How to Integrate a CHM File with Your Application

After you have created an HTML Help (CHM) file, you will probably want to integrate it with your application and provide context-sensitive Help. Below are code examples that demonstrate how to connect a CHM help file with a programming language or IDE.

Working with a CHM File from a .NET Application

In the .NET environment we use built-in support for the HTML Help (CHM) format.

Call a help topic by Context Id:

Help.ShowHelp(this, "c:\my_help_file.chm", HelpNavigator.TopicId, "20");

Show the Table of Contents:

Help.ShowHelp(this, "c:\my_help_file.chm", HelpNavigator.TableOfContents, "");

Show the Keyword Index:

Help.ShowHelp(this, "c:\my_help_file.chm", HelpNavigator.Index, "");

Working with a CHM File from a VBA Application

Note that in a VBA application we use HTML Help API calls directly.

Declare the Following Constants:

Public Const HH_DISPLAY_TOPIC = &H0
Public Const HH_DISPLAY_TOC = &H1
Public Const HH_DISPLAY_INDEX = &H2
Public Const HH_HELP_CONTEXT = &HF

Declare the HTMLHelp() API function:

Declare Function HTMLHelp Lib "hhctrl.ocx" Alias "HtmlHelpA" (ByVal hwndCaller As Long,
ByVal pszFile As String, ByVal uCommand As Long, ByVal dwData As Long) As Long

Call a help topic by Context Id:

HTMLHelp 0, MyHelpFile, HH_HELP_CONTEXT, MyTopicContextID

Show the Table of Contents:

HTMLHelp 0, MyHelpFile, HH_DISPLAY_TOC, 0

Working with a CHM File from a Delphi Application

In a Delphi application we use built-in support for the HTML Help (CHM) format.

Define the CHM filename:

Application.HelpFile := ExtractFilePath(Application.ExeName) + 'MyHelpFile.chm';

Call a help topic by Context Id:

Application.HelpContext(IDH_TOPIC);

Show the Table of Content:

HtmlHelp(0, Application.HelpFile, HH_DISPLAY_TOC, 0);

Show the keyword Index:

HtmlHelp(0, Application.HelpFile, HH_DISPLAY_INDEX, DWORD(PWideChar('My Test Keyword')));

Download a CHM Creation Tool

After watching the video which explains how you can create a CHM file with a help authoring tool, you may want to download the application whose basic features we have demonstrated. If you need more information on creating and using HTML Help (CHM) files, you can also visit the related links in the right box.

Help file maker main window
Click on the screenshot to view it in full size.
Details Value
Filename HelpSmithSetup.exe
File size 40 MB
Platform Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP
System
requirements
1 GHz processor, 512MB RAM, 150MB free disk space