Creating a help file for my program

Posted on 1999-06-26
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-05-02
I was woundering hou to create a help file and intergate into my programs.  I am using VB6.

Could someone help me please?

Question by:mitchks
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Accepted Solution

viktornet earned 200 total points
ID: 1519955
first you gotta get a Help File creator program.... here is one that as far I think is the best to use.... it's called Help Scribble...



then you can include it in your folder and use ShellExecute() or Shell() to launch it...

another thing you can do is use Windows' supplie Win API... such as WinHelp() you can call topics by context, and other stuff...

Good Luck!!

LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 1519956
If you create a standard .HLP file and put it's name in the project proerties you can access it via <F1> instead of having to use ShellExecute or Shell.

Also, if you have visual studio the Help Creators Workshop is part of the distribution. It's not the most user friendly solution, but what do you want for *free*?

RobotHelp7 is a very good 3rd party (read $$$) product.

Anyway with any of the help programs you're going to have to pre-think how you want your help to behave. Each form and control has a HelpContextID property. This is a numeric that you set to reference a specific help topic in the .HLP file. Don't give each and every control a HelpContextID. Start out only by giving them to the forms. This will prevent your help from displaying the "Help topic not found, call the vendor" message when it can't find the topics.

When you use the HCW it has a "map" command. The topics in the help file source (a .RTF file) are *alpha*. The HelpContextID in your programs are *numeric*. The "map" section associates an alpha topic in the help with the numeric value in your program. Without this, everything just comes up to the opening page.

.RTF formatting for the help is similar in approach to editing .HTML. You have little codes for everything but instead of using <> like HTML does, the RTF uses {}. But the concept is the same. You put down a formatting code and the text obeys that code until the end of the format block.

In HTML you would code:

<i>This is italic</i>

In RTF your code would be:

{\i This is italic}

You can embed .BMP files (256 color ones look best) for screen snap shots. There is also a HotSpot editor that allows you to put a hot zone on your screen snaps that link to a topic just like a hotlink would. This allows your help file to display a screen snap of your form and when the user clicks on a button or field, detailed help for that item appears. Pretty neat.

You want to have your screens farily stable before working on the help. You can replace the .BMP files with new versions and the next time you run the HCW it'll update, but your verbage will be all off.

I have sample .HLP source files on my web page along with the project source. Look around. They form an easy starting point.



Expert Comment

ID: 1519957
good choice vektor


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