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Creating and Using HTML Help in MFC Applications

, 24 Apr 2013
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Managing HTML Help from scratch
HTMLHelpByNguyenThanhPhuong/html_help_6.gif

Introduction

Last time I tried to search the Internet to get a complete guide of using HTML in an MFC application. I realized that there are many topics mentioning HTML Help but none of them has the same purpose with my desired work, so after working with HTML Help Workshop and reading documents, I finally decided to write a topic about working with HTML help from scratch.

In this presentation, I'll take you through 9 steps in 2 main stages to integrate an HTML help file with an MFC application. The 2 main stages are: 

  1. Create HTML Help files. 
  2. Link HTML file to your own MFC application. 

Stage 1: Create *.chm (Compiled Help Module) file

First of all, you need to have HTML Help Workshop installed, it can be downloaded from: Microsoft HTML Help Downloads

Edit your own *.chm file (Compiled Help Module). You can start from the beginning, but I would rather suggest you modifying an existing .chm file that has the same structure with your prospective .chm file. Do the following steps: 

Step 1. Open HTML Help Workshop. 

Step 2. Click File->Decompile. 

Step 3. Choose destination folder where you want to store files after decompiling. You should create a new folder to store files because many files are to be be generated after the decompilation. 

Select the existing .chm file.

HTMLHelpByNguyenThanhPhuong/html_help_1.gif

In this example, I use PowerDVD.chm file because it has the same help structure with my application.

Step 4. Using an HTML Editor, Microsoft Frontpage for example, to edit the content of the HTML file(s) that has/have been extracted by HTML Help Workshop to the content that you want to have. This step is like the process of editing a website.

Step 5. Import and Compile your own help

  • Click File->New->Project. One dialog appears, select Next.
  • Assign a name for the project. Click Next.
  • Check all checkboxes you see in the new dialog. Click Next.
  • In the next three dialogs, the New Project Wizards will ask you to locate the table of contents, the Help index and the HTML files. You simply choose the appropriate files that HTML Help Workshop has extracted in the folder in Step 3. Click Next each time you've answered one dialog.
  • Click File->Compile. 

That is all you need to do to create your own .chm file, now forward to the 2nd stage.

Stage 2: Aggregate Help file to your MFC Application

Step 6. Create a registry key:

  • Open command window, type regedit
  • Browse to KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\HTMLHelp
  • Create a new string value as follows:
    • Value name is your HTML help file name, for example: SampleHelp.chm
      • Value data is the path where the .chm file locates, for example: C:\TestHelp\MyHelp\ (remember to put one back-slash at the end).

HTMLHelpByNguyenThanhPhuong/html_help_5.gif

Step 7. Create an MFC application.

Step 8. Import htmlhelp.lib to your application.

  • Right click on the Resource Files->Add Files to Folder.
  • Select htmlhelp.lib.

HTMLHelpByNguyenThanhPhuong/html_help_3.gif

Step 9. Call Help

  • Create a button.
  • Add this line in the TestHelpDlg.cpp.
    #include "htmlhelp.h"
  • Assign an event to call the Help
    void CTestHelpDlg::OnHelp() 
    {
      HtmlHelp(this->m_hWnd, "HelpSample.chm", HH_DISPLAY_TOPIC, NULL);
    }

That's your work done!

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Nguyen Thanh Phuong
Web Developer
Vietnam Vietnam
I am Vietnamese. I am a researcher in Computer Science and a freelance translator in German and Vietnamese.
Willing to share experience!
Follow on   LinkedIn

Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionLayout RTL PinmemberMinoo Khazeni30-Oct-11 0:54 
GeneralDisplaying picture in HTML .chm Pinmembersharon26-Jul-09 16:53 
GeneralRe: Displaying picture in HTML .chm Pinmemberjoso29-Apr-13 22:22 
GeneralCLR PinmemberNicolas29293-May-09 7:03 
QuestionAre you able to catch "What's This" htmlhelp requests in a CFormView? PinmemberMember 345539813-Nov-08 8:03 
GeneralHi,i can't down demo project Pinmembersomnuc13-Oct-08 7:10 
GeneralModifications Pinmemberasalvat9-Apr-08 7:49 
QuestionDisplaying a perticular topic in .chm file. Pinmemberbankey101017-Oct-07 23:44 
GeneralProblem with HtmlHelp Pinmemberdandany12-May-07 4:33 
GeneralRe: Problem with HtmlHelp PinmemberAlfonsoFuentes14-Jun-08 8:13 
GeneralRegistry entry PinmemberPhil Sobolik12-Feb-07 9:51 
GeneralThank you PinmemberBig Mouse18-Dec-06 17:58 
QuestionVisual C++ 2005 Upgrade? PinmemberDrTom226-Nov-06 9:45 
Generalcalling html help Pinmemberh_rw14-Jun-06 23:06 
GeneralRe: calling html help PinmemberNguyen Thanh Phuong15-Jun-06 16:20 
The second parameter of HtmlHelp function is not the path of *.chm file but the Value name of a registry key for the Value data which is the real path.
You must create a registry key before calling the HtmlHelp, refer to Step 6 for more details.
Best regards,
GeneralNice! Pinmemberthompsons2-Apr-06 10:24 
Generaldebug version Pinmemberv2.013-Mar-06 23:16 
GeneralRe: debug version PinmemberNguyen Thanh Phuong14-Mar-06 16:15 
GeneralRe: debug version Pinmemberv2.014-Mar-06 21:08 

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