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Messages from Sponsors -- August 2011

by Tom Johnson on Aug 12, 2011
categories: advertiser messages

Messages from SponsorsThe following are brief messages from my sponsors for August.

Two New Announcements from MadCap Software

Sylvan Learning Uses MadCap Flare to Provide Web-based Help for Employees at 900-Plus Tutoring Centers

"We really liked the efficiency of an authoring tool that would let us publish to both print and the Web. And after getting so many great references for Flare from the tech writer community, we decided it was the right software for our needs," explains Melissa Nelson, Sylvan technical documentation specialist.

In discussing plans to integrate the documentation with their training application, Ms. Nelson adds, "That's the exciting thing with Flare. You don't need two tools, and that means a seamless experience for both our technical communications team and our users."

Read the full case study.

Your Free 30-Day Trial Now Includes Gold Level Telephone Support

We believe everybody deserves great product support and should never settle for less.  By combining trial products with trial support, MadCap Software provides you with a complete real-world experience before you buy.

Learn more about this new program.

Adobe Technical Communication Suite 3.5

Join Tom Aldous, Adobe Technical Communication Evangelist, for an interactive eSeminar, to find out how you can:

  • Expand your outreach by delivering content to multiple channels and devices:ltidevice, Multipurpose technical communication faster and cheaper than ever before.
  • With the all-new Adobe Technical Communication Suite 3.5, now you can author, enrich, review, publish and repurpose your technical content with a single integrated toolkit Documentum, SDL Trisoft, Vasont Systems, and others. Publish content in print or as WebHelp, XML, HTML, or PDF files. Deliver it to smartphones, eBook readers, and tablets (via the EPUB route) with the versatile, single-click publishing capabilities of Adobe RoboHelp® 9.
  • Minimize localization time and costs: Smoothly repurpose content with the single-sourcing capabilities of Adobe FrameMaker® 10, as well as tight integration between FrameMaker and RoboHelp and leading content management systems like Microsoft SharePoint, EMC

DATE: 16th August (Tuesday)
TIME: 10.00 AM to 11.00 AM PST
Register for the webinar here.

F1 Contextual Help from MindTouch

MindTouch F1 for Contextual Help allows developers of web applications and properties to add a fully integrated help system to their Web apps. This F1-style help system creates a rich social help experience for end users, removes the need for expensive engineering resources in development and maintenance, and provides product managers and marketers with a wealth of data and insights about the needs and challenges of their customers.

MindTouch Contextual Help for your Web Applications provides:

  • On-point help articles, driven by your MindTouch Social Knowledge Base, to your users when they need them the most
  • A proven method to reduce support costs by bringing your self-serve support docs straight to your users, right within your app
  • Greater engagement around your documentation to create happier, more loyal customers
  • Single source sales and marketing automation rules
  • A differentiator for vendors in hotly contested markets - prospects make product support and documentation a deciding factor in making purchases - this F1-type capability is your newest competitive differentiator

MindTouch is revolutionizing in-product help for the cloud-computing era. Help content doesn't have to live in PDF's and paper-based manuals published to the Web – MindTouch is the best way to quickly implement a proven and effective help system right within your apps.

Request a FREE Trial of MindTouch TCS Today!

ScreenSteps — Ridiculously Simple Software Documentation

There are a lot of powerful, complex software documentation products on the market. They seem to offer every option and feature imaginable, except for one - simplicity. But sometimes simple and fast is exactly what you need. ScreenSteps specializes in speed and simplicity.

ScreenSteps simplifies the documentation process in several ways:

  1. ScreenSteps focuses on a task-based approach to documentation.
  2. ScreenSteps integrates screen capture and image editing right into the documentation process. As you capture images your task-based document is created for you. All the tools you need to edit and annotate images are included. ScreenSteps even has tools that make replacing and updating screenshots simple and painless.
  3. ScreenSteps lets you publish to a wide variety of formats including Word, HTML, PDF, MindTouch, Confluence, Google Sites, Zendesk, WordPress and Joomla.

So, if you project calls for complexity, extensive planning, lengthy review processes and complicated requirements ScreenSteps probably isn't the product for you. But if speed, clarity and simplicity are what matter most then download a free trial of ScreenSteps and see how it can simplify the documentation process. At just $79.95, it is well within the budget of any technical writer.

Learn more about how ScreenSteps makes software documentation ridiculously simple.

Dr.Explain — create help documentation for your software screens and web pages automatically

Dr.Explain is a single-source help authoring tool with an innovative approach to creating help documentation much quicker than with other systems.

The program parses a live application and automatically produces screenshots of its windows along with a sequence of explanatory callouts for each control.

The process is accurate and fully automated, so you can quickly annotate multiple screens & graphical interface elements to illustrate your software help documentation.
Dr.Explain produces documentation in HTML (on-line manuals), CHM (MS Windows® help files), RTF, and PDF formats from a single source.

Watch short live demo at and download free trial version from

Scriptorium Publishing offers content strategy for technical communication

If you are responsible for technical content, you face a bewildering array of possibilities—XML-based authoring, traditional help authoring tools, wikis, customer-generated content, and much more. In a content strategy analysis, we review your existing content lifecycle, identify requirements, and then recommend a solution that fits your organizational constraints.

Our analysis document typically includes a summary of your current process, an evaluation of workflow options, a recommended solution, a business case, and a roadmap for implementation. For more information, visit or contact us at [email protected].

Getting your ducks in a row with Congree

Writing can be a tough gig – getting your ducks in a row for a client or even a potential client can mean hours of polishing and ensuring that what you've done is in conformity with what they want. It's a slog. But Congree can change that: it can take automatic authoring assistance beyond simply “correcting” text, and into the world of automatically customizing text to your clients' individual needs.

Choose a style guide, whether it's an officially sanctioned one like the Chicago Manual of Style, one of Congree's internally developed guides like our Simplified English for Translation guide, or customize one of your own. Then, Congree will apply your style guide (along with comprehensive grammar, spelling, punctuation, hyphenation, and abbreviation checks) to your text as you type or after you're done.

Save yourself hours of work and tons of headaches, and free yourself to do more paying jobs with the confidence of Congree's revolutionary automation and customization technology. Download a free trial today!

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the tech comm, be sure to subscribe to email updates below. You can also learn more about me or contact me. Finally, note that the opinions I express on my blog are my own points of view, not that of my employer.