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What Is Microsoft HTML Help?

This content is no longer actively maintained. It is provided as is, for anyone who may still be using these technologies, with no warranties or claims of accuracy with regard to the most recent product version or service release.

Microsoft HTML Help is Microsoft's online Help authoring system. It is designed for use by authors or developers who create Help for software programs, multimedia titles, intranets, extranets, or the Internet. Topics in an HTML Help online Help system are authored as standard HTML files, which you can create with the editor in HTML Help Workshop or with any other HTML authoring tool, such as Microsoft® Word or Microsoft® FrontPage®.

The HTML Help Viewer uses the layout engine components of Microsoft Internet Explorer (Shdocvw.dll hosting Mshtml.dll) to display Help topics. As a result, Microsoft HTML Help topics can use the same technologies supported by Internet Explorer, such as HTML (including DHTML when the layout engine components for Internet Explorer version 4.0 or later are installed), ActiveX controls and documents, JScript applets, scripting, HTML image formats (.jpeg, .gif, .png), and even video and audio.

In This Section

Redistributing HTML Help Components
To display HTML Help, a user's computer must have both HTML Help components and Microsoft Internet Explorer layout engine components installed.
HTML Help Tools and Features
You create an HTML Help online Help system by using the tools provided with HTML Help Workshop.
What Kinds of Help Systems Can You Create?
You can use HTML Help to create two types of Help systems.
Displaying HTML Help
HTML Help supports many of the same features as Microsoft WinHelp 4.0 and uses a similar development model with a Help project file to combine topic, contents, index, image, and other source files into one compiled HTML Help file.
Working with the HTML Help ActiveX Control
Many of the features available in HTML Help are implemented through the HTML Help ActiveX control (HHCtrl.ocx).
Deploying HTML Help
You can deploy the files that make up your HTML Help online Help system in several different following ways.

Related Sections

Adding Help to Your Custom Application
Reduce the amount of time required to train and support users of your applications by adding online Help to your Microsoft® Office XP application.
Adding Help to Your Office Application
You can display Help topics to assist users of your Office applications in the following ways.
Using HTML Help to Author a Web Site
There are two ways to use HTML Help functionality when authoring Web sites.