March 2019 Product Updates

It's been a big month for us at HelpDocs. We've started hiring again and already expanded the team (hey team! 👋). We've also shipped tons, as usual. And I hope you love it all as much as I do 🦄✨

New and Updated Integrations

We've shipped not one, not two, but three new integrations this month. 🎉 There's also updates to a number of our other plugins and extensions.

Collect Feedback with Doorbell

When users read your docs, it's common for them to have some feedback. We support neat li'l feedback faces so your users can leave feedback with a click.


That's great for quantitative feedback. You can see at a glance how an article's performing. But what about qualitative feedback? How do you actually improve said content?

With text feedback, that's what! We've partnered with our friends at Doorbell to create a super neat integration that lets users enter comments (and optionally their email) when they leave feedback.

On articles with feedback in the Content tab, you'll now see a button that links straight to that article in Doorbell. So any feedback you receive will be one click away from your content in the HelpDocs dashboard.

It's the deepest integration we've ever built into the HelpDocs dashboard, and I think for a worthy cause. Check it out and let us know what you think ❤️

Watch Your Visitors 👀

It's always interesting to watch how users interact with things. Why not see how they interact with your docs?!

We've built neat integrations with Hotjar and Fullstory so you can check out user activity with a few clicks.

See what they're doing in super granular detail, down to where their mouse is on the page. And use that data to improve their experience (and your docs) for the future. Just try not to be too creepy with it 🤭

Other Integrations

We've once again updated our Front plugin, this time a total UI overhaul to bring it in line with our other plugins. One super cool new addition is being able to insert links to specific headings in your articles with a single click. It's like magic ✨

That functionality's been brought to the Chrome Extension too. So you can read articles and copy links to specific headings from any tab in your browser.

Text Editor Improvements

It's been a big month for the text editor. I never realized how much work it'd be to maintain a text editor, until I saw how much goes into making the experience great.

So continuing in a spirit of constant improvement (the HelpDocs way) we've squished a bunch of bugs (the most egregious being: spacing issues, copy/pasting between table cells, getting Markdown blocks to play nice with code block syntax highlighting, and inserting images in callouts), rewritten our parsing code to make what you see more like what you get, and added some cool new features.

Warning! You're About to be Really Unhappy

When you leave a page to navigate to the content tab, we prompt you to save your work if you haven't already. That's prevented a lot of unhappy moments from accidental navigation.

We've extended this behavior to give you a warning when you close or reload the page too. Less "argh!!! 😤", more "oops 🙊".

Align However You Like

One of our most common feature requests, now realized in full technicolor. When you click an image in the text editor, along with sizing, linking, and alting it, you can now align however you please.


Paste Plain Tables

Pasting tables is always fun. Sometimes you get a beautiful formatted table, sometimes a mess of words, sometimes nothing at all.

We'll take more of the first option thanks.

Windows users will now experience far less issues pasting from Excel, which curiously doesn't support HTML table copying at all.

Other users will be able to paste as usual, with the added ability of pasting CSV or TSV formatted tables and having them automagically turned into tables 💪

Filter Articles in New Ways

You've always been able to see your full knowledge base taxonomy in the article, and search for articles with a few taps. Now we're adding a third option: filtering.


You can filter by Status(es), Author(s), and (if enabled on your account) Permission Group(s). Then get a list of all content that matches those filters. You can see at a glance who on your team is underperforming and should be fired is writing what, how access is distributed, and how much content is in the pipeline.

Stale Reasons and Better Emails

Stale is one of the most loved HelpDocs featured. I know it makes my life a hella lot easier, being able to flag out of date content and have someone on the team that knows more than me update it 😍

Knowing articles are out of date is a huge win, but wouldn't it be useful to know why those articles are out of date?

It would.

Now we have a way to add reasons to each Stale article. Then whoever updates the article (which in larger teams is almost always not the person that notices the staleness) can see at a glance what needs to be changed.

