Using the new PDF help file for 12d Model 12

Improved Help in 12d Model 12

One of the new changes introduced with the latest version of 12d Model, 12d Model 12 (aka V12), is that the help file for the software now ships as a PDF help file.  In previous versions, it was shipped as a WinHelp (.hlp) file, but Microsoft no longer supports this format and has made it difficult to install a compatible viewer in recent versions of Windows (8, 8.1 and 10). Shipping a PDF help file- it is installed, by default, with the 12d Model software- means the file is much easier to view and print, but introduces some extra configuration steps.

In this post, I’ll describe using the new PDF help file in 12d Model 12, briefly touching on how to configure the viewer.  However, the main focus will be on integrating the PDF file as context-sensitive help within Notepad++ (a text editor) and Code::Blocks (an IDE).  These programs are often used by advanced users for development and customisation.

Configuring 12d Model

This is mostly described in the “What’s New in 12d Model 12?” document circulated with the official 12d Model release, so I won’t cover too much of the same ground.  Basically, there are two environment variables that control the use of the PDF help file in 12d Model 12.

If this variable is enabled (value = 1), the PDF file will be used instead of the older HLP file.  In future releases, this variable may default to use the PDF file.

The second variable controls the PDF viewer software used by 12d Model 12 to open the PDF help file.  Simply set the value to the location of the PDF viewer executable.

The PDF help files are in the Help sub-directory of the 12d Model installation.  Typically, something like:

That’s pretty much all there is to it on the 12d Model side.  However, there are a few important notes on usage, so please read the release notes for full details.

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