What is the best way to have version control when creating complex help files with new updates and versions coming out quarterly or so?

How does one best go about versioning the Help file?

Information regarding both internal and external to end users would be beneficial. To control the versions in-house and also let users know about different versions as it gets updated with new releases added to software.

  • 3
    Do you want users to be able to see the versions & changes, or is this only for internal use?
    – bendur
    Apr 28, 2011 at 20:06
  • Agree with @Ben - what is the reason for the versioning? The answer is going to be very different based on that. Apr 28, 2011 at 21:02
  • "complex help files" = that could be a bigger problem than versioning ;o) One option would be to take the software method where you branch at each release version. Branch the help files with the code base.
    – DA01
    Apr 29, 2011 at 15:01

4 Answers 4


I was thinking about this, and I am by no means an expert on this, but Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) can tackle this problem very well.

  • It has version control, you can roll back edits, view what edits were made and by whom.

  • You can collaborate in real time.

  • Docs are "in the cloud" and can be accessed from anywhere.

Altogether, it seems like a great solution.


Madcap Flare can be used in conjunction with Subversion and you can tag for each release.

To me, that's more useful for in-house use. Not quite sure how to address the external users.


We use Team Foundation Server at my company for all of our project documents and check-in version to that. You could probably use any of the of the applications that are used for version control.

This includes help files and other related non code files. (images etc)


The documentation person here has been advocating a system called MadCap. RoboHelp is another similar thing. On the low end, one could use Subversion to store versions. MadCap is specific to help systems, and SVN is is generic to all files.

  • 1
    MadCap doesn't have any sort of version control. You need to have an actual version control system set up to version its files). RoboHelp does have version control in the form of a free add-on, but it works better with a third-party version control system as well. Apr 28, 2011 at 21:09

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