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How to create context-sensitive HTML Help in an MFC application

This article was previously published under Q191118
This article describes how to create context-sensitive HTML Help in an MFCapplication.

This is actually the second step of a two-part process. Step one describeshow to prepare a compiled help file for context-sensitive help. Foradditional information, please see the following article in the MicrosoftKnowledge Base:
189453 How To Prepare HTML Help Files for Context-Sensitive Help
This article assumes that the MFC Visual C++ application has been set up touse HTML Help. For additional information, please see the following articlein the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
186907 How To Set Up Visual C++ to Use the HTML Help API
This article assumes that the project was created using the MFC AppWizard(exe). You must select the context-sensitive help option in step 4 for SDIand MDI tracks in the MFC AppWizard (exe).
Perform the following steps in your MFC Visual C++ Application:
  1. Add an array of ID pairs to your application to map control IDs to help context IDs. The last pair should be 0's. For example:
          static const DWORD aMenuHelpIDs[] =      {         ID_FILE_NEW,  IDH_FILE_NEW ,         ID_FILE_OPEN, IDH_FILE_OPEN ,         ID_FILE_SAVE, IDH_FILE_SAVE ,         ID_EDIT_CUT,  IDH_EDIT_CUT,         ID_EDIT_COPY, IDH_EDIT_COPY,         ID_EDIT_PASTE, IDH_EDIT_PASTE,         ID_FILE_PRINT, IDH_FILE_PRINT,         ID_APP_ABOUT,  IDH_APP_ABOUT,         ID_FILE_PRINT_PREVIEW, IDH_FILE_PRINT_PREVIEW,         0,    0      };
    In the previous example, each control ID is followed by its corresponding help ID.
  2. Underneath the array of ID pairs, declare a variable that will determine the total number of ID pairs. For example:
          // Subtract 1 from the total number of ID pairs to account      // for the NULL pair at the end of the array.      DWORD numHelpIDs = (sizeof(aMenuHelpIDs)/sizeof(DWORD))/2 - 1
  3. Override the CWinApp::Winhelp method to call the HTML Help API instead of WinHelp. For example:
          void CTestApp::WinHelp( DWORD dwData, UINT nCmd )      {      DWORD i;      switch (nCmd)      {      case HELP_CONTEXT:         // If it is a help context command, search for the         // control ID in the array.         for (i= 0; i < numHelpIDs*2; i+=2)         {           if (aMenuHelpIDs[i] == LOWORD (dwData) )           {             i++;  // pass the help context id to HTMLHelp             HtmlHelp(m_pMainWnd->m_hWnd,"sample.chm",                HH_HELP_CONTEXT,aMenuHelpIDs[i]);             return;           }         }         // If the control ID cannot be found,         // display the default topic.         if (i == numHelpIDs*2)         HtmlHelp(m_pMainWnd->m_hWnd,"sample.chm",HH_DISPLAY_TOPIC,0);         break;         }      }
    Note In the previous example, Sample.chm must be in the same folder as the MFC application project file because no path is specified.
  4. Include a prototype for the WinHelp function as follows:
          virtual void WinHelp( DWORD dwData, UINT nCmd = HELP_CONTEXT );
  5. Include a file containing the context-sensitive help ID definitions. The numeric values of these IDs must match the values defined in the [MAP] section of the HTML Help project file. The following is an example of how the context help IDs are defined:
          #define IDH_FILE_NEW   1      #define IDH_FILE_OPEN  2      #define IDH_FILE_SAVE  3      #define IDH_EDIT_CUT   4      #define IDH_EDIT_COPY  5      #define IDH_EDIT_PASTE 6      #define IDH_FILE_PRINT 7      #define IDH_APP_ABOUT  8      #define IDH_FILE_PRINT_PREVIEW 9
  6. Rebuild the project.
F1 help may come up twice, if there is an entry for ID_HELP in the accelerator table (as explained in 139696 BUG: WinHelp Called Twice).

For the "What's this" help, the MFC framework sends a WM_HELPHITTEST message (see TN028 for more details) to each window, starting with the window under the mouse cursor and moving up the hierarchy. If none of the windows handle this message, the CFrameWnd handler for this message returns the general topic-value, which is passed on to CWinApp::WinHelp in dwData.

To get "What's this" help to work the way F1 help works (which is how it works in Dialogs according to DS_CONTEXTHELP), it is necessary to provide a WM_HELPHITTEST handler. A generic one that returns the ID of the child window under the cursor could be written as follows (gleaned from CControlBar::OnHelpHitTest):
LRESULT CMyView::OnHelpHitTest(WPARAM, LPARAM lParam){ASSERT_VALID(this);// Find the child window ID under mouse cursorint nID = OnToolHitTest((DWORD)lParam, NULL);if (nID != -1)return HID_BASE_CONTROL+nID;nID = GetDlgCtrlID();return nID != 0 ? HID_BASE_CONTROL+nID : 0;}

Article ID: 191118 - Last Review: 06/09/2005 17:28:00 - Revision: 3.0

  • Microsoft HTML Help 1.3
  • Microsoft HTML Help 1.1
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 5.0 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 5.0 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visual C++, 32-bit Learning Edition 6.0
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