help my faqs look neat
September 22, 2009 6:44 PM   Subscribe

Whats is/are the best programs to create simple online tutorials (w/ captioned pics, mainly)? A CHM maker or something else? What do you use?

What I'd prefer is a program like screenbook maker which seems to make the process very easy ("put your picture here, caption it here, press button: churns out a postable self-contained ebook with toc and everything). (Except that screenbook maker isnt quite there yet). DO you know of a program like that that works well and would let me insert a background pic/template on each page? I wouldnt mind paying so long as its not exorbitant (under $100).

I'm setting up basic tech instructions for relatives (having gotten sick of answering the same basic questions a hundred times).

I'm more a hardware guy, not a documentation guy. I was about to use nvu or kompozer and just slap together some marked-up screenshots along with some text. But it occurred to me that this is an opportunity to learn about some simple documentation procedures.

Other than a chm maker, I also considered using a paid or free pdf maker and posting pdfs instead of html. What do you think?

Or should I just do straight html in dreamweaver/nvu using bulleted lists and the TOC generator?

The goal here is to turn these "faqs" out as rapidly as possible; the closer it is to feeling like a wordprocessor, while getting me TOC and links to pages, the better.

posted by jak68 to Technology (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Doing screencasts might be an even easier way to do some of this stuff. Instead of having to take the screenshots and write text, you can just show the steps and narrate as you go. If this is primarily intended for friends and relatives, you can save some time on the editing by being less picky about small mistakes. All you need is some software that can take a screencast (there are a zillion for free or cheap, and Mac OS 10.6 can do it out of the box) and a microphone.

What OS are you on? Windows?
posted by zachlipton at 6:57 PM on September 22, 2009

Response by poster: ya, winXP. I also have a vista laptop if that helps.
posted by jak68 at 6:57 PM on September 22, 2009

Response by poster: I considered screencasts, but I've already typed up a lot of text and gathered screenshots, so at this point i'd like to throw them together rapidly. I might do screencasts later on I suppose. I started one but editing it to get it just right might take me more work than text/pics route for now.

Also while this is intended for friends/relatives for now, I'd like the option to point less well known people to it too, later on, should the need arise.
posted by jak68 at 7:00 PM on September 22, 2009

Jing is free and very good. Captivate is good too, but not cheap unless you can get an educational discount. Wink is free and good.
posted by idb at 6:40 AM on September 23, 2009

Response by poster: for the record, what worked well for me here was snagit 9 to mark up images coupled with straightforward html pages via dreamweaver.
posted by jak68 at 10:25 AM on October 8, 2009

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