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Select "Tools | Variables" to open the Variables screen. On the left is a list of all your variables. On the top right is description of the current variable and below this is the text that will replace this variable.

So what is a Variable?

It is any text that might change in future. For example, let's say you place your telephone number in 20 different topics, but you know that you will be moving offices in a couple of months. You could then to the following:-

  1. Click [Add] and type in "TelephoneNumber" and click [OK]
  2. In the "Replace With" section type in "555-111-222" and Click [OK]
  3. In your help text position your cursor where you want this variable to appear and select "Insert | Variable". Select "TelephoneNumber" from the list and click [Insert]
  4. Now compile. You will see that the variable has been replaced with your phone number.
  5. Now select "Tools | Variables", select the "TelephoneNumber" variable and change the Replace with text to a new phone number. You can also format it, add color etc.
  6. Now re-compile. You can see that it has changed. This can be a real time saver, especially if you have lots of pages with text that can change.

Reserved Variables and Website help

When compiling Website help, the Search tab contains three items of text that you can manage for each Project with the use of Variables. These three reserved variables are as follows:


The caption of the button next to the search box


The text that begins "Type in your search text..."


When using a browser such as Chrome, the search feature will only work once your website has been uploaded to the internet, i.e. using "http://". If your website is local, i.e. using "file:///" as the protocol, then a message will appear saying it will not work locally.

Your search results will also contain two items of text that you might like to customize, they are also reserved variables as follows:-


The text that shows how many pages were found for the search text.


The text that begins "There were no search results..."

Hints for Website Tabs

There are three tabs available in Website Help, Contents, Index and Search. When you pass your mouse over each one a hint appears. You can customize those hints by adding the following reserved variables and using your own hints in the "Replace With" text.


The Hint for the Contents tab.


The Hint for the Index tab.


The Hint for the Search tab.

Hints for Next and Previous Topic Browse Buttons

In HtmlHelp and in Website Help, if you have checked the Include Browse Buttons option, you will see a left and right button at the top of your page. When you pass your mouse over these buttons it will display "Next Topic" and "Previous Topic" hints respectively. You can change these hints by adding the following reserved variables. The text in the "Replace With" field will appear as your new hint.


The Hint for the Next Topic browse button.


The Hint for the Previous Topic browse button.

PocketPC End of Topic Links

When compiling a PocketPC help file, there is an option to add two links to the end of each page. Fast-Help looks for the following reserved variables:


The link text for jumping to the "Contents"


The link text for jumping to the "Index"

General Reserved Variables

You may find the need to insert the date your topic was modified, or perhaps the HelpID of your page. These are all reserved variables and are ready for your use. For example, to insert the HelpID into your page, type in and when you compile, it will be replaced with the actual HelpID of your page. This is very useful if you want to refer to the Website version of your help file. For example, the HelpID for this page in the Fast-Help file is 10226. We have compiled this help file as a Website file and uploaded it to our website. We could create a link at the end of each page as follows:

But then we would have to remember to update the HelpID. We could also paste the following:

and when we compile it would replace the HelpID with the relevant link. This is just an example of how you could use Reserved Variables. A full list of the General Reserved Variables is below:

The Title of your Topic/Popup.

The HelpID of your page. You can see the HelpID and other properties from the "Properties" tab, below the editor.

The ContextString of your page.

The date your page was compiled.

The time your page was compiled at.

The date and time your page was compiled at.

The date your page was last modified.

The date and time your page was last modified.

You can also use the General Reserved Variables in Titles and Keywords and in Html blocks that appear as a yellow <TAG>.