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WARNING! Although this class has an API compatible with other wxWidgets help controllers as documented by wxHelpController, it is recommended that you use the enhanced capabilities of wxHtmlHelpController's API.

This help controller provides an easy way of displaying HTML help in your application (see test sample). The help system is based on books (see AddBook). A book is a logical section of documentation (for example "User's Guide" or "Programmer's Guide" or "C++ Reference" or "wxWidgets Reference"). The help controller can handle as many books as you want.

wxHTML uses Microsoft's HTML Help Workshop project files (.hhp, .hhk, .hhc) as its native format. The file format is described here. Have a look at docs/html/ directory where sample project files are stored.

You can use Tex2RTF to produce these files when generating HTML, if you set htmlWorkshopFiles to true in your tex2rtf.ini file.


It is strongly recommended to use preprocessed .hhp.cached version of projects. It can be either created on-the-fly (see SetTempDir) or you can use hhp2cached utility from utils/hhp2cached to create it and distribute the cached version together with helpfiles. See samples/html/help sample for demonstration of its use.

See also

Information about wxBestHelpController

Derived from


Include files





wxHtmlHelpController(int style = wxHF_DEFAULT_STYLE)



style is combination of these flags:

wxHF_TOOLBAR Help frame has toolbar.
wxHF_FLAT_TOOLBAR Help frame has toolbar with flat buttons (aka coolbar).
wxHF_CONTENTS Help frame has contents panel.
wxHF_INDEX Help frame has index panel.
wxHF_SEARCH Help frame has search panel.
wxHF_BOOKMARKS Help frame has bookmarks controls.
wxHF_OPEN_FILES Allow user to open arbitrary HTML document.
wxHF_PRINT Toolbar contains "print" button.
wxHF_MERGE_BOOKS Contents pane does not show book nodes. All books are merged together and appear as single book to the user.
wxHF_ICONS_BOOK All nodes in contents pane have a book icon. This is how Microsoft's HTML help viewer behaves.
wxHF_ICONS_FOLDER Book nodes in contents pane have a book icon, book's sections have a folder icon. This is the default.
wxHF_ICONS_BOOK_CHAPTER Both book nodes and nodes of top-level sections of a book (i.e. chapters) have a book icon, all other sections (sections, subsections, ...) have a folder icon.


bool AddBook(const wxFileName& book_file, bool show_wait_msg)

bool AddBook(const wxString& book_url, bool show_wait_msg)

Adds book (.hhp file - HTML Help Workshop project file) into the list of loaded books. This must be called at least once before displaying any help.

book_file or book_url may be either .hhp file or ZIP archive that contains arbitrary number of .hhp files in top-level directory. This ZIP archive must have .zip or .htb extension (the latter stands for "HTML book"). In other words, AddBook(wxFileName("")) is possible and, in fact, recommended way.



book_file book_url


Don't forget to install wxFileSystem ZIP handler with wxFileSystem::AddHandler(new wxZipFSHandler); before calling this method on a .zip or .htb file!


virtual wxHtmlHelpFrame* CreateHelpFrame(wxHtmlHelpData * data)

This protected virtual method may be overridden so that the controller uses slightly different frame. See samples/html/helpview sample for an example.


void Display(const wxString& x)

Displays page x. This is THE important function - it is used to display the help in application.

You can specify the page in many ways:

Looking for the page runs in these steps:

  1. try to locate file named x (if x is for example "doc/howto.htm")
  2. try to open starting page of book named x
  3. try to find x in contents (if x is for example "How To ...")
  4. try to find x in index (if x is for example "How To ...")
  5. switch to Search panel and start searching

void Display(const int id)

This alternative form is used to search help contents by numeric IDs.

wxPython note: The second form of this method is named DisplayId in wxPython.


void DisplayContents()

Displays help window and focuses contents panel.


void DisplayIndex()

Displays help window and focuses index panel.


bool KeywordSearch(const wxString& keyword)

Displays help window, focuses search panel and starts searching. Returns TRUE if the keyword was found.

Important: KeywordSearch searches only pages listed in .hhc file(s). You should list all pages in the contents file.


void ReadCustomization(wxConfigBase* cfg, wxString path = wxEmptyString)

Reads the controller's setting (position of window, etc.)


void SetTempDir(const wxString& path)

Sets the path for storing temporary files - cached binary versions of index and contents files. These binary forms are much faster to read. Default value is empty string (empty string means that no cached data are stored). Note that these files are not deleted when program exits.

Once created these cached files will be used in all subsequent executions of your application. If cached files become older than corresponding .hhp file (e.g. if you regenerate documentation) it will be refreshed.


void SetTitleFormat(const wxString& format)

Sets format of title of the frame. Must contain exactly one "%s" (for title of displayed HTML page).


void UseConfig(wxConfigBase* config, const wxString& rootpath = wxEmptyString)

Associates config object with the controller.

If there is associated config object, wxHtmlHelpController automatically reads and writes settings (including wxHtmlWindow's settings) when needed.

The only thing you must do is create wxConfig object and call UseConfig.

If you do not use UseConfig, wxHtmlHelpController will use default wxConfig object if available (for details see wxConfigBase::Get and wxConfigBase::Set).


void WriteCustomization(wxConfigBase* cfg, wxString path = wxEmptyString)

Stores controllers setting (position of window etc.)