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Author Topic: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?  (Read 14850 times)

Armando

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What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« on: August 31, 2008, 07:53:00 PM »
I don't really like chm files. Probably because I'm ill equipped to deal with those -- [edit] can't annotate or bookmark anything [/edit]. Do some of you use/know special readers with light annotating features (eg : bookmarking and highlighting)?

Here's some of what I found on the DC forum about CHM editors and/or readers (not always perfectly related with my problem -- reading, bookmarking, etc, and not necessarily "complete authoring"):

   
how do you write a .chm file?

A decent CHM viewer for Windows
Help authoring
Help Authoring Gem (cool software, but only chm creator, really... absolutely not a reader... Well, I don't think so)

[edited for more clarity...]
« Last Edit: August 31, 2008, 08:51:45 PM by Armando »

Target

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Re: What do you use to read and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2008, 08:36:28 PM »
not quite sure what your issues are here, more details please...

CHM files are self contained and don't normally require any sort of reader application - there is an issue with XP where one of the MS security updates 'broke' CHM functionality - basically it blocks the opening of 'unregistered' help files. 

Google turns up a few options to register uncooperative help files (or see the <a href="http://www.vizacc.com">VA Help site</a> for CHM register)

don't know about the bookmarking functionality, I've never seen or heard of this one before...





Armando

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Re: What do you use to read and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2008, 08:49:44 PM »
Sorry if I was unclear... My problem with chm is that you can only... read them. But I like to annotate and bookmark anything I read. Hence, my desire to have a chm reader which allow bookmarking or annotating.  :)

Target

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2008, 09:13:33 PM »
I don't know that much about them, but a random check here indicates there is a favourites tab (on the left hand pane)where you can (presumably) bookmark your...err...favourites

The existence of this functionality may be dependent on the tool with which it was authored and/or the authors preferences when building the file...

you might be lucky to find any sort of annotation application - having said that I have a vague recollection of apps that will allow you to do this with web pages so that might help.

Another option would be to decompile to a collection of HTML files that you can do what you want with...

Shades

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2008, 09:35:17 PM »
Not free, but this document converter seems to be what you need.
http://www.print-driver.com/download/

Or go the freeware route:
http://www.gridinsoft.com/chm.php

Target

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2008, 09:48:42 PM »
note that, depending on the source file, decompiling (decomposition?) can generate a LOT of files...

superboyac

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2008, 11:35:07 PM »
Armando, I just ran across the same issue this week!  I'm reading a very long chm book and I can't figure out a way to bookmark my spot.  I just write it down (or keep it in my mind).  But yes, please anyone, if there's a way to do this, let us know!

Armando

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2008, 12:15:02 AM »
Thanks for the answers.

I haven't got much time to look at that today.

In any case, if I want a cheapish solution, it really seems like I'll have to decompile and recompile the chm files -- as target and shades suggested (using the GridinSoft CHM Decoder, for instance).

There doesn't seem to be many utilities that do annotations and bookmarking for chm documents. I found only one that does that (which is already pretty good, I guess...), and maybe a bit more :

UltraChm ($29.95 ... But it seems that one could use the unregistered version -- with its reminder window to register -- for a while. Using the unregistered version doesn't seem to be legal, but there's no protection scheme : it 's really up to the user to register after trying it for a little while.)

Screenshot - 2008-09-02 , 00_20_58.jpg

Screenshot - 2008-09-02 , 01_00_14.jpg


I've installed it and it's basic. Still, it does what it's supposed to do quite nicely. Here's my miniminimini review ;).

The most interesting features:

- Make note with highlight on the current selected words (really : only highlighting, no real written "annotations" features)
- Changed the highlight color for note
- Erase all note in the current page (No undo! Careful...)

- Zoom in current font size
- Zoom out current font size
(could be convenient in certain cases)

- Bookmark current page for the next time to read

- If you want to print current page, your can preview it first
- Print current page

- Save current page to a *.mht file or a *.html file
- Extract current CHM ebook to html files in specify directry
(could be useful...)

- Read with fullscreen



There might be other solutions, but haven't found anything satisfying yet.


Of course, there are interesting converters like :


- Windows CHM to Word 2008 ($38.95 ...  :( )
- CHM To PDF Converter (28 eur for the Basic verision... :( )

[EDIT]And BTW : shades Universal Document Converter seems like a nice software! Just a bit too expensive for me at the moment. ($69 US)[/EDIT]

Will have to look at those, even if they're expensive... I'd really like the Word format to read and annotate.


