Install custom Help Collection in SharePoint 2013

This post is a contribution from Aaron Maio, an engineer with the SharePoint Developer Support team

The article describes how to add custom help for SharePoint sites with out-of-box feature Custom Site Collection Help in SharePoint 2010.

If you have packed your Help files in a CAB file, you can use HCINSTAL.EXE (in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\bin folder) to install your custom help collection.

In SharePoint 2013, HCINSTAL.EXE is discontinued. Instead, you need to install your custom Help Collection files with PowerShell Install-SPHelpCollection.

Install-SPHelpCollection starts actually a timer job to install all help files from a Help CAB file to a hidden site called Product Help Site. You can find the site with URL like http://your-ca-server/sites/Help. The Product Help library in this site contains all help collections installed.



Properties are also changed. Here’s the SharePoint 2010 Help Collection properties


Here’s SharePoint 2013 Help Collection properties:



Noticed that a new property called SharePoint Version is added for SharePoint 2013. The SharePoint Version is set based on the <version> of manifest.xml file in a help CAB file.



If you have an existing Help Collection and it’s <version> in manifest.xml is like this:


The Help files will be installed correctly. However the help won’t show up in SharePoint 2013 sites. You need to change the Help Collection item property SharePoint Version to15 to make it work.


Comments (5)
  1. Carmen Nel says:

    Great article! Tnx!

  2. Dean Gross says:

    Can this be done in SharePoint Online? if not please state this clearly in this and all other posts that you publish. Thanks

  3. JEFFLIN [MSFT] says:

    I do not think this is possible with SPO as I do not see any direct replacement for the Install-SPHelpCollection cmdlet within the SharePoint Online Management Shell cmdlets.

    +1 your comment on stating if information applies to on-prem only or not. 🙂

  4. Andrew Zimmerman says:

    “You need to change the Help Collection item property SharePoint Version to15 to make it work.”
    Great news, how?

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