I see ???? instead of text!
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Oh dear! There are several reasons for this, and they all point to the same thing, the fonts and settings that are needed for this language are not set up correctly. For example, let's say my computer is set up for English and I'm on the Internet in a Japanese site and I copy some Japanese text and paste it into my Fast-Help project. I can see the text fine, but when I compile the Japanese text has changed to ????

So what is happening?

What's happening is that the Japanese text is displayed fine because Fast-Help supports Unicode, which means that any language in the world can be displayed within Fast-Help so long as your computer has a Unicode font installed. But when you compile you are passing control to either the Microsoft HtmlHelp compiler or the WinHelp compiler, depending on what you have chosen. WinHelp does not support Unicode but HtmlHelp does a very good job at it. So what can you do?

My project is a HtmlHelp project - What can I do?

The simple solution is to see the section on Selecting the language you are compiling for and follow the steps. When you compile it should look as you expect. But there are a few other things you need to make sure of too:-

  1. Select "Project | HtmlHelp Compiler Options" and in the "International Settings" select the Language, then add a Font that supports your language and change the Charset to the character set of that language.
  2. Click on the "Advanced" tab, then on the "<Head>" tab on the bottom left. Whatever you type in here will be added to the <head> section of every topic. So for example, for Japanese you would add:-

    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=windows-shift-jis">

That's it, you should now be able to compile and see your help text as you expect.

My project is a WinHelp project - What can I do?

Although support is not great for multiple languages in WinHelp you can do it:

  1. Select "Project | WinHelp Compiler Options" and select the Language, Charset and Dialog Font settings.
  2. At the bottom of the "General Settings" tab, check the option "Use Double-byte character sets" and click [OK].
  3. Because WinHelp does not support Unicode you will need to select the correct fonts. These fonts need to be on the computer of the people who will view your Help file, so you need to check with your users to confirm the fonts they have installed. The best advice is to stick with the commonly installed Microsoft fonts.

That's it, you should now be able to compile and see your help text as you expect.