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Custom Context Files and Displaying Help Topics 

Visual Studio 2005

Visual Studio ships with a standard context file named context.xml. This file provides connections to the Dynamic Help window, the Policy files associated with your project, and the help topic you want to display to the development team under a given condition. To make links to your topics display in the Dynamic Help window, you create your own .xml file based on the context.xml file. This file is located in the following directory: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\IDE\HTML\XMLLinks\1033.

The value of 1033 represents the language code ID (LCID).

Your new context file is the mechanism that links your policy files and custom help topic to the Visual Studio Dynamic Help window.

NoteNote

If you find the standard context.xml file by clicking the Start button and using Search, you will see two files with the same name but in different locations. You must place your custom context file in the folder referenced above.

NoteNote

If you are writing help in a language with a different language code, replace '1033' in the path with the appropriate language code ID.

The context file you create for use with Visual Studio Templates and Policy (formerly Enterprise Templates) should be relatively simple. Although it contains other information, its organization focuses on two particular nodes: LinkGroup and Context. The LinkGroup node allows your topics to display in a different categories in the Dynamic Help Window. The Context node contains keywords that will be associated with keywords in the .vspolicy file; these keywords create a help context and identify your topic.

NoteNote

If you want to provide custom help through F1 help as well as the Dynamic Help window, your topics for F1 help must be in the help link group and cannot be in a custom link group. See How to: Provide F1 Help for Visual Studio Templates and Policy for more information.

Custom context files must be copied to two locations:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\IDE\HTML\XMLLinks\1033

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Help 8\HTML\XMLLinks\1033

NoteNote

If you are writing help in a language with a different language code, replace '1033' in the above path with the appropriate language code ID.

NoteNote

The \Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Help 8 directory does not contain the HTML\XMLLinks\1033 folders by default. Add these folders manually.

Context File Tags

The following table explains the different items in the custom context file.

Context File Tag Description

LinkGroup

Group of defining attributes that specify a category of topics in the Visual Studio Dynamic Help window. Users can choose which categories of topics to display in the Dynamic Help window by clicking the Visual Studio Tools menu and selecting Options. Under Environment, click Dynamic Help to select or clear categories in the right pane.

ID

Attribute that identifies the new link group that is used in the LItem nodes of the file to identify in which group a specific URL should be listed.

Title

Attribute that identifies the name of the group as you want it to appear in the Dynamic Help window.

Priority

Attribute that contains a value that defines the relative display priority of the group compared to other groups in the Dynamic Help window.

Glyph

Icon that displays to the left of the topic-group name. A glyph is required. Several glyphs are listed in the context.xml file noted above or you can create your own.

Static

Attribute indicating a glyph is not animated. For more information see Glyph above.

Context

Container for the keywords (KItem) that correspond to identical entries in the ContextKeyword nodes within Element nodes in the policy file.

Keywords

Container for names that cause a new topic to display.

KItem

Name/value pair that corresponds to the ContextKeyword in the policy file and causes a new topic to display.

Links

Container for LItems and LinkGroup nodes described below.

LItem

Location of the help topic. This can be any URL or a UNC.

LinkGroup

Container for the ID of the link group in which to display the help topic in the Dynamic Help window, followed by an applicable descriptive text string. The string is the text that displays in the Dynamic Help window.

Name

Attribute containing a KItem value. For more information see KItem.

URL

Attribute containing the location of your custom help topic. For more information, see LItem.

For more information on creating a custom context file, see How to: Display Help Topics for Visual Studio Templates and Policy in the Dynamic Help Window.

See Also

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