8 Replies Latest reply on Mar 11, 2008 12:00 PM by lmarden

    Unable to view help when press F1. CHM File too large?

    TW_MaryseC
      We have a chm file who contained many PDF files (its size is 13MB) and some people cannot view help when press F1. This file is a part of merged chm files structure (the total size of these files is 17MB)

      Do you think that the size of the file contained PDF may be the problem?.

      Thanks!

      TTW_MaryseC
        • 1. Re: Unable to view help when press F1. CHM File too large?
          Pete Lees Level 2
          Maryse,

          I don't think the size of the file should be an issue, even when it's 13 MB. I'm sure that other people have been distributing much larger files than this without problem for many years.

          You say " some people cannot view help", which suggests that other users are not encountering the problem. In other words, the methods that your software developers have used to connect the help file to the application do work properly, if not for all users.

          When users who cannot view the help press F1, does nothing happen, or does the help viewer open but with an error message in the right-hand topic pane? Is the large file the only one that is affected by this issue, or are all the other help files in the collection also affected?

          If it's of any interest to you, you don't need to compile a PDF file into a help file in order to display the contents of the PDF in the help file. Microsoft has published the following script for linking to an external file from a help topic:

          http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms644690.aspx

          Pete
          • 2. Re: Unable to view help when press F1. CHM File too large?
            Level 2
            Hi,

            I am certain it is not a file size issue. There are issues with PDF files because the way the help viewer treats them depends upon how the end user has Acrobat reader configured. Since you say that "some people" cannot view the F1 help, I would think it has to do with using PDF instead of HTML files. Could you give us more information on how you are linking to the PDF topics?

            John
            • 3. Re: Unable to view help when press F1. CHM File too large?
              Level 2
              Pete wasn't there when I originally posted but his link to the Microsoft parser function is exactly what you need if you want the PDF file to open in the browser from an external file.

              You could also use a 'Shortcut control' to open an external PDF in a separate Acrobat Reader window.

              If you want to distribute the PDFs in one compiled help file, you can do that too but that is where you might see different behaviour with different users.

              John
              • 4. Re: Unable to view help when press F1. CHM File too large?
                TW_MaryseC Level 1
                Thanks for your answers

                When the problem occur, the help viewer is displayed, but nothing is displayed in the right pane and in many cases, a help topic must be showed (htm file). And, when I'm tried to display other help topics available in other chm files from the merged TOC, nothing appeared. The problem happen with htm files and pdf files.

                I'm linking to PDF files from a htm files containing a redirect command.

                Thanks!

                Maryse
                • 5. Re: Unable to view help when press F1. CHM File too large?
                  lmarden Level 2
                  by any chance, is the chm sitting on a network drive? Or do these users copy it to their local drive from a network location?
                  • 6. Re: Unable to view help when press F1. CHM File too large?
                    lmarden Level 2
                    users should really have a chm on their own hard drive for best results. but even then, a thick layer of Microsoft security can get in the way.

                    try this - have them right click on the chm file, and select Properties from the pop-up menu. On either the General or Security tab (I forget which), there is an Unlock button - click on it to make the chm available.
                    • 7. Re: Unable to view help when press F1. CHM File too large?
                      TW_MaryseC Level 1
                      No. The help files are on local drive.

                      Also, I forgot to mention that I'm able to open chm files from Windows Explorer.

                      Thanks!

                      Maryse

                      • 8. Re: Unable to view help when press F1. CHM File too large?
                        lmarden Level 2
                        that's not unusual. I can open my own chms without any extra steps. but if I post the chm to a network drive so my support staff can review it, they always have to unlock it. so your users may still find this step to be successful.

                        I guess it depends on how you deliver your help. If it is included in an installation executable, the chm is typically readily available. Our clients don't have to unlock it because it is installed to their hard drive with the program. But if it is just copied to another drive, over a network or from a CD, it may be locked.