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Tip of the Day
Language: Visual Basic
Expertise: Intermediate
Aug 6, 1997

Cool Commands for Your Help Menu

Most Windows applications include the following commands in the help menu:
 Contents 
Search For Help On... 
How To Use Help
Although VB doesn't provide direct support for these commands, they can easily be added to your VB applications by accessing the Windows API directly. The required declarations are listed here and should appear in one of your application's BAS files:
 'Function declaration 
Declare Function WinHelp Lib "User" _ 
(ByVal hWnd As Integer, ByVal lpHelpFile _ 
As String, ByVal wCommand As Integer, _ 
ByVal dwData As Any) As Integer 

'Global constants 
Global Const HELP_QUIT = 2 
Global Const HELP_INDEX = 3 
Global Const HELP_HELPONHELP = 4 
Global Const HELP_PARTIALKEY = &H105 
Add the new menu items and name them mnuHelpContents, mnuHelpSearch and mnuHelpHowToUse, respectively. The handlers for each of these commands should look like this (Change the first argument to WinHelp (Form1.hWnd) to reference the main form in your application and set App.HelpFile to your application's help file when your application starts):
 'Contents command 
Sub mnuHelpContents_Click () 
Dim i As Integer 
i = WinHelp(Form1.hWnd, App.HelpFile, _ 
HELP_INDEX, 0&) 
End Sub 

'Search For Help On... command 
Sub mnuHelpSearch_Click () 
Dim i As Integer 
i = WinHelp(Form1.hWnd, App.HelpFile, _ 
HELP_PARTIALKEY, "") 
End Sub 

'How To Use Help command 
Sub mnuHelpHowToUse_Click () 
Dim i As Integer 
i = WinHelp(Form1.hWnd, App.HelpFile, _ 
HELP_HELPONHELP, 0&) 
End Sub
To make sure Windows Help unloads when your application terminates, place this code in your main form's Unload event:
 'Unload WINHELP.EXE 
Sub Form_Unload (Cancel As Integer) 
Dim i As Integer 
i = WinHelp(frmMain.hWnd, App.HelpFile, _ 
HELP_QUIT, 0&) 
End Sub 
Jonathan Wood
 
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