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IDEA: Simple "overlay" to CHM (Help) file which allows highlighting, annotation

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I'm not a coder, just a reasonably advanced user. However, I also have ADD, which makes it quite difficult to learn, for example, how to create scripts in AutoHotkey. AHK has a really thorough help file, but having a way to highlight, make notes, and maybe even create hyperlinks would really help.

I'm hoping that the coding virtuosos at DonationCoder can come up with a way to do simple highlighting and annotation of CHM (Help) files. I don't need to create, edit, port to another format, et cetera. Think of an a transparent "layer" attached over the CHM file page where I could:

* Highlight in yellow anywhere on the page: phrases, sentences, or paragraphs of text, and, of course, remove the highlighting you just applied! ("Highlighter" tool)
* Enter text to annotate the CHM file text with red, serif, sans-serif and, at the very least, "small", "medium" and "large" fonts. ("Typewriter" tool)
* To cross out selected text, (e.g., for crossing out incorrect instructions: yes, it does happen! ("Cross-out" text tool)
* Underline selected text, at least in red. ("Underline" tool)
* Create simple text boxes. ("Text box" tool)
* Link to other pages in the CHM file. ("Hyperlink" tool)
Highly useful enhancements to the above:

* Highlighter tool: At least 3 additional colors: sky blue, pastel pink, light green
* Typewriter tool: Able to use installed "system" fonts, with all the sizes, colors, italics, bold, etc.
* Underline tool: Two additional colors: blue and green.
* "Arrow" tool: for drawing directional arrows
* "Line" tool: for drawing straight lines
* "Ellipse" tool: for drawing variously shaped circles (ovals, etc.)
* "Text box call-out" tool: An editable text box with an adjustable arrow (length and angle) to point to the selected text
By doing this in a "layered" format, I am thinking that it would greatly simplify the coding, with no need to open, change, recompile, etc. the real CHM file code. Maybe?

A good example of this capability can be seen in the PDF viewer PDF-XChange, but I'm thinking of the smaller, leaner, "just the essentials, ma'am" approach of DC: easy-to-use, light-weight on resources, and with only the most essential capabilities. Here is a sample of the basic annotations:

Since it appears you're already very familiar with PDF-XChange, it might be easier to simply convert your CHM files to PDF and continue using PDF-XChange (or another smaller, leaner PDF editor).

Since it appears you're already very familiar with PDF-XChange, it might be easier to simply convert your CHM files to PDF and continue using PDF-XChange (or another smaller, leaner PDF editor).
-skwire (September 12, 2011, 08:18 AM)
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Thanks, skwire. A good suggestion. I like the convenience of hitting F1 for help, but will try out converting CHM to PDF and using something like Everything to find it quickly using descriptive filenames. I'll also check out some smaller, lighter PDF viewers with the annotation tools I need. (Do you have a favorite?)

Not quite as easy as just hitting F1, but perhaps the "overlay" I suggested might take more than 10 minutes of coding! (Ya think? :o )

The "F1 for help" issue could be taken care of with a bit of AuotHotkey script.  However, now that I think about it, another option might be to use a dedicated CHM editor to modify the actual CHM file.  One drawback I can think of would be that you'd have to re-do everything if the software you're using the CHM file with gets an update (and comes with an updated CHM file).  Follow me?

One virtue of .chm is it is compiled html pages.  You can use free Html Help Workshop to decompile into html pages.  You can then use whatever tools will work on html. Change images or annotate them, etc..  Then recompile to .chm help.

One nice thing lost in the switch from .hlp help was the .hlp compiler let you create hot spots with tool tips. You could hover the mouse over a section of an image and get tooltip help.  But Html Help has its advantages too.


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