And there are also... VERY expensive solutions, not at all for me because it's waaaaaayyyyy beyond what I need, and overkill for that simple task :

- Help & Manual

  ;D
« Last Edit: September 02, 2008, 12:28:15 AM by Armando »

Armando

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2008, 12:21:50 AM »
There might be a market to exploit here... a very good chm reader, with nice annotating capabilities, zoom in-out, bookmarks, etc. Acrobat style, if you wish.  :)

Something like UltraCHM, but more sophisticated.

Armando

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2008, 12:26:42 AM »
Oups... double post!  :-[

Target

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2008, 02:07:25 AM »
I've never needed this sort of functionality so I've never really taken that much notice, but...

look for some browser plugins - I don't know what you use, but i'm pretty sure there are firefox plugins that will allow you to annotate a web page

mwang

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2008, 02:29:13 AM »
Yes, there is a Firefox extension that enables you to read chm files: CHM Reader. But I'm afraid it's basic, and for bookmarking, highlighting, and annotation you'll need to use other extensions and/or Firefox's own bookmark system. (I'm guessing here, I don't use the extension. I've only two chm files on my system.)

tslim

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2008, 09:45:47 AM »
Hi Armando,
What a great recommendation :Thmbsup:, I like this UltraCHM a lot. :-*

I have about 30 technical reference books, half in PDF format, half in CHM format.
What I intend to do (a dream for years never come true) is to combine all the 30 books into 1 big CHM for super fast search. PDF search speed is no way close to the CHM's. But in order to combine the books I need to first convert all those PDF books to CHM. If I can have them converted I can then use ABC Amber CHM Merger - a freeware which can merge CHM files quite well.

My problem is I can't find a good PDF to CHM converter. :(

The best PDF to CHM converter I can find is PowerCHM. But its latest version still has some bug and I have no way to contact the author. (I send about half a dozen emails to the author throughout a year and got no reply), I think it is a dead product by now...

If I can find a good PDF to CHM converter, then I sure will get this UltraCHM. Making note in a CHM is always what I intend to do.

urlwolf

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2008, 10:23:53 AM »
I think KDE has a tool that does all this. It's called oKular. With KDE4 coming to windows it may be a good solution.

Armando

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2008, 01:33:43 PM »
I've never needed this sort of functionality so I've never really taken that much notice, but...

look for some browser plugins - I don't know what you use, but i'm pretty sure there are firefox plugins that will allow you to annotate a web page

Yes, there is a Firefox extension that enables you to read chm files: CHM Reader. But I'm afraid it's basic, and for bookmarking, highlighting, and annotation you'll need to use other extensions and/or Firefox's own bookmark system. (I'm guessing here, I don't use the extension. I've only two chm files on my system.)

Yeah... Might have a look at that too. When I'll have more time. Maybe somebody already uses a similar solution on a day to day basis ?

Hi Armando,
What a great recommendation :Thmbsup:, I like this UltraCHM a lot. :-*

I have about 30 technical reference books, half in PDF format, half in CHM format.
What I intend to do (a dream for years never come true) is to combine all the 30 books into 1 big CHM for super fast search. PDF search speed is no way close to the CHM's. But in order to combine the books I need to first convert all those PDF books to CHM. If I can have them converted I can then use ABC Amber CHM Merger - a freeware which can merge CHM files quite well.

My problem is I can't find a good PDF to CHM converter. :(

The best PDF to CHM converter I can find is PowerCHM. But its latest version still has some bug and I have no way to contact the author. (I send about half a dozen emails to the author throughout a year and got no reply), I think it is a dead product by now...

If I can find a good PDF to CHM converter, then I sure will get this UltraCHM. Making note in a CHM is always what I intend to do.

You could always try to convert to something else (like RTF) and then back to CHM with what's already available (eg : the word to CHM and CHM to word converter link above). Could be a bit tedious though. The only all in one solutions out there seems Help & Manual, for those rich people among us, or those who deal with CHM manipulation for their job, etc.

I think KDE has a tool that does all this. It's called oKular. With KDE4 coming to windows it may be a good solution.

Interesting. Switching to KDE just to gain chm reading and annotating features might be a bit overkill, but I'll keep an eye open on KDE 4 as it might be a good wm to test anyway.  :)

Armando

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2008, 01:40:48 PM »
tslim, here's what it says on the CHM To WORD page :

*  Create Microsoft Word Document From CHM Files Windows CHM  to HTML's greatest strength. As you know, Windows CHM To WORD is designed to convert .chm file to word

* Recompile Help projects: an added benefit for developers and serious users. Windows CHM To WORD provides not just the ability to generate more flexible HTML document storage, but also allows you to generate a completely recompile Help project, complete with all text, formatting, jumps, graphics, keywords, secondary windows and more, exactly as the original author intended them to appear.


