Programming Tools:prgtools

Basics about Windows Help Workshops Foundation

Creation of online help files is accomplished under Windows by what is called a "Help Workshop". This is a program which manages all files which are part of a help project. It creates an online help file from source files. Different versions of the Workshop exist for creating RTF and HTML-based online help file. These version work very similar and differ mainly in the file format of the source files and supplementary files used when creating an online help file.

HTML-based help files are the de-facto standard on today's Windows operating systems. The corresponding help compiler, the Microsoft HTML Help Workshop, can be download from the Microsoft website (, see the Download Center). HLP files created with older versions of the Help Workshop are no longer supported on newer versions of the Windows operating system.

Differences between Windows help systems
Source code format RTF HTML
File extension for compiled online help .HLP .CHM
File extension for help project file .HPJ .HHP
File extension for table of contents file .CNT .HHC
File extension for index in HLP file .HHK
File extension for full text search .FTS in CHM file

Both Workshops HCW.EXE and HHW.EXE have comprehensive online help which explains in detail the usage of the programs and how to create an online help file. At this point, therefore, only some tips are given for getting started with a Help Workshop along with some considerations about planning a help system.


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