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Microsoft KB Archive/83233

From BetaArchive Wiki

F1CDHelp.exe Uses Keyboard Hook to Access Help


The information in this article applies to:

  • Microsoft Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) 3.1


F1CDHELP is a file in the Microsoft Software Library that demonstrates how an application can implement context sensitive help for the dialog boxes provided by the dynamic-link library (DLL) COMMDLG.DLL (the common dialog box DLL). When the user presses the F1 key, the application calls Windows Help.

The recommended user interface for an application to provide access to Windows Help is through the F1 key. This article describes a technique that can be used with the common dialog box DLL to bring up context sensitive help for each dialog box. The sample uses the SetWindowsHookEx() function to set a task-specific keyboard hook, which monitors keyboard input and responds to the F1 key.

Because this application uses a task-specific hook, the hook function code resides in the application's .EXE file and is not required to be in a fixed code page in a DLL. (The filter function for each system- wide hook must be in a DLL.)


The following files are available for download from the Microsoft Download Center:


For additional information about how to download Microsoft Support files, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

Q119591 How to Obtain Microsoft Support Files from Online Services

Microsoft used the most current virus detection software available on the date of posting to scan this file for viruses. Once posted, the file is housed on secure servers that prevent any unauthorized changes to the file.

The technique used in this article is straightforward and minimizes the number of global variables required. The application installs the keyboard hook and calls the RegisterWindowMessage() function to define a help message. When an application registers the help message, the common dialog box DLL notifies the application each time the user chooses the Help button in one of the common dialog boxes. The DLL sends the help message to the window procedure of the dialog box's parent window.

When the keyboard hook function detects that the F1 key is pressed, it posts a WM_COMMAND message to the appropriate window procedure. In the F1CDHELP example, the message is posted either to the main window (when no dialog box is displayed) or to the dialog box's window procedure. If the message is posted to one of the common dialog boxes, wParam is set to pshHelp; the application simulates choosing the Help button in the common dialog box. Otherwise, wParam is set to IDM_HELPCONTENTS; the application simulates selecting a menu item in the application.

The following code demonstrates installing the hook and registering the help message in response to a WM_CREATE message:

   case WM_CREATE:
      // Install the keyboard hook

      lpfnKbrdHook = MakeProcInstance((FARPROC)KeyboardHook, ghInst);
      ghKbrdHook = SetWindowsHookEx(WH_KEYBOARD, lpfnKbrdHook,
                                    ghInst, GetCurrentTask());

      // Register the help message. The common dialog box DLL sends this
      // message when the user chooses the Help file in a common
      // dialog box.
      gwHelpMsg = RegisterWindowMessage((LPSTR)HELPMSGSTRING);

The following code demonstrates removing the keyboard hook in response to a WM_DESTROY message:

   case WM_DESTROY:

The hook function receives notification about the F1 key and posts a message as appropriate:

DWORD FAR PASCAL KeyboardHook(int iCode, WPARAM wParam, LPARAM lParam)
   if (iCode < 0 || iCode != HC_ACTION)
      return CallNextHookEx(ghKbrdHook, iCode, wParam, lParam);

   if (wParam == VK_F1)

      // If this is a repeat or the key is being released, ignore it.
      if (lParam & 0x80000000 || lParam & 0x40000000)
         return CallNextHookEx(ghKbrdHook, iCode, wParam, lParam);
         if (IsWindowEnabled(ghWnd)) // F1 pressed in main window?
            PostMessage(ghWnd, WM_COMMAND, IDM_HELPCONTENTS, 0L);
         else                        // F1 pressed in a dialog box
            PostMessage(GetActiveWindow(), WM_COMMAND, pshHelp, 0L);

   return CallNextHookEx(ghKbrdHook, iCode, wParam, lParam);

The second PostMessage() call above is executed when the user requests help in a specific common dialog box. This simulates choosing the Help button in the dialog box. Because the application registered the help message (during the processing of its WM_CREATE message), the common dialog box DLL will send the gwHelpMessage to the parent window procedure. An application can process this message as follows:

      if (message == gwHelpMsg)  // Help requested in a common dialog
                                 // box
      // The lParam points to an OPENFILENAME or a CHOOSECOLOR data
      // structure. The application can differentiate between them by
      // checking the structure's size, which is in the first four
      // bytes (a DWORD) of the structure. This allows the application
      // to display different help for each of the common dialog boxes.

      dwStructSize = (DWORD)(*(LPDWORD)lParam);

      switch (dwStructSize)
         case sizeof(OPENFILENAME):
            MessageBox((HWND)wParam, "Help requested for OpenFile",
                       gszAppName, MB_OK);

         case sizeof(CHOOSECOLOR):
            MessageBox((HWND)wParam, "Help requested for ChooseColor"
                       gszAppName, MB_OK);

      else // Not a help message
         return DefWindowProc(hWnd, message, wParam, lParam); 

Additional query words:

Keywords : _IK kbfile kbsample kb16bitonly kbHook kbGrpDSUser kbOSWin310
Issue type :
Technology : kbAudDeveloper kbWin3xSearch kbSDKSearch kbWinSDKSearch kbWinSDK310

Last Reviewed: December 5, 1999
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