Install custom Help Collection in SharePoint 2013

This post is a contribution from Aaron Maio, an engineer with the SharePoint Developer Support team

The article describes how to add custom help for SharePoint sites with out-of-box feature Custom Site Collection Helpin SharePoint 2010.

If you have packed your Help files in a CAB file, you can use HCINSTAL.EXE (in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\bin folder) to install your custom help collection.

In SharePoint 2013, HCINSTAL.EXE is discontinued. Instead, you need to install your custom Help Collection files with PowerShell Install-SPHelpCollection.

Install-SPHelpCollection starts actually a timer job to install all help files from a Help CAB file to a hidden site called Product Help Site . You can find the site with URL like http://your-ca-server/sites/Help. The Product Help library in this site contains all help collections installed.

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Properties are also changed. Here’s the SharePoint 2010 Help Collection properties

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Here’s SharePoint 2013 Help Collection properties:

 

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Noticed that a new property called SharePoint Version is added for SharePoint 2013. The SharePoint Version is set based on the <version> of manifest.xml file in a help CAB file.

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NOTE:

If you have an existing Help Collection and it’s <version> in manifest.xml is like this:

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The Help files will be installed correctly. However the help won’t show up in SharePoint 2013 sites. You need to change the Help Collection item property SharePoint Version to15 to make it work.

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