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Posted 12 Dec 2012

Generate .chm based documentation of your project using SandCastle tool

, 12 Dec 2012
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.Chm based documentation generator for .net projects

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Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What is Sandcastle tool 
  3. Installing the sandcastle tool 
  4. Generate XML documentation of your project 
  5. Create New Project In Sandcastle GUI
  6. Add document resource in project 
  7. Build Your sandcastle project
  8. Generated .chm help file for your project 



After completing development of  product, we need to give the final delivery. We also need to give the collection of documents related to application features, documentation of code etc. .Chm based documentation are always have been the good choice. User can navigate from one sections to other section easily, just be clicking on links.  He/She also able to search any particular word in the file. There are different tool available in the market that can generate the .chm based documentation easily from your project or compiled assembly. I find the Sandcastle best. because its free and developed by Microsoft itself and provide lots of functionality.

What is Sandcastle tool

This is the tool created by Microsoft and freely available on Sandcastle produces accurate, MSDN style, comprehensive documentation by reflecting over the source assemblies and optionally integrating XML Documentation Comments. It generate the .chm file based documentation for you project.

Installing the sandcastle tool

First download sandcastle tool from and Sand Castle help file Builder from
  1. Install the Sandcastle tool
  2. Unzip and SHFBGuidedInstaller_1940 file and click on SandcastleInstaller.exe, It will install the basic component used by sandcastle tool
  3. Go to InstallResources folder with in folder you have extracted. 
  4. Install the SandcastleHelpFileBuilder_1940.msi
  5. It will install the SandCastle help file builder gui tool in C:\Program Files\EWSoftware\Sandcastle Help File Builder
  6. You have now every thing ready 


Generate XML documentation of your project 

 Now you need to Generate the xml based documentation for your project
This is very simple, follow the below steps
  1. Right Click on your project select property
  2. Click Build=>Check the XML documentation file
  3. Save the project
  4. Build your project, and you will find XML documentation file with in your bin folder.
  5. Close the solution



Create New Project In Sandcastle GUI

  1. Go to C:\Program Files\EWSoftware\Sandcastle Help File Builder and click on SandcastleBuilderGUI.exe 
  2. Click on File and then  New Project 
  3. Give your project a name and save it on any  desired location(When you create the new project, it will ask you the name and location to save the project)
  4. You have your project ready.  


Add document resource in project


  1. Right Click on document resource
  2. Click on add document resource
  3. Navigate to your project bin folder(visual studio project's bin folder)
  4. Select your project's dll file and XML file 

  1. Click On open and the will add these files under document resource 
  2. Select Projects basic properties like Header and footer text for you .chm help file
  3. Modify the help title, CopyrightText, CopyRightHref, FeedbackEmail Address and there many other properties you can set as your need 

Build Your sandcastle project project

  1. Now Press ctrl+shift+B to build your project
  2. It will take little time to build the project. 

Generated .chm help file for your project  

  1. When it will finished build
  2. You need to navigate to the folder where you  have saved your sandcastle project.
  3. Navigate to help folder
  4. Click on help file
  5. You  have your chm based documentation ready.



So you have been walkthrough this article and find out that how we can generate the documentation of our product easily with the help of SandCastle tool. Try it, it will save your lots of time, required to generate the documetation.


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


About the Author

Vijay Tanwar
Software Developer (Senior) Nagarro Softwares
India India
I am vijay tanwar and i am a software engineer with passion of programming. I love to programming in c#, I love to warp up more and more things in few lines of code. my favirote languages are c# and javascript and both are fully object oriended. I always like to become the .net Architect.

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionCHM shows blank on other machines Pin
Member 42919067-Nov-17 0:32
memberMember 42919067-Nov-17 0:32 
QuestionGenerate chm from database table Pin
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memberMember 1077877227-Apr-14 8:41 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
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