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Winhelp is a binary hypertext format. The source format for generating binary Winhelp files is a special RTF text format (Rich Text Format). It's nearly impossible to write RTF files directly. Microsoft has decided to stop development of Winhelp. Instead, MS HTML-Help will be the new Help format for Windows 98 and NT 5.

Winhelp files can be started seperately and can also be part of a program.

There are two different versions of Winhelp: Winhelp version 3 and Winhelp version 4. (In this document, it's simply named Winhelp3 and Winhelp4.) Winhelp3 is the help format of Windows 3.1, Winhelp4 is the help format of Windows 95 and Windows NT.

The Winhelp viewer of Windows 95 and Windows NT can read both Winhelp formats, the Windows 3.1 viewer can only read Winhelp3.

To create a Winhelp binary file from the Hypermake generated RTF source, you need the Winhelp3 or Winhelp4 compiler. The compiler is executed together with the project file which has got the extension PRJ.

The Winhelp3 compiler is a DOS commandline program with the filename hc31.exe or hcp.exe which can be executed from DOS, all Windows versions and OS/2. For OS/2, hc31.exe is recommended.

You can download a compact Winhelp3 compiler archive (100k) from here.

Winhelp4 needs Windows 95 or NT. The compiler hcw.exe has got a graphical interface, but can also be used from the commandline (hcrtf.exe). (2,9 MB)

Hypermake includes a reverse converting mode from RTF to Hypermake source.

Winhelp supports ends with Windows XP. Vista users need to download the Winhelp viewer.