Wednesday, 28 March 2012

How to create online help (for non-technical) [AX 2012]

This describes how to create custom Help documentation and how to publish that documentation to the Microsoft Dynamics AX Help server. The Help documentation you create has to work with both the Help server and viewer.

  • The Help server is a centralized Web service that responds to requests for Help documentation. In addition, you put your custom Help documentation files on the Help server.
  • The Help viewer is an application that is deployed with the Microsoft Dynamics AX client. The Help viewer displays documentation when you request Help from the application workspace.

Walk through on publishing help files is here:

Here is my short walk through:

To add folders to the Help server
  1. Use Windows Explorer and open the Content folder of the Help server. The folder is typically found in the c:\inetpub\wwwroot\DynamicsAX6HelpServer\Content but can be changed during install.
  2. Right-click the Content folder, click New, and then click Folder. A folder is added to Content. Right-click the new folder, click Rename, and then type Contoso for the folder name.
  3. Right-click the Contoso folder, click New, and then click Folder. Right-click the new folder, click Rename, and then type en-us for the folder name.
  4. Double-click the en-us folder. Leave the folder open in Windows Explorer.
  5. Once you have copied the folder. Copy the template file from this location ..\Content\Microsoft\EN-US\Template. 
  6. Edit the content
  7. Edit the meta tags - this is important as it is how the help server will index it and how users will search on it.
  8. Now save the document using "Save as"
  9. This will create 2 new documents. *.htm (which contains the meta tags) and *.mht (which is the html version)

6. This will create 3 files.

7. Now open up the help client and search the keywords you typed in the metatag.


  • Clients can create their own personalised help (Form help, procedures etc)
  • You have a centralized help files on the server - deployment becomes easy
  • You can place links and images in the help files

Known limitation:
The mht file that is created is a single file html. It embeds everything into this one file including images and links. All relative links in the Web page are remapped and the embedded content is included in the .MHT file. The absolute references or hyperlinks on the Web page remain unchanged and the .MHT file is viewed using Internet Explorer.

You may consider creating your own html help file with the metatags and everything but this then becomes a developer job now. Weigh up the options but I think this is great for clients/partners/ISVs that want to create their own online help.

There is enough detail on the msdn link but it can get technical. I hope this helps. ;-)

1 comment:

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