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How to Convert HLP to CHM for Vista

What is HLP (WinHelp) file?

The GUI of WinHelp Sample WinHelp was the original online Help system for Microsoft Windows. Originally introduced with Windows 3.0, WinHelp was substantially enhanced with the release of Windows 95. All versions of Microsoft Windows continue to support online Help in WinHelp format, but Microsoft discontinued further development of WinHelp in 1997.
To create WinHelp, authors create topic files in RTF format, typically using Microsoft Word or a Help authoring tool, and these topic files, together with a few project files, are compiled using Microsoft's WinHelp compiler. The compiler produces an HLP file and, optionally, a CNT file, which are distributed to users of the Help system.

What is CHM (HTML Help)?

The GUI of HTML Help Sample CHM file is a new help format from Microsoft, known as HTML Help, is steadily gaining popularity among software developers. HTML Help is supported by all versions of Windows, so you can be sure that a WinHelp (.HLP) file, when distributed with your application, will function correctly for the end-user.
To create HTML Help, authors create topic files in HTML format. The topic files, together with a few project files and ActiveX controls, are compiled using Microsoft's HTML Help compiler. The compiler produces a .chm file, which is then distributed to users of the Help system. Help authors can use a variety of tools to produce Microsoft HTML Help, including RoboHelp, Doc-To-Help, ForeHelp, HDK, and WebWorks Publisher.

Tips: Comparison Between HLP (WinHelp) and CHM (HTML Help)

WinHelp HTML Help Description
.hlp .chm Main Compiled Help File
.hpj .hhp Project file,optionally the context-sensitivity control codes
.cnt .hhc Table Of Contents file. HHC is compiled into the CHM file
  .hhk Index file. HHK is compiled into the CHM file
hcw.exe hhw.exe Help Workshop. Free basic authoring tool from MS.
Earlier version of hcm are hc31, hc, etc.
winhelp.exe hh.exe Launches the help file. HH.EXE is just a small stub that calls the HTML Help API
hcrf.exe hhc.exe Command Line Compiler. Hcrtf.exe isn't a console program, but it does take command line parameters and can be run from a DOS prompt
.rtf .htm, .html HTML Help is HTML based while WinHelp is RTF based
.bmp .dib .wmf .shg .jpg .gif HTML Help uses HTML document graphics
.gid .chw
The .GID file stores merged keywords (.CHW) and position/preferences information (hh.dat)
.fts .ftg   With HTML Help FTS information is stored inside the CHM
.ann .bmk hh.dat WinHelp run time files for storing annotations and bookmarks.HTML Help 1.2 does not yet offer annotations,while favorites are stored in HH.DAT

Why do we need to convert HLP to CHM?

With the release of Windows Vista, Microsoft has decided that the good old WinHelp format no longer meets its standards.
When your users try to open a .hlp file on Windows Vista, they'll get an error message saying your application is using an outdated format for its help. This makes your products look obsolete, and will cause users to worry if they'll bump into more serious issues with your software later.
So now converting your help file to HTML Help becomes our number one priority. This conversion will bring your application up to date. Your help file will work on 99% of all the Windows PCs in use today such as Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP and Vista.

Step-by-step guide to Convert HLP to CHM with ABC Amber HLP Converter.

ABC Amber HLP Converter is a handy tool that allows you to create printable, manual-quality documents from Windows Help files. The program Easily Convert .HLP Help Files to CHM, PDF, HTML, RTF ,DOC, CHM, TXT, DBF, XML, CSV, XLS, MDB, etc. document and database file formats.

Step1: Download ABC Amber HLP Converter & Run It.

When you've finished installation, launch this program, you could see the GUI as follows:

The GUI of ABC Amber HLP Converter

Step2: Open HLP file you want to convert.

Click the "Open" converting HLP to CHM button to select which file you want to convert, for example: C:\ABC\MSWIN.HLP as show below.

list the HLP file you selected here.

Step3: Select the CHM export format

list all file formats you can choose to convert

Step4: At last, Click the "Save As" button:

Since the "Save As.." converting HLP to CHMbutton is also a "convert" button, when you have selected the destination folder, it will convert HLP to CHM format.

If you're interested in this HLP to CHM converter program, please visit: ABC Amber HLP Converter

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