Microsoft Compiled HTML Help (CHM)

Microsoft Compiled HTML Help is a Microsoft proprietary online help format, consisting of a collection of HTML pages, an index and other navigation tools. The files are compressed and deployed in a binary format with the extension .CHM, for Compiled HTML. The format is often used for software documentation.

It was introduced as the successor to Microsoft WinHelp with the release of Windows 98 and is still supported in Windows 7. Although the format was designed by Microsoft, it has been successfully reverse-engineered and is now supported in many document viewer applications.


Month Year Description
February 1996 Microsoft announces plans to stop development of WinHelp and start development on HTML Help.
August 1997 HTML Help 1.0 (HH 1.0) is released with Internet Explorer 4.
February 1998 HTML Help 1.1a ships with Windows 98.
January 2000 HTML Help 1.3 ships with Windows 2000.
July HTML Help 1.32 releases with Internet Explorer 5.5 and Windows Me.
October 2001 HTML Help 1.33 releases with Internet Explorer 6 and Windows XP.
March At the WritersUA (formerly WinWriters) conference, Microsoft announces plans for a new help platform, Help 2, which is also HTML based.
January 2003 Microsoft decides not to release Microsoft Help 2 as a general Help platform.

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