Customize Help Viewer

Help Viewer Window and Navigation Pane

Here you can determine the looks and features available to the user of your help system as made available by the MS help viewer. 


Window with navigation pane, topic pane, and button bar

When checked uses the standard tri-pane window.

Open with navigation pane closed

When checked opens with navigation pane closed.

Auto sync

When checked: the current topic changes automatically sync contents and index.

Automatically show/hide navigation pane

When checked: the Navigation pane is automatically hidden when a user clicks outside of the HTML Help Viewer. This allows the user to see more of the screen when working in a software program. When the user clicks inside the help topic, the Navigation pane is reopened.

Don't Display Toolbar

When checked: don't display a toolbar

Save user defined window position after first use

When checked: after initial creation, user controls window size/position


Absence or presence of the contents tab and index tab are determined by the settings Project Options - whether or not a corresponding .hhc or .hhk is specified.

Include Search Tab

A compiled help file can include a Search tab that allows a user to search through every word in a help file to find a match. For example, if a user does a full-text search on the word "index," every topic that contains the word "index" will be listed.

You can decrease the time it takes for a full-text search by including a full-text search stop list in your project. Any words in the stop list are omitted from the search. These are usually commonly occurring words, such as "the" or "and" that a user is unlikely to search for.

Advanced Search

Advanced full-text search allows a user to search using boolean, wildcard, and nested expressions. A user can also limit the search to previous results, match similar words, or search topic titles only. When advanced full-text search is enabled, the Search tab in the Help Viewer is enhanced.

Include Favorites Tab

Adding a Favorites tab allows a user to create a personalized list of favorite help topics. This list is saved so it will appear each time the help file is opened. To see an example of Help Favorites, click the Favorites tab in this help file.


Using the checboxes you can determine which buttons will appear on the Help Viewer Toolbar

Help Viewer Toolbar Options menu

Opens a menu list that contains Home, Show, Back, Stop, Refresh, Print, Search Highlight On/Off, and Internet Options commands. All buttons that you add to your help windows will be listed on this menu. This enables accessibility shortcut keys for each command. The Internet Options and Search Highlight On/Off commands are only available on the Options menu.

Extra Buttons

The below page boxes can be filled either with a relative address home.htm) or website address (http://...).

Home Page

If you specify a Home Page, an extra button appears on the toolbar as a 'base' location the user can jump to. 

Default Topic

The Default Topic page is very important. It is the page that the viewer shows when no page was specified when opening or the specified page can't be found.

Extra Buttons - Jump pages

Support and Frequently Asked Questions are examples of the good use you can make of the extra two buttons optionally available with HTML Help.


Selecting pages on your website has the advantage that the user always has access to the latest info, which is useful in case of pages like the FAQ. Warning: this only works with web based help, not from the Help Viewer, so don't do this if you also need the latter.

Using the Help Viewer to display topics