heading, i.e. indented to the right. Click "Add Topic/Heading" again, click on the "Topic" button and in the "Title" field type in "Links". Beside the Topic button you will see the Horizontal Position section. We want to make this a child page of the Heading we just created. So click the "Indent to the right?" check box, check it and click [OK]. Add another Topic and call it "Images", and set the Horizontal Position to "On the current level" and the "Vertical Position" to "Below the current page. Your Project should now look something like this:-
  6. Let's add an Image. Click on the Insert Image toolbar icon on the top right of your screen. Select any image from your computer. Fast-Help supports bmp, gif, jpg, shg and png files. Your image will appear at the cursor position. We will see later how to control image alignment and properties. For now I just wanted to show you how simple it is to insert an image.
  7. Now click on the "Links" Topic in the Contents list on the left and the editor will load the Links page. Type in some sample text like, "This page links to the Welcome page." Now highlight the word "Welcome" and click the Insert Link toolbar icon, on the top right of the screen. The "Pick a Topic" screen will appear and the Welcome Topic will be selected. Click [OK] and your link is created. It's that simple!
  8. OK, let's test it. Click the compile button on the top left of the toolbar and the compile screen appears. You have a lot of choices, but for now click on the ".CHM" button on the left. At the top of the screen you can see the File name that will be compiled and the Title. Click [OK] to begin compiling.
  9. Your help file will now appear and will very closely match what you see within Fast-Help, with the Contents on the left and the help text on the right. Open the "Links and Images" heading and click on the "Links" Topic. Now test your link to the Welcome page by clicking on the link you created earlier. Test the Index and Search.

That's it. How long did that take you? About a minute? Look what you have created in that short time:-

These are all the common tasks of creating a help file. Fast-Help is designed to make you productive in the shortest possible time.

What about producing a Manual or a Website or a PDF file?

Simply click the button again and this time click on the ".HLP" button at the top and compile a WinHelp file. Then try compiling a Website, a Printable manual, an MS Word document or a PDF document. Remember, you've only just started using Fast-Help and already you can create a huge range of electronic and printable media from a single source and all in about a minute!

What Now?

You could start playing around with Fast-Help, adding more Topics and Headings, dragging and dropping your Topics into new positions, adding help text, copying and pasting text from MS Word or other help files, adding more links and images and compiling to see your results. Or click on the links below to learn more about Fast-Help and see some of the more powerful things you can achieve in a very short space of time.

The Help Text tab

The Index tab

The Tasks tab