HelpProvider Component in VB.NET

The Windows Forms HelpProvider component is used to associate an HTML Help 1.x Help file (either a .chm file, produced with the HTML Help Workshop, or an .htm file) with your Windows application.
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The Windows Forms HelpProvider component is used to associate an HTML Help 1.x Help file (either a .chm file, produced with the HTML Help Workshop, or an .htm file) with your Windows application. 
 
Introduction
 

The Windows Forms HelpProvider component is used to associate an HTML Help 1.x Help file (either a .chm file, produced with the HTML Help Workshop, or an .htm file) with your Windows application. You can provide help in a variety of ways:
  • Provide context-sensitive Help for controls on Windows Forms.
  • Provide context-sensitive Help on a particular dialog box or specific controls on a dialog box.
  • Open a Help file to specific areas, such as the main page of a Table of Contents, the Index, or a search function.

Adding a HelpProvider component to your Windows Form allows the other controls on the form to expose the Help properties of the HelpProvider component. This enables you to provide help for the controls on your Windows Form. You can associate a Help file with the HelpProvider component using the HelpNamespace property. You specify the type of Help provided by calling SetHelpNavigator and providing a value from the HelpNavigator enumeration for the specified control. You provide the keyword or topic for Help by calling the SetHelpKeyword method.

Optionally, to associate a specific Help string with another control, use the SetHelpString method. The string that you associate with a control using this method is displayed in a pop-up window when the user presses the F1 key while the control has focus.

If HelpNamespace has not been set, you must use SetHelpString to provide the Help text. If you have set both HelpNamespace and the Help string, Help based on HelpNamespace will take precedence.

Note   You may encounter problems using the relative path when specifiying the path to the Help file in the ShowHelp method or HelpNamespace property of the HelpProvider control. As such, be sure to use the absolute file path to specify the Help file.

When it is added to a form, the HelpProvider component appears in the tray at the bottom of the Windows Forms Designer.

Help Systems in Windows Applications
 
One of the most important courtesies you, as a developer of applications, can furnish your users with is a competent Help system. This is where they will turn when they become confused or disoriented. Providing a Help system in a Windows application is easily done via the HelpProvider component.

The Windows Forms HelpProvider component is used to associate an HTML Help 1.x Help file (either a .chm file, produced with the HTML Help Workshop, or an .htm file) with your Windows application. The HelpProvider component can be used to provide context-sensitive Help for controls on Windows Forms or specific controls. Additionally, the HelpProvider component can open a Help file to specific areas, such as the main page of a table of contents, an index, or a search function. For general information about the HelpProvider component, see Introduction to the Windows Forms HelpProvider Component. For information on using the HelpProvider component to link controls to files in a Help system, see Providing Help in a Windows Application. For information on how to use the HelpProvider component to show pop-up Help on Windows Forms, see Displaying Pop-up Help. For information on using the ToolTip component to show control-specific Help, see Control Help Using ToolTips.

You can generate HTML Help 1.x files with the HTML Help Workshop. For more information on HTML Help, see the "HTML Help Workshop" or the other "HTML Help" topics in MSDN.

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