Offline, in the form of an .HLP or .CHM file is also great because users can access the content without the need for a network connection.
The following freeware applications do a credible job of helping you create Windows help files for distribution with your software. Several use a common set of files to create BOTH the online and help files options.
What Does Gary Beene Use?
Despite giving accolades to the programs above and despite acknowledging that many users prefer a local Help file, I have decided to use online Help files for all my freeware and commercial applications. I manually create my web pages using the NoteTab Pro text editor because I like the control manual editing gives me over my pages.
I'm trying to keep an open mind about creating help files for distribution with my applications, but so far I keep turning to the web. I think the deciding factor for me is that the Help file (web pages) can be kept current for all users and there will be not local, out-of-date help files around to confuse my users.
If you have any suggestions or corrections, please let me know.