We live in exciting times, especially
those of us who work with Help files on Windows
operating systems. Microsoft is in the midst
of a transition between its older Help file
format, WinHelp, and its Help file format of
the future, HTML Help.
HTML Help Files
HTML Help is a newer format that
Microsoft now uses as its standard Help file
format. Figure 7.1 shows an example of an HTML
Help file displayed on a user's screen.
HTML Help files have a chm extension. In order
to display HTML Help files on a user's
system, the user's system must be set
up properly with the correct Registry entries
and support files.
FIGURE 7.1 An HTML Help screen as seen by
an end user.
We discuss the creation of HTML
Help files in this chapter under the section
entitled "Creating HTML Help" as the
WinHelp is Microsoft's
older Help file format. Figure 7.2 shows an
example of an HTML Help file as displayed on
a user's screen.
WinHelp files have an hlp extension.
In order to display WinHelp files on a user's
system, the WinHelp engine, Winhlp32.exe, must
reside on the user's system.
FIGURE 7.2 A WinHelp screen as seen by an end user.
In order to create WinHelp files,
a developer must know how to use Microsoft's
Help Compiler program, hc.exe, to create compiled
.hlp files. Before compiling the .hlp file,
the developer must create one or more special
.rtf-format files containing specific tags and
formatting, as well as a text file with extension
.hpj, that serves as a header file or the Help
By all appearances, Microsoft intends that WinHelp files fade
from the scene.