Using field-level popups

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Using field-level popups


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Field-level popups must have help context numbers. Field-level popups are only exported if you assign help context numbers to them!

A field-level popup is a popup displayed directly from within your application. They are normally only available for Microsoft HTML Help CHM files.

Field-level popups for WebHelp

In their native form field-level popups are only supported by the Microsoft HTML Help (CHM) format. This is the version described in this topic. However, the responsive skins available in the Premium Pack 3 add-on for Help+Manual also add field-level popups for WebHelp. Their use is explained in the additional help chapter titled Help+Manual Premium Pack added to the main Help+Manual help when you install the Premium Pack. (If you don't  have the Premium Pack installed this chapter will just display some introductory material.)


In your Help+Manual project, the same popup topics are used for both purposes. When you publish your project the content of the topics are automatically exported to a special text file in the CHM for field-level popups, and to the JavaScript popups file for JavaScript popups.

The plain-text CHM popups are not available within the main CHM file, however. They are only for field-level popups. You can only use JavaScript popups for popups displayed within the CHM file.

Normal popup topics are displayed within the help when the user clicks on a link in a topic, for example to display a definition or an explanation. JavaScript popups must be activated for this to be possible in HTML Help CHM files and WebHelp.

Field-level popup topics are called directly by the application and displayed in little windows of their own. This is done without displaying the rest of the help at all. Only the little popup is displayed, and it is closed again as soon as the user clicks on it.

About creating field-level popups:

Field-level popups are only supported in HTML Help CHM files. They are a proprietary Microsoft technology and they are not supported in any other output format.

To create field-level popups the help author needs to perform the following steps:

1.Create popup topics so that you have popups to display.

2.Assign help context numbers to all your popup topics. This is essential because field-level CHM popups must be called by their context numbers. If you don't assign numbers the topics won't be exported to the plain-text field-level popups file!

3.Inform your programmer of the help context numbers and topic IDs and the name of the internal plain text popups file so that they can make the calls. You can use the context tool to export a list of IDs and context numbers.

The internal popups file is normally called CSHelp.txt but you can change its name in the Extended .HHP Settings.

See Implementing context help for more general information.

If you are writing field-level popups for an application you may have to produce a lot of popups. You can save yourself a lot of work by generating your field-level popups automatically.

Using both field-level popups and JavaScript popups

Only the CHM format's native plain-text popups can be used as field-level popups. If you also want to display popups inside your CHM help file you must activate JavaScript popups, otherwise links to popup topics will be displayed as normal topics.

The native plain-text popups used in CHM cannot be used for displaying topics inside the main CHM file, only for field-level popups. (This plain-text file is always exported, even if JavaScript popups are turned off.)

If JavaScript popups are activated, popup links in your project topics will display as JS popups in the HTML Help viewer. However, since the plain-text popups file is also stored in the CHM, calls to this file from your application will also work.

See also:

Creating popup topics

Using Context-Sensitive Help

IDs, Context Numbers and Keywords