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How to: Customize Dynamic Help 

You can change the number and type of links that appear in the Dynamic Help window to make it easier to find information. The Dynamic Help window provides links to information found in local Help based on the portion of the integrated development environment (IDE) that currently has focus. Typically, the links that appear are related to the current task you are trying to accomplish or the current portion of the IDE that you are using. The topics more likely to be useful to you are listed first.

NoteNote

Help filters do not affect the Dynamic Help window. The Dynamic Help window automatically filters topics based on your actions within the IDE. In addition, the Dynamic Help window does not display links to information found on MSDN Online or on Codezone Community Web sites; it only displays links to topics found in local Help.

For example, you can:

  • Add or remove topic categories, or link groups.

  • Sort topic categories.

  • Add or remove topic types.

  • Specify the context that the Dynamic Help window uses to display links.

  • Change the number of links displayed for each topic category.

NoteNote

The options available in dialog boxes, and the names and locations of menu commands you see, might differ from what is described in Help depending on your active settings or edition. This Help page was written with General Development Settings in mind. To change your settings, choose Import and Export Settings on the Tools menu. For more information, see Visual Studio Settings.

Display the Dynamic Help window

To display the Dynamic Help window

  1. On the View menu, choose Other Windows and then choose Command Window.

  2. Type Help.DynamicHelp and press ENTER.

    —or—

    On the Help menu, choose Dynamic Help.

Customize topic categories

You can add or remove topic categories, such as Training and Miscellaneous, from the Dynamic Help window. Categories are displayed only if there are topics that correspond to the category and the current IDE context. The categories included in the default documentation set are Help, Samples, and Getting Started.

To add or remove topic categories

  1. On the Tools menu, choose Options.

  2. In the Options dialog box, choose Environment.

  3. Under Environment, choose Help and then choose Dynamic Help.

  4. In the Categories list, select or clear the categories that are listed to add or remove them from the Dynamic Help window.

  5. Choose OK.

You can change the order in which the categories appear in the Dynamic Help window.

To sort topic categories

  1. On the Tools menu, choose Options.

  2. In the Options dialog box, choose Environment.

  3. Under Environment, choose Help and then choose Dynamic Help.

  4. In the Categories list, select the category you intend to move and choose Move Up or Move Down.

    Category descriptions:

    Actions

    Lists links to wizards, macros, commands, and other tools that launch when you select the link.

    Training

    Lists links to topics from the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Training documentation set.

    Help

    Lists links to topics from the MSDN documentation sets.

    Samples

    Links to topics that demonstrate the use of .NET technologies.

    Getting Started

    Lists links to topics that are designed to help you quickly become productive using Visual Studio.

    Miscellaneous

    Lists links to topics that do not fit into one of the above categories.

In addition, you can specify the total number of links that are displayed within each category. The links are displayed according to weighted relevance. The topics more likely to be useful to you are listed first, so if you limit the number of links displayed, you should still get the most relevant topics. You can display more links if you want to be able to quickly scan a greater number of topics related to your work or if your screen resolution and window placement allows you to see more links at a time.

To change the number of links displayed for each topic category

  1. On the Tools menu, choose Options.

  2. In the Options dialog box, choose Environment.

  3. Under Environment, choose Help and then choose Dynamic Help.

  4. Select the Limit number of links per category check box and enter a number in the adjacent text box.

Customize topic types displayed

Within categories, you can include or exclude several different topic types, such as Article and Orientation. For example, if you want to see only links to language reference topics in the Dynamic Help window, exclude all types except Syntax.

To include or exclude topic types

  1. On the Tools menu, choose Options.

  2. In the Options dialog box, choose Environment.

  3. Under Environment, choose Help and then choose Dynamic Help.

  4. In the Topic types list, select or clear the types listed to include or exclude them from the links appearing in the Dynamic Help window.

    Topic type descriptions:

    Article

    Provides in-depth information about conceptual subjects including: concept overviews, technical backgrounders, white papers, and best practices.

    Procedure

    Step-by-step guidance for performing specific tasks.

    Orientation

    Summaries that help you find the help you need in Visual Studio documentation.

    Reference

    Information about non-syntactical elements, including guides to user interface elements, help on error messages, and glossary topics.

    Sample

    Descriptions of samples, many of which contain complete source code files you can compile, build, and/or run.

    Syntax

    Descriptions of syntactical elements including objects, methods, events, properties, functions, statements, and expressions.

Specify the context used to determine the topics to include

You can also specify the context of the IDE that the Dynamic Help window uses to determine the scope of topics to display. This option can limit the number of topics displayed.

To specify the type of IDE context to use

  1. On the Tools menu, choose Options.

  2. In the Options dialog box, choose Environment.

  3. Under Environment, choose Help and then choose Dynamic Help.

  4. In Show links for, select the context you want the Dynamic Help window to display topics for.

    Context descriptions:

    Selection only

    Limits the list to topics associated with the user interface element that is selected currently.

    Active UI elements

    Limits the list to topics associated with any user interface element that is open.

    Show all links

    Displays any topics that might be associated with the current state of the IDE.

See Also

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