Convert CHM To HTML: In act, Windows CHM To WORD is Windows CHM To HTML's upgrade version. It means you will get both Windows CHM To HTML & Windows CHM To  WORD after purchase Windows CHM To WORD only.

That means that you could transfert all your CHM files to a big word document, Convert them to OpenOffice format (example) and then from there to pdf.

Of course chm to word is a bit expensive, depending on how much you'll use it in the futre... $38

tslim

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2008, 02:58:43 PM »
tslim, here's what it says on the CHM To WORD page :

*  Create Microsoft Word Document From CHM Files Windows CHM  to HTML's greatest strength. As you know, Windows CHM To WORD is designed to convert .chm file to word

* Recompile Help projects: an added benefit for developers and serious users. Windows CHM To WORD provides not just the ability to generate more flexible HTML document storage, but also allows you to generate a completely recompile Help project, complete with all text, formatting, jumps, graphics, keywords, secondary windows and more, exactly as the original author intended them to appear.


Convert CHM To HTML: In act, Windows CHM To WORD is Windows CHM To HTML's upgrade version. It means you will get both Windows CHM To HTML & Windows CHM To  WORD after purchase Windows CHM To WORD only.

That means that you could transfert all your CHM files to a big word document, Convert them to OpenOffice format (example) and then from there to pdf.

Of course chm to word is a bit expensive, depending on how much you'll use it in the futre... $38

???
Please, I am talking about combining several CHM and PDF books into 1 big CHM... not PDF.

Armando

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2008, 03:10:29 PM »
Sorry I got mixed up as I was hurrying up. What I had in mind at first (before getting mixed up) was :

CHM and PDF documents --> WORD (RTF) --> CHM

http://ypgsoft.com/word2chm/index.htm
But this one is even more expensive.

PPLandry

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2008, 02:55:14 PM »
@ armando

What if SQLNotes could automatically decompile CHM files and create an ouline of items with the CHM content... You'd get viewing, annotation, bookmarking and search. Would that be a good ( or perfect ) solution for you?

Eventually, the reversed process could be performed (i.e. compiling)
Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present -- Albert Camus -- www.InfoQube.biz

Armando

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2008, 05:08:38 PM »
What if SQLNotes could automatically decompile CHM files and create an ouline of items with the CHM content... You'd get viewing, annotation, bookmarking and search.

... and more!

Wow.

It would be a very interesting thing to try... And it might be yet another compelling feature... not only for me. Superboyac seemed interested too...??
 
PS : I'd be tempted to put everything in there : pdfs, docs, etc. At the same time, I'm afraid that my DB would become too big... Harder to do quick backups when a DB is huge -- unless you use Delta backup technology, which I don't. So right now "my organizational system" keeps SQLNotes and big documents separate. That's also because I use farr to quickly launch stuff -- programs, of course, but also documents, ebooks, etc. And I'm facing some dilemmas, because searching has become a tad more complex -- I have to make sure I search my sqlnotes database everytime I'm looking for something, because farr won't search into it, of course, and X1 neither. Archivarius will, partly, but I don't use it as often... Anyway.  :))

PPS : ...Even if cool, not an "essential" feature... there are other things I'd like to see in SQLNotes first.

tslim

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2008, 12:38:40 AM »
What if SQLNotes could automatically decompile CHM files and create an ouline of items with the CHM content... You'd get viewing, annotation, bookmarking and search.

... and more!

Wow.

It would be a very interesting thing to try... And it might be yet another compelling feature... not only for me. Superboyac seemed interested too...??

IMO, Importing material like CHM or emails into a note taker's database is too good a feature to be true.
The problem is not only decompile/extract, the bigger challenge is how to reconstruct/outline the material in the note taker program itself. For example, if a note taker program can decompile a CHM then recompile/reconstruct it exactly or very close to the original layout, that feature alone could be sold as an application.

Anyway, besides Evernote, I am also using a Chinese made note taker program CyberArticle, it supports import of CHM and emails from Outlook. But I don't use those features, you may want to try it to see how well those feature actually work.


PPLandry

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2008, 09:10:46 AM »
CHM Editor is free today on GAOTD. The editor seems OK, but lacks table editing tools (you can edit the HTML source). I have not tried it much though. It does decompile on "file open" and recompile on "file save", which can be a long process. I also got an access violations in the 5 min. I used it

[edit]I can't seem to be able to add content. Just edit existing content[/edit]
Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present -- Albert Camus -- www.InfoQube.biz
« Last Edit: September 30, 2008, 09:14:46 AM by PPLandry »

cranioscopical

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Re: What do you use to bookmark and annotate your .chm files?
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2008, 10:20:50 AM »
Thanks for the heads up and the report, Pierre.

Both useful pieces of information  :Thmbsup: