Using a software tool can sometimes feel like finding your way in a foreign country.
Guesswork in such situations might end up creating more problems than solving them, which can be a big turn-off for software users.
If you are worried about your software being abandoned by users and a subsequent fall in subscriptions, we have a simple solution for you – a software documentation tool!
By deploying the right software documentation tool, you can equip users with straightforward, step-by-step instructions and other training materials to help them make optimal use of your product.
While the market has a plethora of software documentation tools, how do you find your way out and pick the one tool that you really need?
After rigorous research, we have compiled a list of the 15 best software documentation tools. We combed through dozens of websites to get you the top tools and make the process of decision-making a tad bit easier!
What is Software Documentation?
Software documentation is an online information resource that provides complete information about your software – its features, functionality, operations, and use cases. It is a highly searchable and meticulously structured document that helps users find all the information they need in just a few clicks.
The documentation comprises step-by-step instructions demonstrated using written text, flowcharts, diagrams, and videos. It also provides troubleshooting tips to help users solve problems on their own and put your software product to maximum use.
Remarkable Benefits of Software Documentation
Creating software documentation is a powerful strategy that SaaS businesses should adopt to keep their customers happy and internal teams super-efficient. There are scores of benefits that employing software documentation can shower upon your business.
Let’s look at the most remarkable ones:
Reduces Support Tickets
Software documentation designed for customers can bring down your support tickets to a large extent. As a highly searchable document, it gives customers instant access to all the help they need every time they are stuck with your software and looking for solutions.
The sheer convenience of solving problems on their own right when they arise prevents customers from raising tickets for minor issues. This reduces the inflow of tickets reaching your internal support team.
Facilitates Onboarding of New Developers
Onboarding new developers and familiarizing them with your software development process is a cumbersome task that requires considerable time and resources. With an internal software document, you can onboard new developers to the team by providing them easy access to all the training material and technical information they need.
Software documentation guides new developers on all important aspects of your software – how it was developed, the stages it went through, and even the stakeholders involved in the process. This helps them gain a grip on your existing processes quickly.
When humans are involved in a process, errors are bound to occur. The good news is that software documentation can help you minimize the occurrence of errors, ensuring that the final output is flawless.
When every team member has access to the same information, they will be following the exact same steps given in the documentation. This not only brings consistency to how a software development process is performed but also increases accountability in teams.
Deliver In-App Help to Customers
With software documentation, you can deliver instant in-app help to customers right inside the software. Modern tools for software documentation offer an in-app help widget where you can display help articles and walk customers through how your software works.
While working with your software, customers can instantly search for suggestions and refer to the instructions. This keeps them on the right path and helps them accomplish their goals faster.
How to Choose the Right Software Documentation Tool
Choosing the right software documentation tool is an ordeal if you don’t know what to look for. However, when you have clarity on the features you should consider, you will be able to make a well-informed decision.
Here are some of the top features that your software documentation tool must have:
- Online editor – An easy-to-use editor helps you write, edit, and publish your software documentation quickly.
- Ready-to-use templates – Templates are designed to do all the heavy lifting in terms of the document’s structure and design. This means you can fully focus on the writing part.
- Customization options – The software documentation tool you choose should offer extensive customization options to help you tailor the document to your company’s branding.
- Contextual help – Your software documentation platform should be equipped with tooltips, lightboxes, and popups. These are essential tools to provide context-relevant guidance to users.
- In-app help widget – This is a crucial feature that lets you provide instant, anytime, anywhere support right inside the software.
- Built-in reports – Reports give detailed insights into how your articles are performing and what needs to be improved. Such data-driven insights can be leveraged to optimize your document’s performance.
- Robust Integrations – Any documentation tool you choose should play nicely with external ticketing, chat, survey, analytics, and other such platforms. Integrations speak volumes about a tool’s capabilities and therefore, they are a must-have.
Top 15 Software Documentation Tools You Can Consider in 2023
ProProfs Knowledge Base is an easy-to-use tool that helps you create internal and external software documentation for your developers and customers, respectively. With a range of expert-designed templates and a versatile online editor, you can get your documentation off the ground in minutes.
The tool offers an in-app help widget that helps you provide uninterrupted self-service to users right inside the software. You also get an advanced search system, granular access controls, and insightful reports that promise a delightful user experience.
- Write, edit, and publish articles easily with an online editor
- Keep your documentation on brand with CSS and white-labeling
- Use pre-designed templates to get your documentation ready in minutes
- Deploy tooltips and lightboxes to explain technical terms and concepts
Best for: User management, built-in reporting, revision history, and version control
Pricing: Starts from $30/month
Nuclino is a simple yet modern software documentation tool that lets your teams work collaboratively on projects. At its core, it is a documentation tool, however, it can also be used for project management and planning.
With an intuitive interface and power-packed features, Nuclino helps you create public and private workspaces where you can organize the content in boards and graphs, collaborate via comments, and manage different document versions.
- Drag and drop images and videos directly into your documentation
- Take full control over who can read, write, and edit articles
- Easily explore PDF files, Word docs, and Markdown files
- Visualize workflows in list, board, table, and graph views
Best for: Robust integrations, desktop and mobile apps, real-time collaboration
Pricing: Starts from $5/user/month
Whatfix is a digital adoption program that provides step-by-step guidance to users right within your software application. You can use this tool to pack your documentation in a help widget that can be placed inside the software to provide prompt self-help to users right when they need it.
There are many other ways you can deploy Whatfix to deliver contextual experiences, such as interactive popup surveys, beacons, and flows that help you tailor the journey of users from the moment they start using your tool.
- Create content effortlessly with an easy editor and loads of customization options
- Track user behavior and optimize experiences right inside the software
- Onboard users and drive task completion using Task List
- Improve task completion rates with intelligent nudges
Best for: In-app guidance, customized nudges, data-driven insights
Pricing: Contact the company for a quote
Doxygen is another software documentation tool that supports multiple languages, including C, C++, PHP, Java, and many others. This tool helps you generate output in RTF, PDF, HTML, and many other formats. Not just this, you can also create printed user manuals for users who prefer paper to digital.
Simple to set up and easy to use, Doxygen is best suited for creating developer documentation and it works seamlessly across Windows, Linux, and macOS.
- Optimize the final output using over 100 configurable options
- Search for words or strings and get the desired results
- Allows automatic cross-referencing of entities in the documentation
- Automatically detects protected and private sections
Best for: Large projects, supports multiple languages, supports external help formats
Pricing: Free tool
Notion provides a collaborative, connected workspace for your teams to build documentation faster. This software documentation system gives you full control over how your documentation looks and feels. You can customize your document just the way you want and align it with your company’s branding.
The tool comes with a drag-and-drop interface that allows even non-tech users to update pages easily. You can also link pages, set search filters, and capture all information from Slack – all under one roof.
- Upload videos directly from Loom and YouTube
- Create a table of contents to jump to the desired section quickly
- Organize your workspace with a neatly structured sidebar
- Let teams collaborate through internal comments
Best for: Real-time collaboration, project management, flexible documentation
Pricing: Starts from $8/user/month
Scribe is a step-by-step guide generator that captures your screen to document internal and external processes. A Chrome extension and desktop application, Scribe follows your actions as you use the software and takes screenshots of every step or action taken.
In a few moments, you will have your visual guide ready complete with step-by-step instructions along with their images. Scribe is a simple tool that can save your team’s precious time, so they can focus on more important tasks.
- Build documentation faster with pre-designed templates
- Enhance engagement by adding images and video files to articles
- Review, edit, and approve documents effortlessly
Best for: Medical documentation, multiple language capabilities, business process automation
Pricing: Contact the company for a quote
Dropbox Paper is a robust co-editing tool, best for teams of all sizes. You can use its ready-made templates to build and organize documentation while saving your team’s valuable time and effort. From meeting notes to product specifications, Dropbox’s versatility supports you in all your writing endeavors.
The tool also offers task management features to help you manage projects, give feedback to teams, and keep everyone on the same page.
- Connect Dropbox to your calendar and find documents right when you need them
- Back up important folders and keep a close track of changes made
- Get quick notifications every time someone leaves a comment
- Elevate document security by controlling who has access to what
Best for: Custom templates, team collaboration, team management
Pricing: Starts from $9.99/user/month
Read the Docs automates the entire documentation process right from creation to hosting. It is an open source tool that provides free hosting and helps you maintain multiple versions of your documentation. Although the tool helps you build docs for the web, you can also make them available as PDF and single-page HTML without any additional configuration.
- Build and maintain multiple versions of your software documentation
- Download your documentation as PDF or single-page HTML
- Set up a custom domain for your documentation
- Search across projects and get instant results
Best for: Free docs hosting, multiple versions, downloadable formats
Pricing: Contact the company for a quote
Another software documentation tool built for developers is Github. With features like collaborative coding, high-end security, and automation, GitHub gives your team of developers a smooth time creating and managing documentation. The tool also enables developers to keep track of changes made to the software’s code through its version control system.
With GitHub Pages, developers can convert the files in the repository into full-fledged websites in no time. The tool also offers team discussions and multi-line comments to boost collaboration.
