HelpProvider Component Overview (Windows Forms)

The Windows Forms HelpProvider component is used to associate an HTML Help 1.x Help file (either a .chm file, produced with the HTML Help Workshop, or an .htm file) with your Windows application. You can provide help in a variety of ways:

  • Provide context-sensitive Help for controls on Windows Forms.

  • Provide context-sensitive Help on a particular dialog box or specific controls on a dialog box.

  • Open a Help file to specific areas, such as the main page of a Table of Contents, the Index, or a search function.

Using the Help Provider

Adding a HelpProvider component to your Windows Form allows the other controls on the form to expose the Help properties of the HelpProvider component. This enables you to provide help for the controls on your Windows Form. You can associate a Help file with the HelpProvider component using the HelpNamespace property. You specify the type of Help provided by calling SetHelpNavigator and providing a value from the HelpNavigator enumeration for the specified control. You provide the keyword or topic for Help by calling the SetHelpKeyword method.

Optionally, to associate a specific Help string with another control, use the SetHelpString method. The string that you associate with a control using this method is displayed in a pop-up window when the user presses the F1 key while the control has focus.

If HelpNamespace has not been set, you must use SetHelpString to provide the Help text. If you have set both HelpNamespace and the Help string, Help based on HelpNamespace will take precedence.


You may encounter problems using the relative path when specifying the path to the Help file in the ShowHelp method or HelpNamespace property of the HelpProvider control. As such, be sure to use the absolute file path to specify the Help file.

See also