Microsoft Help Viewer
This article applies to Visual Studio 2015. If you're looking for the latest Visual Studio documentation, use the version selector at the top left. We recommend upgrading to Visual Studio 2019. Download it here
You can install and view content for various products and technologies on your local computer by using Microsoft Help Viewer.
When you install Visual Studio, you get the Help Viewer. To start reading help topics in the Help Viewer rather than on the MSDN download site, go to the Help menu in Visual Studio, select Set Help Preference, and then select Launch in Help Viewer. The off-line help topics for a given version of Visual Studio are available only after the final release of that version.
You can do the following:
Find and download sets of content, which are also referred to as books.
Browse and search the table of contents to find topics by title.
Look up subjects in the index.
Find information by using full-text search.
View, bookmark, and print topics.
Navigating the Help Viewer
You can find information in installed content by using the navigation tabs, view installed content in the topic tab or tabs, and manage content by using the Manage Content tab. You can also perform additional tasks by using the buttons on the toolbar and find additional information in the lower-right corner of the window.
|Navigation||By using the Contents tab, you can display installed content as a hierarchy and specify criteria to filter the titles that appear.
By using the Search tab, you can search for terms anywhere in the content, including code and topic titles.
By using the Index tab, you can search the index, specify criteria to filter the entries, and require that index entries either contain or start with text that you specify.
By using the Favorites tab, you can save links to topics that you use frequently, and you can display a list of topics that you've viewed recently.
|Topic viewing||Each topic appears in a tab, and you can open multiple topics at the same time.|
|Managing content||You can install, update, move, and delete content by using the Manage Content tab. At the top of the tab, you can use the Installation source control to specify whether to install books from a network location or from a disk or URI. The Local store path box shows where books are installed on the local computer, and you can move them to a different location by choosing the Move button.
The content list shows which books you can install or have already installed, whether an update is available, and how large each book is. You can install or remove one or more books by choosing the appropriate Add or Remove links and then choosing the Update button under the Pending changes pane. If updates are available for any books that you've already installed, you can refresh that content by choosing the Click here to download now link at the bottom of the window. In addition, all installed books will be refreshed if updates are available when you install additional books. Note: The functionality of the Manage Content tab may differ if the Help Viewer administrator deactivates these features, or if no internet access is available.
The toolbar in the Help Viewer window contains the following buttons:
The Show Topic in Contents button shows the location of the topic in the Contents tab.
The Add to Favorites button adds the active topic to the Favorites tab.
The Find in Topic button highlights search text in the active topic.
The Print button prints or shows a preview of the active topic.
The Viewer Options button displays settings such as how large the text appears, how many search results to return, how many topics to show in history, and whether to check for updates online.
The Manage Content button makes the Manage Content tab active.
The small triangle opens a list of tabs, including topic tabs and the Manage Content tab. You can make any of those tabs active by choosing it.
The lower area of the Help Viewer window contains information about the total size of pending downloads, the amount of disk space that they require, and the amount of disk space that's available. This area also contains information about errors that may have occurred and a link that you can choose to refresh installed content, if updates are available.