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Import Existing Help Projects into HelpScribble

HPJ & RTF: Common WinHelp Source Format

The common source format for a WinHelp project is an HPJ file defining the help file's general properties, with a corresponding RTF file containing the actual help text. These files are used by the WinHelp compiler to create the final HLP file. Most help authoring tools, including HelpScribble, can export your help project into this format.

If you have a pair of HPJ and RTF files for an existing help project, you can easily import the help project into HelpScribble. Simply select Project|Import Help Project from the menu and point HelpScribble to the HPJ file. You can then edit the existing project to your heart's content in HelpScribble, and create a new help file in any of HelpScribble's output formats, including WinHelp (.hlp), HTML Help (.chm) and Web Help (.html).

Decompiling Existing HLP Files

If you have an existing WinHelp file without the HPJ and RTF source files, you can download the WinHelp decompiler to recreate the HPJ and RTF sources from the HLP file. Extract the files inside helpdc21.zip into a new folder. Then you can easily decompile any .hlp file from the command prompt, by typing: helpdeco helpfile.hlp where helpfile.hlp is the help file you want to decompile. The decompiler will generate the HPJ and RTF files, along with a series of bitmap files if the help file contains images. Use Project|Import Help Project in HelpScribble to import the help file.

Even if you do have the HPJ and RTF sources of the HLP file, you still may want to use the decompiler. The RTF format is very loosely defined. Each and every application has its own interpretation of the format. Microsoft Word is notorious for generating messy RTF files. The decompiler on the other hand, generates very clean RTF files, which HelpScribble will import just fine. If HelpScribble has troubles importing the HPJ and RTF files exported by your previous help authoring tool, use the decompiler instead.

Note: The WinHelp decompiler is a freeware application written by Manfred Winterhoff. It is not part of the HelpScribble product. We provide it here for download as a courtesy to our customers.

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