Stale reason

We've also updated our Stale email notifications. They're way more pleasant on the eyes, and include the fancy new Stale reason 👀

Smaller, but No Less Important

New Features

  • More machine translation languages. Not only do we support fabulous machine translations from and to hundreds of languages, we now support almost-as-fabulous translations between hundreds of other languages. All transparent to you as a user, and all documented here.
  • More useful contact forms. You can now see which page a user was visiting when they left a contact form, and also more info (more than none, not so hard) about the device they were using at the time.
  • Automatically send users to prettier (debatable) links. There's two link styles in HelpDocs to choose from. If you choose the Alternate Link Style (previously called "Pretty Links", then "Disable Permalinks") we'll redirect logged out users from the old style permalink to your new style alternate link, automatically.
  • formatDate helper for custom templates in Handlebars. We now send the raw article.updated_at date to your custom templates, which you can format with a helper like this: {{formatDate article.updated_at "DD.MM.YYYY"}}
  • Default user permission groups for Slack SSO. If you're using permission groups, you can now set default user groups for any user that signs up with Slack SSO.
  • Article headings always have HTML IDs. Before you had to enable a Table of Contents to be able to easily link to titles in an article. Now we always add the heading IDs for you.
  • Downloadable calendar invites for Sessions If you're living under a rock and haven't seen our new live Sessions, you should. And now you can even download a calendar invite to the very next Session in your timezone, with just a click.


  • CSV files you dowload in Stats now have a .csv extension. It was a struggle for some users to open exports from Stats, since they had no file extension. They're bona fide CSVs now, for real.
  • New look for the navigation bar in-app. We've overhauled the side navigation bar in the admin app to make it easier to switch account (if you have multiple accounts) or language (if you have multiple languages), and easier to access your profile.
  • Better automated descriptions. The descriptions we auto-generate for your articles (that you can override) sometimes had extra periods that made no sense, especially around HTML elements. We don't over-periodize now.
  • Disconnect and reconnect your Slack connection. You used to have to get in touch with us to make changes to your Slack connection. Now it's 100% self-serve.
  • 404 page for permissioning errors. When a user hits a page they don't have access to (naughty!) they're shown a 404 page and prompted to log in.
  • Better empty state placeholders. Animals, animals, everywhere! You'll see a bunch more friendly faces around the app with our swanky new placeholder images.
  • Conflicting author message looks more like the stale message. We had a pretty ugly message warning you (helpfully) if another user had recently updated an article. Now it's more our style.
  • Table of Contents works with all heading levels. Before we'd only show h3 and below in the TOC. Now we show all the levels, so if you import content from elsewhere and use incorrect headings of your choice, it won't break your TOC.
  • Email notification when you're over your user limits. When you reach your limits (we all reach ours sometimes 😏) we'll send you a helpful reminder email. To remind you you've reached your user limits.
  • More descriptive failed login messages. When your login fails we used to show a pretty generic auth error message. Now it's a slightly less generic "you need to login" message, depending on the circumstances. You still need to log in though.
  • Lighthouse supports Gorgias. Lighthouse plays nicely with a number of live chat providers, and now with our friends over at Gorgias too (hi friends! 👋).


  • Layout fix to HTML and Markdown language code blocks. When you chose HTML or Markdown as the language of a code block, they'd have weird formatting before them. Now they don't.
  • Non-instant search had issues with some characters. If you're using our old-style non-instant search, there was an issue with certain characters (notably forward slashes) causing 404 pages to appear erroneously. Now your search results appear as they should.
  • Italic elements written as is caused issues in the migrators and text editor parsers. We use em as the default tag for italic elements, but some other vendors use i. We've fixed an issue where these imported elements would cause issues in the text editor.
  • Article title was cut off in text editor in Firefox. Our poor Firefox users experienced a particularly egregious bug where you could only view about a third of the article title in the text editor. Now it's available in all its glory.
  • Clips could be lost on resize. There was an issue where if you resized your browser while creating a new Clip, the clip would be lost. Now we try much harder not to lose your data. Clip, clip, away! ✂️
  • Fix Slack SSO signup. Some Slack teams were having trouble with new users signing in with SSO. Now all team members should be treated equally. Because we're egalitarian like that.
  • Custom 404 pages work again. You can set a custom 404 page by entering 404 as the from field in Settings > Redirects. Ironically this functionality was not found.
  • User limit displays even when you exceed it. Before we didn't show you how many users you had on your account once you'd exceeded the limit, which was terrible for capacity planning.
  • Reset password page could sometimes break. On accounts with custom scripts, sometimes there would be issues displaying the reset password page. Now you can reset with reckless abandon.
  • Front plugin struggled in Sarari After we shipped the new Front plugin a small number of users experienced issues in some browsers, notably Safari (bad Safari 😠). All under control now.
  • Stale reasons would be lost on save. When you used the option to remain stale on save in the article editor, and had a custom Stale reason, your custom reason would be overwritten. We respect you more than that, so now your custom reason will remain intact.