Step-by-step guide: How to download and install Microsoft's HTML Help Workshop compiler

In order to generate documentation in CHM format, you must first download and install Microsoft’s HTML Help Workshop compiler. This free compiler allows you to use HelpNDoc to generate CHM help files on Windows.

Access HelpNDoc options

Step 1 - Download the installer

In HelpNDoc, click File then select Options.

Download Microsoft HTML Help Workshop

This displays the ‘HelpNDoc Options’ window.

Click Download to the right of ‘Microsoft HTML Help Workshop’ path to download the installation software from Microsoft’s web-site.

Alternatively, it can be downloaded from

This will download the htmlhelp.exe software installer.

Accept end-user license agreement

Step 2 - Install Microsoft HTML Help Workshop

Run the htmlhelp.exe software you’ve downloaded. This displays the license agreement. After you review it, click Yes.

Install Microsoft HTML Help Workshop
This display a window, inquiring whether you’d like to install the compiler. Click Yes.
Choose installation path
This displays a window that shows the directory into which the file will be installed. To use this folder, click OK. To select another one, click Browse and navigate to the desired folder. Then, click OK. This returns you to the setup window with the updated path displayed. Click OK.
Unimportant warning message

This may display a message, indicating that a newer version of HTML Help is installed. This message is referring to the CHM Viewer that was already on your computer on any recent version of Microsoft Windows; it is not referring to the compiler that you just installed.

Click OK.

Successful installation
This displays a message, confirming that you successfully installed HTML Help Workshop. Click OK.

Update HelpNDoc options

Step 3 - Complete the setup

Return to the ‘HelpNDoc Options’ window.

Confirm that the path to the compiler you defined (above) is displayed.

If the path is not accurately displayed, click the button on the far right to navigate to it.

Warning: Make sure the path ends with hhc.exe as any other file will cause the generation process to fail.

Click OK.

The Microsoft HTML Help Workshop software is required in order to generate CHM help files. It is free and easy to download and setup in HelpNDoc.