Microsoft Help Viewer is the help format used in VS Help and MSDN for VS versions 2010 and higher.

Each Visual Studio version uses a different MS Help Viewer version:

Visual Studio

MS Help Viewer

VS 2019 and 2017

MSHV 2.3

VS 2015

MSHV 2.2

VS 2013

MSHV 2.1

VS 2012

MSHV 2.0

VS 2010

MSHV 1.1

MSHV versions 2.x and 1.1 are the same, they only differ in viewer application and help installation process. So documentation generated with VSdoman will work with all MS Help Viewer versions.

After you generate MS Help Viewer (.msh? files) documentation, you cannot view it immediately by pressing Show Documentation button on compilation dialog. MS Help Viewer documents must be installed first. After that you can view them in VS help.

Unlike e.g. HTML Help with one CHM file, MS Help Viewer documentation usually consists of two files:

MSHC...compiled help

MSHA...product manifest

When VSdocman generates your MS Help Viewer files, it automatically registers (installs) them on your computer. See Deploying topic.

By installing your documentation in MS Help Viewer system we mean:

1.Your documentation will be accessible in MS Help Viewer system as a new book.

2.Your help is plugged in Visual Studio help catalog so that it is visible in VS help. That means you will see your help in Contents, your items will be in Index and you can perform search on your help.

3.Your help is integrated in VS dynamic F1 help.

Note: By default, it is not possible to install MS Help Viewer documentation silently. So a Help Library Manager window will pop-up after generating the help and you must manually confirm the installation. To install help silently on target computer, you must create signed CAB file, see Deploying.

For more information, read also Getting Started with MS Help Viewer.

In this section:

Viewing MS Help Viewer Documentation

Deploying MS Help Viewer Documentation

Topic Versions in MS Help Viewer Documentation

See Also