There is one question that usually pops up among employees of many departments in small as well as large businesses nowadays: What tool is it better to use for writing software documentation? There is no single answer. Everything depends on your needs and opportunities. What they want to hear, though, when they ask this question is a kind of universal free solution that would immediately take the hassle out of writing documentation manually.
Seldom does it happen that free documentation software combines all the features you need in one tool. But, on the other hand, free doesn’t mean poor. And today, I will try to give you a concise outline of the top 10 free documentation software that can actually save the day.
10 Free Documentation Software to Help You Out
Most of us have probably encountered a situation when we must write some piece of content, whether for planning a project, for the documentation of a project, or for giving instructions to somebody. It doesn’t matter what the purpose is; writing is a part of many of our daily lives, regardless of industry or field. Thus, we have done some research and found out what free documentation software programs are leading the market today.
Heflo is a cloud-based platform that opts for the Business Process Modeling and Notation (BPMN) method in creating business documentation. It is one of the latest techniques of illustrating business processes in the form of a diagram similar to a flowchart. With Heflo, it becomes easy to create diagrams, flowcharts and to-do lists. Heflo is a trusted software with more than 10 years of experience in business. It can help you map out and automate your business processes in a breeze. As a result, it is a great solution to cut costs and improve productivity and management.
Heflo’s free plan includes BPMN notation, PDF documentation, the possibility to import and export diagrams as well as 30-day-in-app chat. The professional plan offers more advanced features, such as brand customization, editing authorization, integrations via web services, etc.
ProcessStreet is designed to help businesses keep track of their processes. The software helps you create and automate workflows, checklists, forms and standard operating procedures. ProcessStreet offers rich content and media, instant visibility, premade templates, collaboration and communication, data protection and more. With its Zapier integration, the software can connect to over 500 apps. This tool is designed to suit a number of use cases, such as employee onboarding, monthly reporting, new client setup, and building maintenance.
The software provides super simple pricing plans. There is a free plan that offers the following options: unlimited users, 5 active checklists, 5 active templates, process documentation, reporting, 1000+ integrations, and chat and email support. Other plans are more feature-rich and give you power over your workflows.
ShareX is a free and open source tool that can capture or record selected areas of your screen, automatically save screenshots to your hard disk or clipboard, and instantly upload them to an image or file hosting service and then copy the URL to your clipboard. It is easy to create software documentation with ShareX, since it supports over 80 destinations (Jira, GitHub Gist, Asure Storage, etc.). It is a lightweight free screen capture tool that may come in handy in creating images, gifs, and videos for software documentation. It can be used for snapping screenshots of applications for documentation, recording training videos, or capturing a UI bug for an issue report, etc.
GreenShot is a free screen recorder for Windows that lets you quickly create screenshots of a selected region of your screen; easily annotate, highlight or darken parts of the screenshot; export the screenshot in various ways: save to file, send to printer, copy to clipboard, attach to email, send to Office programs or upload to photo sites like Flickr or Picasa, and others. Being user-friendly and configurable, Greenshot is an efficient tool for project managers, software developers, technical writers, and testers.
Greenshot is completely free and open source!
CloudApp accelerates your business workflows by creating images and videos on the fly and securely storing them in the cloud, that can be accessible via Mac and Windows Apps and shareable on the web through unique, secure and password protected cl.ly short links. CloudApp has powerful integrations with Atlassian JIRA, Slack, Trello, Zendesk and more. CloudApp also has a simple-to-use GIF Creator feature. It is the best solution for developers, sales managers, marketers, customer support agents and designers who want to collaborate across multifunctional teams through visual communication. With CloudApp, you can see who’s viewed your content and from where and get real time notifications when your content is viewed. Its free plan is perfect for individuals who want to save time by explaining a task visually.
Shutter is an advanced open source screenshot tool available for Linux based operating systems such as Ubuntu. It allows easy annotation and markup of screenshots. You can capture nearly anything on your screen and then immediately share it with other people. Shutter has a great variety of plugins that let you add compelling effects to your screenshots.
HelpNDoc is a powerful tool for Windows that can help you create help documentation in the various formats: standard Windows CHM help files, WEB-based documentation, iPhone specific websites, printable PDF and Word documents as well as ePub and Kindle eBooks and cross platform Qt Help files. HelpNDoc is completely free for personal use and evaluation purposes. The tool is specifically designed to help technical writers, documentation specialists or software developers who need to be able to quickly and easily create online help systems as well as printed documentation.
Helpinator is one of the best help authoring tools with screenshot capture and annotation, WYSIWYG editor, styles, templates, and a built-in tutorial maker. The tool supports a number of output formats: CHM help files, manuals in PDF format, WebHelp and Printed Manuals.
Moreover, Helpinator offers built-in templates, a tutorial maker, a glossary manager, a to-do organizer, named styles, conditional compilation and more. Please note: Helpinator is free only for non-commercial use.
Dokit is an open source solution that helps create instructions and procedures in just a few clicks on all media (PC, mobile, machines) and integrates with your existing systems (CMMS, PLM, LMS). The software has a collaboration feature and built-in templates and allows you to integrate content to third-party applications through their APIs. Dokit leads you throughout the whole process from the creation to the implementation of the platform. They can help you structure your documentation, write technical content, and train your users.
StepShot Guides has a competitive edge over other free tools since it offers great simplicity and a hassle-free design. Plus, cross-platform support makes it one of most powerful software documentation tools. It is the best value-for-money solution that combines all functions you need in one tool. Creating how-to docos or software walkthroughs is a boring and time-consuming process. We provide a tool for people that allows them to complete the procedure once and receive a fairly acceptable result in minutes by minimizing the psychological impact of being sleepy when doing this boring but still important task.
Although StepShot Guides isn’t a free solution, its free trial allows you to play with the tool for an unlimited period of time. The only thing is that 14 days after you first signed up for Stepshot Guides, you won’t be able to export a guide to WordPress or PDF.
There you are! The top 10 free documentation software are available at your service. Please note that we have conducted rigorous research and selected them appropriately according to certain criteria. So, these are not just hollow words. These free documentation software are real market leaders trusted by a number of customers. You can give them a test drive and see it for yourself.