This section contains topics related to installing, configuring, and customizing the help system to work in different environments and products.

Help modes

The help system can run in three modes: workbench (normal), information center, and standalone. Workbench mode is used for serving help integrated with the product, usually via a Help menu. This mode also offers context help and the help view, which are not available in the two other modes. Standalone mode has the same goal as workbench mode, but is for products that are not eclipse-based (the help will be less integrated). Information center mode is used to serve help content to the masses over the Web. Consult the links above for details.

Rich Client Platform (RCP) support

The Help system is an optional Rich Client Platform (RCP) component. That is, it is not part of the minimal RCP, but can be added to it to provide help in your RCP application.

Product customization

Help provides preferences that products can use to customize the help system to their needs. These include ways to customize branding, appearance, turn on/off functionality, etc.


For products that offer a large number of help documents, the initial indexing phase that occurs when searching for the first time can be lengthy. To avoid this delay, you can pre-index your help contents and ship the pre-built index along with your documentation. This is a trade-off between performance (avoiding the indexing phase) and space (to store the index).