Although I am involved with content creation (meaning I write the stuff) and not the actual publishing mechanisms for MSDN documentation, I've still heard the rumblings about the new help experience with Visual Studio 2010. A lot of folks don't like the separate browser-based experience for viewing offline documentation.

Today I learned about an extension to Visual Studio that allows you to view the help in the same tabbed, VS browser-based experience that many of you (and me too) are used to. The extension, called HelpViewKeywordIndex is available in the Visual Studio Gallery. Here's a link.

You simply download and install it and then when you want to use help in Visual Studio, select the Help Viewer Keyword Index menu option off the Help menu:

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The first time you use Help Viewer Keyword Index, select the Options tab and make sure Use the embedded VS browser and Display TOC in page are selected.

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Now, when you select a topic, via one of the other tabs, you will get an experience very similar to VS 2008. Here’s a screenshot showing the main Silverlight page and the TOC, integrated on a Visual Studio tab.

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And finally, if you are thinking, “offline help, what offline help?”, see my previous post.

--Cheryl