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Visual Basic (Classic) FAQ

Help on help

VB Projects & help files - get going. by sunaj
Posted: 19 Sep 01 (Edited 26 Jun 02)

This is not really a FAQ, but more a collection of good links to get you going adding help to your vb project.

There are 2 types of help projects that you can use with VB:
WinHelp and HTMLhelp.

Winhelp is the 'old' helpfiles. The help files are based on rtf documents which can be made in e.g. Word.
You need a compiler to generate the help project (.hlp). The microsoft help compiler can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/softlib/mslfiles/hcwsetup.exe.

I find the projects a little cumbersome to generate due to the rtf format and the convention with having all the 'tags' as footnotes in the rft document. On the other hand when the document is generated it is easy to incorporate in your VB project, because it can be called via the common dialog:
Const HelpCNT = &HB
Private Sub mnuHelp_Click()
    CommonDialog1.HelpFile = "c:\winnt\help\jetsql35.hlp"
    CommonDialog1.HelpCommand = HelpCNT Or cdlHelpSetContents
End Sub

HTMLhelp is the newer helpfile type, based on HTML documents and in my opion much nicer for the user. On the other hand is is not easily integrated with VB, but once you get the hang of it, it works perfectly.

HTML help projects can be made with the HTML helpdesk, which can be downloaded from http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/htmlhelp/html/hwMicrosoftHTMLHelpDownloads.asp

The quick (and not very efficient) way to call your HTMLhelp project (.chm) from VB:
Get the windowes directory by using the FileSystemObject (or Environ("windir"))
dHelp = Shell(MyWinDir & "\hh.exe c:\MyHelp.chm", vbMaximizedFocus)

To integrate the HTML help project (.chm) in your VB project the proper way, follow the instrutions at http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q242/4/33.ASP

How to link html help files: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/htmlhelp/html/vsconhtLink2.asp
This link won't show properly, so copy the url into your browser.

Good luck

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