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AP Help - Technical Information


AP Help 1.0 ist released with Windows Vista. AP Help 2.x is not available yet. Microsoft has no short term plans to release a public version of AP Help. So, Microsoft has not decided if it will be an assistance platform for third-party vendors or another Microsoft-only platform.

Within Business Desktop Deployment 2007 is the AP Help SDK. This is primarily for integrating Microsoft and OEM help content into Vista Help. It is not recommended for general use. BDD can be run on Windows XP but you will need Vista (and possibly Win 2003 SP1 server) to test the output.

Files and file extensions


.H1C The main collection (.H1C) file defines the collection properties and references to all other collection-level files that contain collection data for a project. Similar to MS Help 2.x .HxC file
.H1T Table of Contents - This defines the master TOC and which Titles to include. Similar to MS Help 2.x .HxT file
The .H1T file defines the content and organization of a table of contents (TOC) for a collection. For Help and Support content, the .H1T file defines the table of contents for all content in the OEM and Corporate namespaces (each namespace has its own .H1T file). The .H1T file contains general properties for the TOC as a whole and for each node. The TOC provides a structured view of the Help content for a collection. When a user opens the TOC and selects a topic title, the content file associated with that topic opens.
.H1K An Keyword Index (.H1K) file is used to create the indexes in your Help projects. Similar to MS Help 2.x .HxK file Keywords are defined in the Task Metadata (.H1V) File, rather than in .H1K files. There are four types of project-level indexes that must be included in a Help project.
.H1S Binary file (all others are XML files). Contains the help content. Similar to MS Help 2.x .HxS file
.H1F Decompiling a H1S file may generate a H1F file.
  .H1V Task Metadata (.H1V) files are used to define metadata for the tasks (Microsoft AML topics) and resources in each compiled Help file.

Core Files
ApDs.dll 6.0.5270.9 1.68 MB c:\Windows\System32\
Microsoft Help Data Services Module.
H2 Note: Called Hxds.dll in MS Help 2.
Apircl.dll 6.0.5270.9 287 KB c:\Windows\System32\
Microsoft InfoTech IR Local DLL
Note: Itircl.dll in HH 1.x, Itircl52.dll in MS Help 2
ApSS.dll 6.0.5270.9 303 KB c:\Windows\System32\
Microsoft InfoTech Storage System Library
Note: Itss.dll in HH 1.x, Msitss.dll in MS Help 2
HelpPaneProxy.dll 6.0.5270.9 136 KB c:\Windows\System32\
Helppane.exe 6.0.5270.9 529 KB c:\Windows\
HelpPane.adm c:\Windows\inf\
Text file containing some settings.

Note: You can run TLibImp.exe over ApDs.dll, HelpPaneProxy.dll, Helppane.exe

Multilingual User Interface Files - c:\Windows\System32\en-US\apds.dll.mui 6.0.5270.9 c:\Windows\System32\en-US\
apircl.dll.mui 6.0.5270.9 c:\Windows\System32\en-US\
apss.dll.mui 6.0.5270.9 c:\Windows\System32\en-US\
helppane.exe.mui 6.0.5270.9 c:\Windows\en-US\

H1C Example

The following example shows the markup required to create an .H1C file.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<HelpCollection xmlns="" DTDVersion="1.0" LangId="1033" Title="OEM Collection">
<TOCDef File="oem.H1T" Id="InsertTOC:OEM"/>
<KeywordIndexDef File="oem_assetid.H1K"/>
<KeywordIndexDef File="oem_subjectterm.H1K"/>
<KeywordIndexDef File="oem_bestbet.H1K"/>
<KeywordIndexDef File="oem_linkterm.H1K"/>
<ItemMoniker Name ="!DataSource" ProgId="HxDs.HxDataSource" InitData =""/>
<ItemMoniker Name="!DefaultToc" ProgId="HxDs.HxHierarchy" InitData="AnyString"/>
<ItemMoniker Name="!DefaultFullTextSearch" ProgId="HxDs.HxFullTextSearch" InitData="AnyString"/>
<ItemMoniker Name="!DefaultAssetIdIndex" ProgId="HxDs.HxIndex" InitData="AssetId"/>
<ItemMoniker Name="!DefaultKeywordIndex" ProgId="HxDs.HxIndex" InitData="SubjectTerm"/>
<ItemMoniker Name="!DefaultAssociativeIndex" ProgId="HxDs.HxIndex" InitData="LinkTerm"/>
<ItemMoniker Name="!DefaultBestBetIndex" ProgId="HxDs.HxIndex" InitData="BestBet"/>


H1F Example

Decompiling a H1S file may generate a .H1F file. The following example shows the structure of the .H1F file.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<HelpFileList xmlns="">
<File Url="assets\0785850c-efb8-4ccc-8a45-688913eec123.xml" />
<File Url="assets\134bdabf-fc1a-4b81-9cc9-43bcf9bad6fb.xml" />
<File Url="assets\14caf22a-89a4-4700-b148-8da4f9127733.xml" />


<File Url="assets\e4c434f3-a281-4125-82f0-677ce47769fe.xml" />
<File Url="assets\ea853d89-9242-48a8-a655-20c5bf92a90e.xml" />
<File Url="assets\ebeba8d1-fa32-45f7-8d64-6af578672c90.xml" />
<File Url="assets\fba90043-4ee8-4a56-8cc5-158f348c7e8b.xml" />


H1K Example

The following example shows the basic template used for the each index file type. Note that the only difference between each file type occurs in the value of the Name attribute.

For example, for the Assetid index, use Name="AssetId" and save the file as Assetid.h1k. Make sure that the same file name is referenced in the corresponding H1C file for the project.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE HelpIndex>
<HelpIndex DTDVersion="1.0" Name="[AssetId | BestBet | LinkTerm | SubjectTerm]" />



The binary file contains the help content.

H1T Example

The following example shows the structure of the .H1T file.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" standalone="yes"?>
DTDVersion="1.0" <!-- Required -->
ParentNodeIcon="(Book | Folder)"
<HelpTOCNode Url="mshelp://oem/?tocid=RootTOC">
<HelpTOCNode <!-- Can appear 1 or more times -->
Title = ""
Url = "Url="mshelp://oem/?id=topicID"

To create a hierarchy of TOC nodes, use nested HelpTOCNode elements. The following example shows how to nest TOC nodes. Note that the parent HelpTOCNode elements do not contain a Url attribute.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<HelpTOC xmlns="" DTDVersion="1.0">
<HelpTOCNode Url="mshelp://oem/?tocid=RootTOC">
<HelpTOCNode Url="mshelp://oem/?" Title="Fabrikam Support Page" />


H1V Example

The following example shows the basic structure of a Task Metadata (.H1V) file.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<VTopicSet DTDVersion="1.0" xmlns="">
<Vtopic Url="topics\escalation.xml" RLTitle="Get customer support or other types of help">
<Attr Name="assetid" Value="" />
<Keyword Index="AssetId" Term="" />
<FTSText>help support assistance technical support customer service tech support live help phone support help and support center</FTSText>
<Vtopic Url="resources\Fabrikam.Windows.Client.stylesheets.escalation.css">
<Attr Name="assetid" Value="Fabrikam.Windows.Client.stylesheets.escalation.css" />
<Keyword Index="AssetId" Term="Fabrikam.Windows.Client.stylesheets.escalation.css" />
<VTopic Url="resources\Fabrikam.Windows.Client.F.PNG">
<Attr Name="assetid" Value="Fabrikam.Windows.Client.F.PNG" />
<Keyword Index="AssetId" Term="Fabrikam.Windows.Client.F.PNG" />




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