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Important This document may not represent best practices for current development, links to downloads and other resources may no longer be valid. Current recommended version can be found here.

Help Systems in Windows Forms Applications 

One of the most important courtesies you, as a developer of applications, can furnish your users with is a competent Help system. This is where they will turn when they become confused or disoriented. Providing a Help system in a Windows-based application is easily done by using the HelpProvider Component (Windows Forms).

Different Types of Help

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-based application. The HelpProvider component can be used to provide context-sensitive Help for controls on Windows Forms or specific controls. Additionally, the HelpProvider component can open a Help file to specific areas, such as the main page of a table of contents, an index, or a search function. For general information about the HelpProvider component, see HelpProvider Component Overview (Windows Forms). For information on how to use the HelpProvider component to show pop-up Help on Windows Forms, see How to: Display Pop-up Help. For information on using the ToolTip component to show control-specific Help, see Control Help Using ToolTips.

You can generate HTML Help 1.x files with the HTML Help Workshop. For more information on HTML Help, see the "HTML Help Workshop" or the other "HTML Help" topics in MSDN.

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