Helpify, the Omni Help Emitter

by William Van Hecke on October 2, 2008

Hello, friends. One of my jobs here at Omni is creating our documentation, including onscreen help in the Apple Help Book format. Over the years I have been building a Python tool that turns specially-formatted OmniOutliner 3 files into proper help books, which can then be dropped into an app. This is pretty useful for “single-sourcing” our help and manuals. If you, too, would like to author your help in OmniOutliner, with automatic formatting, indexing, and navigation, you may want to try it out.


The included outline acts as documentation and as a starting template. If you have any feedback, or you’d like to help improve my decidedly un-engineer-like code, please let me know at helpify at omni group dot com.

Update: Version 1.1, uploaded October 31, 2008, includes code cleanup, a company web site variable, and the ability to use Helpify as a module for other Python scripts. Many thanks go to Matteo Rattotti of Shiny Frog for his feedback and patience.

Update: Version 1.2, uploaded November 18, 2008, includes a bit more cleanup and much better handling of Unicode throughout the source outline. Thanks to Markus Müller of MindNode for his feedback and patience.

Update: Version 1.5 was uploaded December 21, 2009. See the new blog post for details!