Alternative Way to View CHM with 10Tec Help Viewer

The Compiled HTML Help format, better known as CHM, is a proprietary help file format developed by Microsoft. It became very popular on the Windows platform after the release of Windows 95 and is still widely used nowadays. The CHM format is also very popular thanks to the CHM viewer built into Windows.

Do we need an alternative CHM viewer?

Unfortunately, the built-in Windows CHM viewer is no longer developed by Microsoft and has an outdated 3D look from the era of Windows 95. If you are a software developer providing a help system for your application in the CHM format, you might be interested in a CHM viewer with a modern look that better corresponds to the look of the latest versions of Windows. In this case you can consider 10Tec Help Viewer as an alternative way to view CHM files in a modern interface:

Alternative CHM viewer - 10Tec Help Viewer

To feel the difference, compare the look of 10Tec Help Viewer to the look of the native Windows CHM viewer displaying the same content:

Windows built-in CHM viewer

10Tec Help Viewer has the following advantages over the standard CHM viewer from Windows:

  • Clean and modern flat interface with the OS visual styles support.
  • Support for high-resolution screens: interface elements like plus/minus buttons are correctly resized and rendered with the best quality.
  • The size of interface elements can be adjusted for comfortable use on touch screens (tablets, etc.)
  • 5 text size presets for the topic browser are available for selection in the interface.
  • Index can be filtered using the 'Begins with' or 'Contains' rule. Topics are really filtered out in contrast to list search in the Windows CHM viewer.
  • Index can be displayed using 1 of 4 predefined views.
  • The interface can be localized. You can use any interface language that differs from the OS interface language.
  • You can have several help files in the help library and switch between them due to the simplified help library concept.
  • Users can create bookmarks for topics from different help files in the library. They all can be easily opened from the Favorites list.
  • The Send Feedback feature with the customizable email template is available.

You may also find other advantages of 10Tec Help Viewer over the Windows CHM viewer on this page.

Convert CHM to MSHC

10Tec Help Viewer was originally developed as a viewer for MSHC files. To display a CHM file in it, you need to convert the CHM into MSHC format. There are several relatively simple ways to do that:

  1. If you are using a help authoring tool that can generate MSHC output, simply use this feature to produce an MSHC equivalent of your CHM file.
  2. One more way to convert a CHM to MSHC is to use a help authoring tool that supports import of CHM and export to MSHC (see the previous point).
  3. If all above does not work for you, you can convert CHM to MSHC using the free mshcMigrate tool written by the Helpware Group.

Just one remark regarding mshcMigrate. If your CHM has a keyword linked to several HTML topics, the index generated by mshcMigrate will contain only one record for this keyword linked to the last topic. We contacted the Helpware Group asking to fix this issue, but they answered that the utility is no longer supported. So that if you have a specific CHM in which there is a keyword pointing to several topics, you will need to fix this problem in the MSHC after conversion with mshcMigrate yourself.

Examine also the screenshots of 10Tec Help Viewer while considering it as an alternative way to view CHM files:

View 10Tec Help Viewer screenshots »