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Hacking the Help Files (Views: 102)


Problem/Question/Abstract:

Hacking the Help Files

Answer:

I often get tired of help files with broken links, topics that are hard to get to and difficult navigation. However, there's a great way you can use the arrow keys (along with SHIFT+CTRL) to navigate through the help files.

To be able to navigate through the help files using CTRL+SHIFT+arrow key (left or right), add the following lines to WIN.INI:

[Windows Help]
Help Author=1

This will enabled "Help Author Mode" on Windows. What it means is that you'll have special privileges on help files, such as:

Topic numbers: Title bar text is replaced by unique topic numbers that identify each topic's position in the Help file.
Easier navigation: You can move to the following or preceding topic by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+RIGHT ARROW or CTRL+SHIFT+LEFT ARROW. To move to the beginning or end of your Help file, press CTRL+SHIFT+HOME or CTRL+SHIFT+END.
Information about topics A Topic Information command appears when you click a topic by using your right mouse button. Clicking this command displays a window with several info reagrding that topic.
Information about hotspots An Ask On Hotspots command appears when you click a topic by using your right mouse button.

This information is documented in the Microsoft Help Workshop 4.0 (HCW.EXE) help file. If you have installed Delphi, you probably have this this tool installed in the Help\MSTools dir under the Delphi installation directory. You'll can also gather lots of information about a help file by using the Report... command on the file menu of Help Workshop.

MS Help Workshop has helped me gather lots of info on other help files, and even find out topics the author probably want to keep as a secret, if that is possible. For example, you can save all the text of a help file to a plain text file, or save a listing of all the topics of a help file to a text file.

"Help Author Mode" can also be enabled by selecting "Help Author" from the File menu of MS Help workshop.

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