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  Help: WinXP: Index

The Index for Windows Help is similar to the index for a book. It lists keywords and phrases that you might be looking for. Each one may be related to several actual Help topics, which are listed below the phrase.

An index does not include all of the places a word is used. Only the places where the word is important to the topic are included. To look for all places where a word is used in a Help topic, you must use Search, which is covered later.

Another way to return to a topic is to use History. Very useful!

Help and Support: Index pane with article (WinXP)

Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step:  Help Index -WinXP

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn: to find a topic in Help Index
to find the Table of Contents entry for an article
to use History to return to an article

Windows Vista Icon: Windows 7 Icon: Win8 Icon: Win8.1 To work with Help in Windows Vista, Win7, Win8, or Win8.1, skip to Windows Vista, Win7, Win8 Help.

Start with: Icon: WinXP Help Help and Support Center is open.

  1. Left click Click on Button: Index in Help (WinXP) the Index button in the toolbar.
    The left pane changes to the keyword list.
  2. WinXP Help - Index - keyword=overviewType the letters  mous as your keyword in the text box in the Index pane (not the Search text box above it) .

    Notice how the list of keywords scrolls as you type each letter.

    The nearest match is mouse, which has quite a number of subtopics.

  3. Double Click Double-click overview in the list of keywords.
    The right pane changes to show the article. The left pane still shows the Index but the search word is now 'overview'. Unexpected!

    WinXP Help: Index: mouse - overview

    Once you have found an article, how can you tell where it is in the table of contents? There is a button for just that!

  4. WinXP Help: Mouse overview with table of contents

    Left click Click on the Locate in contents button Button: Locate in Contents in Help (WinXP) at the top of the right pane.

    The left pane changes to show the table of contents with this topic highlighted. Oh, you have been here before!

    TipYou must have an article displayed in the right pane for this to work, not one of the default title pages or lists of subtopics. You will find that some articles are not available from the table of contents!

    Remember that the topic Icon: Help - no subtopics (WinXP) Keyboard and mouse did not open the Mouse overview article itself. It opened a list of links, which included Mouse overview. So the article you were reading is not actually listed in the left pane at all. A bit confusing.

  5. Icon: Experiment Experiment with the Index.
    Click on the Index button Button: Index in Help (WinXP) to show the Index again.
    Think of some terms or phrases that you have questions about and try them in the keyword box.
    Are your words in the index? Do the topics that appear answer your questions?

    You will work with Search in the section on Paint Help.


All the time you are viewing various articles in Help, WinXP is keeping a list of what you have looked at. This is a very handy feature.

  1. Help: History (WinXP)Left click Click on Button: History in WinXP Help the History button.
    The left pane changes to show where you've been.
  2. Left click Click on one of the choices in the list.
    It is highlighted but the article is not displayed yet.
  3. Left click Click on Button: Display in WinXP Help the Display button at the bottom of the left pane.
    Both panes change to show the article you clicked.
    TipYou could double-click the item to display it immediately.
  4. Left click Click on Button: Back in WinXP Help the Back button. You are returned to History.

    TipClicking the small arrow beside the Back button opens a short list of previously viewed pages. History is always at the bottom of the list. When the page you want is too far back to show on the list, click on History to see the longer list.

  5. Close the Help and Support window by clicking the Close button in the upper right corner of the window.