Configuring the Help Experience for Dynamics 365 Business Central

The default version of Business Central comes with conceptual overviews and other articles that publish to the https://docs.microsoft.com/dynamics365/business-central/ site. This location is then accessible from the Help menu and through the Learn More links in all tooltips. Each extension that you add will include its own tooltips and links to Help. But what if you want to deploy Business Central locally? Or if you have a vertical solution so that you want to refer your customers to your own website for Help? Or if you have a legacy Help collection based on the Dynamics NAV Help Server?

These and other scenarios are also supported in Business Central. But the options and possibilities are different, depending on your deployment scenario.

Apps for online tenants

When you build an app for inBusiness Central using the AL developer experience, you are expected to comply with the Business Central user assistance model. This includes tooltips and context-sensitive links to Help.

For more information, see User Assistance Model and Configure Context-Sensitive Help.

On-premises deployments

For deploying Business Central on-premises, you must choose between using the legacy Dynamics NAV Help Server or an online website. Help Server is a simple website that requires your Help to be in a specific format (HTML files), and the online website can host any content that you want to make available. Your choice depends on the concrete needs of your solution and your users.

Important

You can configure each client to use either an online library or Help Server. If you add configuration for an online library, you must remove the settings for Help Server.

Online library

If you want to use a website that is not based on Help Server, then you must specify the URL in the settings for the Web client and the Windows client, if your company uses this legacy client. The website does not have to be publicly accessible, but it must be accessible to all users of the solution that it support.

For the Web client, which is accessed by users from a browser or from the mobile apps, the navsettings.json file must contain the following settings:

    "//BaseHelpUrl":  "The location of Help for this application.",
    "BaseHelpUrl": "https://mysite.com/{0}/documentation/",
    "//DefaultRelativeHelpPath":  "The Help article to look up if no other article can be found.",
    "DefaultRelativeHelpPath": "index",

For users who use the legacy Windows client connected to Business Central, the ClientUserSettings.config file must contain the following settings:

    <add key="BaseHelpUrl" value="https://mysite.com/{0}/documentation/" />
    <add key="DefaultRelativeHelpPath" value="index" />

Note

Replace the value of the BaseHelpUrl key with the URL for your own website, such as https://mysite.com/{0}/documentation/. The parameter, {0}, represents the locale of the browser that the user is using, such as en-us or da-dk, and is set automatically at runtime.

Help Server

If you want to use Help Server, then you must specify the server and port in the installation options. The Help Server website can also serve as a starting point for adding a library to your existing website, for example.

For the Web client, which is accessed by users from a browser or from the mobile apps, the navsettings.json file must contain the following settings:

    "//HelpServer": [
        "Name of the Dynamics NAV Help Server to connect to."
        ],
    "HelpServer": "https://myserver.com",
    "//HelpServerPort":  "The listening TCP port for the Dynamics NAV Help Server. Valid range: 1-65535",
    "HelpServerPort": "49000",

For users who use the legacy Windows client connected to Business Central, the ClientUserSettings.config file must contain the following settings:

    <add key="HelpServer" value="https://myserver.com" />
    <add key="HelpServerPort" value="49000" />

In both examples, https://myserver.com represents the URL to the Help Server instance. For more information, see Configuring Microsoft Dynamics NAV Help Server in the developer and ITpro content for Dynamics NAV.

Important

If you use Help Server, you must switch to the UI-to-Help mapping functionality that is described in Configure Context-Sensitive Help. The legacy Help lookup mechanism that hinges on .HTM files with filenames that reflect the object IDs, such as N_123.htm for the page object with the ID 123 is not supported in Business Central. For more information, see Adding page-level UI-to-Help mapping to the system table.

For guidance about how to generate HTML files for Help Server, see Extend, Customize, and Collaborate on the Help for Dynamics 365 Business Central. Optionally, you can choose to reuse the HTML and .HTM files that you used for Dynamics NAV in your online library or Help Server deployment.

You can still download the files that were made available for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017. The download consists of 45 CAB files with the content from the Dynamics NAV 2016 DVD rebranded to Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017. The download includes CAB files with the W1 application Help translated into each of the supported languages plus the local functionality for the country/region where that language is spoken. There are also CAB files with local functionality in English. The files were published as a single download so each administrator could choose exactly the files that they needed at the time. For more information, see Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2017 Classic Help Download.

However, you must switch to the UI-to-Help mapping functionality that is described in Configuring the Help Experience for Dynamics 365 Business Central. For more information, see Adding page-level UI-to-Help mapping to the system table.

Fork the Microsoft repos

If you want to customize or extend the Microsoft Help, you can fork our public repo for either the source repo in English (US) at https://github.com/MicrosoftDocs/dynamics365smb-docs, or one of the related repos with translations into the supported languages. For more information, see Extend, Customize, and Collaborate on the Help.

See Also

User Assistance Model
Adding Help Links from Pages, Reports, and XMLports
Working with Dynamics NAV Help Server
Configuring Microsoft Dynamics NAV Help Server
Migrate Legacy Help to the Business Central Format
Development of a Localization Solution
System Requirements
Resources for Help and Support
Blog post: Extending and customizing the Help
Blog post: Collaborate on content for Business Central
Docs Contributor Guide
Docs Authoring Pack for Visual Studio Code