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Open Windows Help files on a specific topic

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created July 8, 2003 · complexity intermediate · author David Fishburn · version 6.0

In Windows XP or similar, you can have Vim open a chm (HTML Help) file at a specific topic. The following example launches the ASA9 Help file on the CWORD at the cursor, or at the visually-selected topic.

nnoremap <C-F1> :silent! !cmd.exe /c start keyhh.exe -\#klink "<C-R><C-W>" "$ASANY9\docs\dbmaen9.chm"<CR><CR>
vnoremap <C-F1> :<C-U>let old_reg=@"<CR>gvy:silent!!cmd.exe /cstart keyhh.exe -\#klink "<C-R><C-R>"" "$ASANY9\docs\dbmaen9.chm"<CR><CR>:let @"=old_reg<CR>:echo ""<CR>

The nnoremap opens the help file using the <CWORD> that the cursor is on.

The vnoremap allows you to visually select a block of text and open the search window with that text. It also restores whatever was previously visually selected after the launch.

If you use the map repeatedly, the same HTML Help window will be used.

Download keyhh.exe (free) from


It would be really cool to use this as your keywordprg (:help 'keywordprg').

Unfortunately keywordprg requires that the keyword become the last argument to the program. Moreover the keywordprg is run through vimrun which requires you to close the command prompt that launch the program manually (the "Press any key to close this window" message).

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