Distribution files

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Distribution files

When you publish your output a report is displayed in a window with a reminder of the files and/or folders that you need to distribute to your users. Below is a summary checklist of the files you normally need to distribute for each output format supported by Help+Manual.

External files referenced in your project

In addition to the files actually generated when you publish your project, remember that you also need to distribute any external files referenced or linked to in your project – for example PDF files linked to in a CHM help file, which need to be stored in the same folder as the CHM. This is easy to forget.

HTML Help (CHM):

HTML Help is published to a single CHM file containing everything needed for the fully-functional help. You will only need to distribute multiple files if you are creating a modular project with multiple help files or if you are accessing additional external files in your help, for example with file links. If you do access and distribute external files with HTML Help you must store them in the same directory as the CHM file. Links to external files with path information will fail on many (but not all) users' computers because of uncorrected bugs in the Microsoft HTML Help viewer that is an integral part of the Microsoft Windows operating system.

WebHelp (HTML):

WebHelp is actually a self-contained website. Like any website it consists of a large number of separate files, including HTML files, graphics files, JavaScript files and other files all stored in a single folder. If you have a large help project your WebHelp can easily consist of hundreds of files. You must upload the entire output folder including all the files it contains to your server for WebHelp to work properly! Also, you must upload all the files to the same directory! Do not make any changes to these files. For example, do not edit or change the case of file names.

If you are distributing any additional files with your WebHelp you must add them to the directory manually, or add them to the Baggage Files in the Project Explorer (then they will be exported automatically).

HM2Go tiny web server for local WebHelp:

If you want your WebHelp to be opened locally without a server (for example WebHelp on CDs and DVDs), Help+Manual has a special mini server that you can distribute with your help for better performance. See HM2Go - mini server for local WebHelp for details.

Adobe PDF:

Adobe PDF output always consists of a single .pdf file. It is also possible to embed referenced files in the PDF file.

eBooks:

ePUB eBooks consist of a single file with the .epub extension. This file is actually a zip archive that contains the XHTML and XML files that make up the ePUB eBook.

Kindle/Mobi eBooks consist of a single file with the .mobi extension. This is also an archive, but has a proprietary Amazon format.

Windows EWriter eBooks consist of a single executable .exe file that contains both the eBook content and the viewer program needed to display it. This file is completely self-contained and it is the only file you need to distribute.

MS Word DOCX:

MS Word DOCX is output to a single .docx file. If the file contains images the graphics files are embedded directly into it, as they are in Word.

Visual Studio Help 2008 & 2010 (MS Help 2.0/3.0):

Please note that these formats are not designed for general help for user applications! Visual Studio Help is only used to document programming components in Visual Studio .NET. This help format is irrelevant for normal help and documentation applications.

Visual Studio Help 2008 (MS Help 2.0/HXS)
Help 2.0 is normally output to a single, self-contained .hxs file. This is the only file you need to distribute. However, you can also choose an option to create both an .hxs file and a separate .hxl file in Configuration > Publishing Options > Visual Studio Help > Namespace & Options.

Visual Studio Help 2010 (MS Help 3.0/MSHC)
Visual Studio Help 2010/MS Help 3.0 consists of a single file with the extension .mshc. This is actually a zip archive and it can be unpacked with any zip utility, just like MS Word .docx files. The compiled MSHC file must then be installed in Visual Studio with the Visual Studio Help Manager. Please consult the Visual Studio documentation for details.

See also:

Help Formats (Reference)