Chapter 24: Providing Help for Your Applications

IN THIS CHAPTER

Providing user help for your applications

Using only the components supplied with Excel to provide help

Displaying help files created with the HTML Help system

Associating a help file with your application

Displaying HTML Help in other ways

Help for Your Excel Applications

If you develop a nontrivial application in Excel, you may want to consider building in some sort of help for end users. Doing so makes the users feel more comfortable with the application and could eliminate many of those time-wasting phone calls from users with basic questions. Another advantage is that help is always available: That is, the instructions can't be misplaced or buried under a pile of books.

You can provide help for your Excel applications in a number of ways, ranging from simple to complex. The method that you choose depends on your application's scope and complexity and how much effort you're willing to put into this phase of development. Some applications might require only a brief set of instructions on how to start them. Others may benefit from a full-blown, searchable Help system. Most often, applications need something in between.

This chapter classifies user help into two categories:

Unofficial Help system: This method of displaying help uses standard Excel components (such as a UserForm).

Official Help system: This Help system uses a compiled CHM file produced by Microsoft's HTML Help Workshop.

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