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Definition: Windows help system

Windows provides a help system that most software developers use to provide immediate help to the users of their Windows applications. The help is displayed by pressing F1 or selecting the Help menu in the application. The help windows can remain on screen so that you can try things out while you read the instructions.

Help Compilers
There are several authoring programs for creating help for a Windows application. Help screens can also be developed in Word or a word processor that supports the RTF document format. A help compiler, which comes with various developers' toolkits, converts the RTF files into the final form required by the Windows help system.

Following are the various help files that are created on the fly the first time Help is used. They are regenerated if the files are deleted.

 File Type               Purpose

 GID (Global Index)      Master index
 CNT (Contents)          Content topics
 FTS (Full Text Search)  Search index
 FTG (Full Text Group)   Links to files
 ANN (Annotations)       User annotations
 BMK (Bookmarks)         User bookmarks