WinHelp 4.0

Use the Microsoft Help Workshop to create Winhelp files. The Microsoft Help Workshop includes a Help Authoring Guide. The Help Authoring Guide (Hcw.hlp) is a graphical Help file that contains much of the information you must have to author a robust Help system.

Choosing Help Features

WinHelp systems can have some or all of the following features:

  • A contents page that provides a hierarchical view of the topics in your Help system.
  • An index, based on keywords you provide, that guides a user to specific information.
  • Full-text search capabilities that allow users to search for information in Help based on specific words and phrases.
  • Text with multiple fonts, font sizes, and colors.
  • Graphics, including bitmaps with multiple resolutions.
  • Macros that automate or extend the operation of the Help system.
  • Hot spots — mouse-sensitive areas you create to give users jumps that link topics; pop-up windows that display additional text; and macro commands that you add to the Help system.
  • Segmented hypergraphics: graphics with one or more hot spots.
  • Secondary windows.
  • Customizable menus.
  • Graphics in Windows metafile format.
  • .DLLs.

Planning Access to Online Help

In addition to creating a WinHelp file that contains useful information, you need to provide a means for users of your application to access Help. There are three ways to deliver Help:

  • A Help menu — a menu that appears on the main menu bar of your application.
  • Context-sensitive Help — Help that appears when a user presses F1 (or another key that you specify) while a particular object, control, or menu option is selected.
  • "What's This" Help — Help that appears as a brief pop-up tip when a user calls for help on a particular object or control.

Planning a Help Menu

A Help menu typically contains commands that provide access to the topics in your Help system. WinHelp 4.0 features the Help Finder window, which is a single dialog box providing access to contents, index, and full-text searching.

It is strongly recommended to have a single command on your Help menu that opens the Help Finder window. Beyond that, you can place additional commands on the Help menu that provide system information, or copyright and version information about your application.

You can call the Help Finder window programmatically using the WinHelp function with the HELP FINDER parameter.

See Also

Programming HTML Help Features | Adding Context Sensitivity to WinHelp | Implementing "What's This?" WinHelp | Programming WinHelp Features | HTML Help | Creating Graphical Help | Creating .DBF-Style Help