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Creating HTML Help - The Index File

The Index file (*.hhk) provides an Index of keywords the user of the compiled Help file can view in order to navigate the HTML Help file's topics (see Figure 7.23).

The Index of an HTML Help file as seen by the end user.
FIGURE 7.23 The Index of an HTML Help file as seen by the end user.

Strictly speaking, you don't need an Index file. An Index file is really a specialized HTML file that uses a specific HTML format, that of the unnumbered list of OBJECTS (with standard HTML tags such as <UL>…</UL>, <LI>…</LI>, and <OBJECT>…/OBJECT>). Listing 7.4 provides a sample of an Index file.


<LI> <OBJECT type="text/sitemap">
<param name="Name" value="Benefits">
<param name="Name" value="Medical Insurance">
<param name="Local" value="html\Medicalinsurancestatus.htm">
<LI> <OBJECT type="text/sitemap">
<param name="Name" value="Divorced">
<param name="Name" value="Marital Status">
<param name="Local" value="html\maritalstatus.htm">
<LI> <OBJECT type="text/sitemap">
<param name="Name" value="Female">
<param name="Name" value="Gender of Employee">
<param name="Local" value="html\Gender.htm">
<LI> <OBJECT type="text/sitemap">
<param name="Name" value="Gender">
<param name="Name" value="Gender of Employee">
<param name="Local" value="html\Gender.htm">

Each OBJECT of type "text/sitemap" in the unnumbered HTML list represents a topic file already included in the project with one or more keywords pointing to it. For example, in the listing we see that the Help topic furnished by the file MedicalInsuranceStatus.htm has two keywords that point to it, "Benefits" and "Medical Insurance."

You can add a reference to an Index file of your project by using the Files tab on the Project Options dialog box (available from the Change Project Options icon on the main screen of the HTML Help Workshop).

You can automatically create and maintain an Index file using the Index tab on the main project screen.


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