Why Merge?
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Let's say you have a single project of 500 Topics with about 300 graphics. It may be starting to get a bit unwieldy, too big and slow? You might decide to split it into smaller help files and then join them together. In Help Authoring, this is called Merging.

One of the main benefits of merging is that you can modularize your help files. A classic example is an accounts program that has a help file for Invoicing, Sales etc. Your customers may purchase two out of three modules, so you only send them two help files. But then they could later buy the third module. In that case you need only send the third help file and because the three help files were originally merged, the third help file is automatically read in and accepted by the existing help files.

Choose your Master!

In order to achieve this, you need to designate a single project as your Master help file, then merge all the others with it. There are several steps to complete depending on whether you are merging WinHelp or HtmlHelp. But essentially, you list the files that will be merged, then in your Master project's contents, you include the contents of each of the other help files. Confused? Don't worry, this help file will lead you through it step by step in a moment.

Drawbacks of Merging

It's a little bit complex, and you need to maintain each project so that you don't get duplicate context strings or HelpID's. Also, if you are referencing your help file from an external application then you need to know the help file name and HelpID specific to each help file. This can be cumbersome. Also Browse Sequences in your Nonscroll region are Project specific, so they won't naturally continue to the next merged Project, but this may be how you would prefer it.

See Also

Merging HtmlHelp Projects

Merging WinHelp Projects

A Context String is a unique address that is used internally by the help file to find your Topic or Popup. An external application can also reference a page by it's Context String. A Context String can only contain the letters A to Z and the numbers 0 to 9 and the underscore character.b

Context Strings are used for file names in Html. Context Strings are automatically assigned when you add a new page, but you can change it if you don't like it by clicking on the "Properties" tab and changing it.
A HelpID is a unique number that every Topic and Popup page must have. It is automatically assigned. You can control what the next number to be used is by selecting "Project | Project Settings" and changing the Next HelpID.

HelpIDs are also used by external applications to access a page of your help file. In Visual Basic each control has a HelpContextID field into which you can type your HelpID. In Delphi or BC++ this property is called HelpContext.
The Nonscroll region is the area above the main Help Text where the title of your page is normally displayed. The Help Text area can contain as much text as you desire and will be scrolled as expected in the compiled help file. But the Nonscroll region will remain constant, never scrolling, as you scroll the main Help Text, hence its name.