- Contribute to projects collaboratively in an automatic environment setup
- Create a community where developers can ask and answer questions
- Rapidly search and navigate the documentation to get code information
- Get real-time updates on GitHub activity and manage them efficiently
Best for: Collaborative coding, community discussions, custom roles and permissions
Pricing: Starts from $44/user/year
Confluence is one of the oldest and best software documentation tools on the market today. Its remote-friendly workspace gives your development team a unified platform to collaborate and communicate on projects.
This documentation software allows you to keep all information well organized in the form of pages and spaces. You also get beautiful templates to start with, an advanced search system, and co-editing features to help developers work together. Confluence plays nicely with tools like Slack and Trello, driving better team collaboration and productivity.
- Create a personalized feed to track drafts and in-progress work
- Set permission settings to control access to your documentation
- Send notifications when teammates are tagged or assigned a task
- Track, compare, and revert page versions easily
Best for: Document management, project collaboration, best-practice templates
Pricing: Starts from $5.75/user/month
Bit.ai is designed to help your development team collaborate on projects and manage documentation from one single place. Suitable for individuals, teams, as well as entire organizations, this tool offers interactive templates that help you achieve a lot more in less time.
You also get a smart editor, rich integrations, and extensive customization options that promise a delightful user experience. By deploying smart widgets, you can provide users with instant self-help right inside the software.
- Mark comments and mention team members to drive collaboration
- Protect sensitive content using password controls
- Add file attachments across multiple formats such as Excel, PDF & PPT
- Gain rich engagement insights to make meaningful content updates
Best for: Document collaboration, shared workspaces, rich integrations
Pricing: Starts from $8/member/month
Apiary is an API documentation tool that encompasses a user-friendly interface and supports collaborative authoring. You can bring app developers, testers, product managers, and designers together on a unified platform where they can contribute useful insights and speed up document creation.
You can manage the roles of each user and prevent them from stepping into each others’ shoes. Additionally, you also get API blueprint templates to help you kickstart new projects with as little effort as possible.
- Customize your documentation to fit your corporate identity standards
- Build a strong team to manage multiple API projects
- Set role-based access controls for your documentation
- Control settings for API blueprints and enhance their security
Best for: API documentation, role-based access controls, team collaboration
Pricing: Contact the company for a quote
HelpDocs is another strong player in this list that is worth your attention. This software documentation program is packed with robust features that help you build, host, and publish your documentation in no time. SEO-focused templates and a custom text editor together make the process of content creation a smooth sail.
You also get loads of customization options, easy drag and drop functionality, and built-in analytics that make the overall user experience even more amazing.
- Customize every inch of your documentation using CSS
- Get accurate search results with the tool’s typo tolerant and blazing fast search system
- Drag and drop categories and save changes before the final publication
- Monitor article performance and find opportunities for improvement
Best for: Beautifully-designed templates, smart integrations, advanced permissioning
Pricing: Starts from $69/month
Tettra is best for internal software documentation as it helps bring all scattered docs into a centralized platform that’s easily accessible by teams. This tool is equipped with top-notch features, including a simple editor, expert verification, and detailed analytics.
Tettra’s Q&A format lets users ask questions and get answers directly from within the software. Furthermore, native integrations with Slack and MS Teams enable you to answer user questions right from where they are.
- Identify stale and unowned content and clean it up quickly
- Write and edit content easily with a simple editor or Google Docs
- Export Tettra content to HTML for easy backup
- Automate all manual tasks with Zapier integration
Best for: Slack and MS Teams Integration, expert verification, full-featured API
Pricing: Starts from $8.33/user/month
ClickHelp is an excellent tool that lets you create software documentation and publish it in multiple formats. You get a structured authoring environment where you can use tools like content snippets and conditional content to create a secure and organized software document. Customizing user experience is a breeze with the tool’s ready-made templates and CSS.
The tool also provides in-depth reports to gauge the effectiveness of your content and make necessary updates for a delightful user experience.
- Maintain multiple versions of your software manuals
- Migrate existing content from other tools like MS Word and HTML
- Control access to documentation with user roles and permissions
- Allow engineers and developers to work together from a single portal
Best for: Easy migration, flexible permission management, solid customer service
Pricing: Starts from $175/month
Which Software Documentation Tool Is Right for You?
Making a choice is the most challenging part of the process. You might like multiple tools or you might not like even one.
The problem augments when you have your eyes on a couple of tools, and you can’t make up your mind on which one to invest in.
There is a simple solution to this problem. First, identify what you really want.
What problems is your business trying to solve? Who is your target audience – customers or developers? Which features are your top priority?
Find answers to these questions and shortlist the tools that meet your requirements. Narrow your criteria even more. Use parameters like ease of use, pricing, and product reviews, to make the final decision.
If you need an all-inclusive tool for documentation that can be used for both developers and end-users, ProProfs Knowledge Base will work well for you. Its bespoke features, unparalleled ease of use, and competitive pricing make it perfect for any business.
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