On line helps and tutorials

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Online help is topic-oriented, procedural or reference information delivered through computer software. It is another form of user assistance. Most online help is designed to give assistance in the use of a software application or operating system, but can also be used to present information on a broad range of subjects.

For example, if the workers in a bank were not properly posting deposits to accounts, someone would write the procedure so these workers might have the correct procedure. Similarly, a sales manager might wonder which of two sites would be a more appropriate choice for a new store, so he would ask someone to study the market and write a report with the recommendations. The sales manager would distribute the report to all parties involved in making that decision. In each of these instances, the person who is writing is transferring knowledge from the person who knows to the person who needs to know.

Online help is created using help authoring tools.

A Help Authoring Tools (HAT) obtain their source text either by importing it from a file produced by another program, or by allowing the author to create the text within the tool by using an editor. File formats that can be imported vary from HAT to HAT, though they can include such formats as ASCII, HTML, OpenOffice Writer and Microsoft Word, and compiled Help formats such as Microsoft WinHelp and Microsoft Compressed HTML Help.

The output from a HAT can be either a compiled Help file in a format such as WinHelp (*.HLP) or Microsoft Compiled HTML Help (*.CHM), or noncompiled file formats such as Adobe PDF, XML, HTML or JavaHelp.