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It's Not Just Help. . .

So How Does It Work?

HTML Topics & Templates
Project File (.hhp)

Contents File (.hhc)

Merging Modular Files

Accelerating Links

Distribution & Installation

HTML Help Resources on the Web

Accelerating Links:
Cross-Referencing Options

Cross-referencing is one area where HTML Help leaps ahead of standard HTML pages. Most Web users are familiar with the in-text links of the ubiquitious <A HREF> tag and the use of a top or left-hand frame to position the user within the overall “map” of the site. HTML Help accepts all the standard HTML links, allowing the author to connect content in different parts of the same Web page, across multiple pages in the same project, across multiple HTML Help projects, and in pages located elsewhere on the World Wide Web. But HTML Help also takes these standard links and accelerates them into hyperlinkages through indexing, explicitly grouped cross-references, full-text search, and even shortcuts to other software applications.

HTML’s indexing allows users to quickly find the information by typing in the words related to the desired topic. Indexes can be single- or multi-level, and the author can add synonyms to the index list, so that users can find their information without already knowing the “correct” term. In addition, indexes can grow automatically, adding content from new modules in merged projects.

Grouped cross-references in HTML Help provide another means of access to information. These groupings can be based on the same keywords listed in the index, or they can have a separate set of classifications (ALinks), or the author can explicitly list the desired topics. Cross-references based on keywords and ALinks automatically merge the data from multiple projects.

Full-text search provides yet another means of access to the HTML Help project content. Perhaps the easiest cross-referencing mechanism to implement, full-text search lets the user locate any word, phrase, or combination of words appearing in the project. With the advanced search capabilities, the user can even create complex Boolean queries using AND, OR, NOT, and NEAR, nested as many as five levels deep.

Finally, HTML Help offers the ability to link to other applications using shortcuts. An HTML Help shortcut provides a one-click method to open another application, in a specific state, with a specific file, even at a specific dialog box. You can also help users set up their Windows machines through the Control Panel icons—and all it takes from the user is a single click of the mouse.