Excel Software began shipping QuickHelp 2.0 for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. QuickHelp is a development tool for creating and deploying application help on Windows 95 through XP, Mac OS 9, Mac OS X and Linux. QuickHelp is unique in its ability to author, maintain and test application help in a single tabbed window running on your platform of choice, then deploy the help system to virtually any computer. Help information resides in an XML file distributed with a royalty-free, native viewer executable for each platform.

QuickHelp 2.0 adds configurable actions, tables, parameters, default options, precompiled indexes and other performance enhancements making it 2 to 3 times faster than previous versions. Configurable actions include running an executable, presenting a popup message, linking to different topics based on platform, running COM methods, sending Apple Events, running a compiled AppleScript or presenting QuickTime movies. In addition to traditional tables with bordered rows and columns, tables can present tabular data without borders or various styles of itemized lists providing infinite formatting possibilities. Developers can parameterize topics, actions, tables and other aspects of the help system when installing or running their application. For example, a single help file can provide customized help that is tailored to different platforms or product editions.

For the end user, the QuickHelp Viewer supports an expandable table of contents, web browser like navigation, an index with automatic search field and word searches across topics. Topics are presented with text, images, tables, user initiated actions and hypertext links between topics plus context sensitive help from any application.

For the developer, the QuickHelp Builder provides a highly productive authoring environment that combines the Contents and Index panels from the Viewer edition with the Edit and General panels for editing the help system. The Edit panel is used to add, format, edit, delete or move topics within the Contents tree. Each topic has a field for defining index words and a context sensitive identifier string that links it to an application menu, button or dialog. Topics or portions of a topic can be conditionally visible based on the current platform or other variables. The General panel has buttons to save, open, close, verify, import or export help topics. Developers can manage a library of images, actions, tables and default options that customize QuickHelp for authoring and deployment. QuickHelp handles administrative activities like maintaining links between topics, reordering topics and locating bad links, missing index words or unused and missing references for images, tables or actions.

QuickHelp Windows, QuickHelp MacOSX and QuickHelp Linux are $195 each or all three platforms for $295. Each platform includes a Builder and Viewer executable, QuickHelp Viewer distribution license, a printed manual, online help and PDF manual on CD. Site licensing information, product descriptions and online ordering are available at www.excelsoftware.com. Established in 1985, Excel Software provides development tools to thousands of Windows, Macintosh and Linux developers worldwide.