Help! Where’s my help?

Once you’ve installed Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 and read the readme (you do read readmes, now, don’t you?) you find that all the help for this beta release is online. No offline documentation is included. That’s understandable and all very well but what if you want to browse it while you are not online, on a plane or whatever? Also, it makes targeted searching a little difficult as well, for example if you just want to browse and search within the Visual Web Developer and ASP.NET documentation.

Fortunately the MSDN Publishing System Content Service and a cunning utility/sample called PackageThis come to your rescue. This tool talks directly to the MSDNPSCS and finds out what is available. It then lets you select those parts of it that you are interested in and will then package them into a Compiled Help Module (CHM) file:


Note that if you want to select all topics within a node you have to actually right click and select “Select This Node and All Children”. Simply checking the check box next to the node only selects that node.

After selecting the content you want, select Export to CHM from the File menu:


Wait a few minutes and there you have it! Your own fully searchable, fully functioning offline help file:



As one reviewer on the CodePlex site comments, it is not perfect but it is perfectly functional in my opinion and very handy.




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