How to Build an Online Help Page in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2

Online help page is a web page which displays information in a web browser when user presses the key F1 for the selected field or page in MS Dynamics NAV 2013 R2.

In this blog I will try to document the process of creating online help page for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 version, from creating online help topic to building the complied (html) help page and also how to integrate the help page into your project.


   ·    Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 with a developer license.

   ·    The Cronus International Ltd. Demonstration database.

   ·    Microsoft Dynamics NAV Help Builder.

   ·    Microsoft Dynamics NAV Help Server.

   ·    HTML Help Workshop.

   ·    An HTML Editor, example: - Notepad.

Following steps illustrates the process of creating and building an online help page:

1. Setting up the Help Project Folder

                  Create a folder which contains a Source subfolder. The Source subfolder contains all project system files and source files that you will need to work with. After you compile the Help project for the first time, a subfolder named Processed is automatically created next to the Source subfolder to hold the built .chm files. You will find the html folder, under the Processed subfolder, which holds all of the .html files.

The HTML files contains online help topic which is displayed in web browser when user presses the key F1 for selected field in a page.

          I.   Create a folder named HelpExample on drive C of your computer.

         II.   Navigate to the Help Toolkit installation location, and then open the Samples folder. The installation is typically located at "C:\Program Files (X86)\Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 Help Toolkit"

        III.   Copy the addin_a and Shared folders to C:\HelpExample, these folders contain system files which will be used by Help Toolkit to generate .chm and .html files.

2. Creating New Help Topics and Adding Them to the Help Project

                Create the topics and add them to a Help project file that will output the .html file. If you are creating many new field topics under a table, then you can save time by using the Help Generator Tool. For more information, see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn414543(v=nav.71).aspx.

Create a Help topic for the new table, field and page

         I.    In the windows Explorer, open C:\HelpExample\addin_a\Source\HTML folder and select T_9.htm file and open it with Notepad.

        II.   To display number and name of the table on the title bar of a web page, find the and replace the text with the ($ T_TableNumber TableName $) where TableNumber and TableName is number and name of the table to which you are creating help topic.

       III.   To display number and name of a page on the header of a web page, find the and replace the text with ($ T_TableNumber TableName $).

Shows title and span tags

                Figure 1: Shows

       IV.   Online Help page that displays the description of a table is added as element of the tag which is listed under the tag.

Shows p tag

Figure 2: Shows

tag where you can insert a description of the kind of that the table, field or page defines.

        V.    Save all Help topics were created with an extension of .htm format.

       VI.    Repeat above steps for both page and each field in a table, just make sure that number of a table and field number of a table should be correct and should be in the bellow format.

                a.      For tables: - ($ T_TableNumber TableName $).

                b.      For fields of a table: - ($ T_TableNumber_FieldNumber FieldName $).

                c.      For pages: - ($ N_PageNumber PageName $).

      VII.     After you have created the help topic files, add them to the Help project by using HTML Help Workshop. Microsoft HTML Help Workshop (Hhw.exe) is an executable program designed to help you create help systems using source files based on Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).

Shows html workshop

Figure 3: HTML Help Workshop.

3. Creating the Object String File

                After you have created the new help topics and added them to the new Help file, you can export the object names and IDs from Microsoft Dynamics NAV. These object names and IDs will be used by Help Builder to establish the Help calls.

Export objects for which you are creating Help pages. Export the objects as Multilanguage object string file. To create object string file select the Tools menu, point to Translate, and then choose Export.

After you have exported the objects and converted it into an object.xml file, you can use the object file as input to the Help Builder. For more information, see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn414532(v=nav.71).aspx

4. Building the Help Files

                After you have created the new content and the object string file, which you have converted to object.xml, build the Help file by using Help Builder. If you are building translated content, then you should use the configuration settings that installed with the Help Toolkit at My Documents\Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 Help Toolkit\Config\Help Builder\[locale].

Start Microsoft Dynamics NAV Help Builder and step through the Help Builder Wizard. Specify the

            a.      Help project to compile: - source file that contains Help topics were created.

            b.      Configuration file to use: - you can specify the configuration file related to regional settings, if required else you can mention the default settings.

            c.       Object string file to use: - it contains objects to which you are creating Online Help pages.

            d.       Output file:- where you wish to save the output (generated Online Help pages).

For more information, see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn414583(v=nav.71).aspx

Microsoft Dynamics NAV Help build wizard

Figure 4: Microsoft Dynamics NAV Help Builder Wizard.

5. Integrate and Verify the Help File with Core Help

                Integrate and verify the new Help with Microsoft Dynamics NAV Help

a.       In Windows Explorer, open C:\HelpExample\addin_a\Processed\html.

b.       In Windows Explorer, copy all of the generated HTML files to your equivalent of C:\inetpub\wwwroot\DynamicsNAV71Help\en.

c.       Select the field, and then press F1.


If you wish to discuss regarding this Online Help Build blog, please feel free to drop me an email to dileepa.b@ecanarys.com.


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