How To Open .CHM Files in Windows?

For developers, using a .chm file is as vital as using the code itself. The compressed HTML data in these files is easy to implement within your code as long as you can open it. But how to open .chm files in Windows Vista and other versions?


There are a few ways to open a CHM file. You can convert it or use a third-party app. And if you know the perfect method, you can open it the way it is. You need to know the proper steps no matter which process you wish to use.


Any form of the help file is like a blessing for the programmers. This is not because they are lazy, but it makes their performance more efficient.

What Is A .CHM file?


If you are new on the development front, you might not know about the .chm extensions. Microsoft Windows help has an online helping feature that collects different HTML pages. It is an HTML help feature for both new and veteran developers.


When you are coding, you will need additional software documentation. And to make this task easier, Microsoft Compiled HTML Help has been set up. It is a complete collection of images, texts, and even hyperlinks that you might need.


The file has all this data but in a compressed format. Since the name indicates, this compression of the document is performed in HTML format.


So, if you know how to open compiled HTML help files, your Windows program will become much lighter and more fluent.

Open Compiled HTML Help File


When you want to use a CHM file, you must download it. Since getting it is easy, then opening and using it should also be accessible, won’t it? Well, the answer is no. That is because .chm files are not your regular old file.


Instead, a CHM file is a specially compressed file. For usually compressed files, the documents are compressed in the preexisting format.


So, an image will have its pixels compressed, and the data type file will shorten its memory. But for a CHM file, the files are compressed in HTML format.


If you try to open your recently downloaded CHM file, a message similar to the one below might pop up.




how to open .chm files in Windows




As the error message asks you to retype the address, you might get confused. It is not that your internet connection is faulty. The downloaded help file is blocked from connecting to the internet by default.


And when that happens, the error message appears. If you want to stop it from occurring, you need to know the proper opening method of the files.

Methods To Try


Since CHM is a file extension, you can change it. But there are a few other ways to open them. Let us take a look at some of the best processes.

Use Default Browser


HTML format is the core nature of CHM files; it can be opened with a browser. In most cases, the best one to use is the default browser that you use.


Once you download the CHM file, it might already be able to use the browser to execute itself. But if your Windows server acts up and doesn’t select the browser automatically, use these steps to make it so.


Step 01: Open the folder containing the file with the CHM extension.


Step 02: Select the file and right-click on it.


Step 03: Within the drop-down menu, select the Open With option.




how to open .chm files in Windows




Step 04: A new menu will pop up, from which select the More apps option.




how to open .chm files in Windows




Step 05: From the available options, select your default browser.


Step 06: Now check the “Always use this app to open .chm files” option.




how to open .chm files in Windows




Step 07: Finally, click on OK to always open CHM files with your browser.

Unblock The Connection


CHM extension is often pre-recognized by your Windows server. If the downloaded CHM file is in its ZIP format, you can open it without much hassle.


To do such, you will have to unblock the file and let it get internet access. Here is how you can do that.


Step 01: Go to the folder with the downloaded CHM extension file.


Step 02: If the file is zipped, use the following steps to unzip it.



Step 02-a: Right-click on the zipped file.

Step 02-b: Click on the Extract here.


Step 02-c: Wait a few moments, and the file will be extracted in the folder with the original zipped folder.



Step 03: Find the extracted file with the CHM extension.


Step 04: Click on Properties.




how to open .chm files in Windows




Step 05: Under the General tab, you will find the Security section.


Step 06: Within this section, there should be the Unblock checkbox.




how to open .chm files in Windows




Step 07: Check the Unblock box and then select Apply.


Step 08: Now, close the Properties window.


Step 09: Once you double-click on the file with the CHM extension, it should open up.


Convert To PDF Format


Since CHM is an extension, one can change the file format and convert it to a PDF format. Simply changing the extension from .chm to .pdf will not do the trick.


You need proper steps like the following and use third-party software to complete the task.


Step 01: Open the browser.


Step 02: Search for PDFelement.


Step 03: Click on their official site and download the trial version or buy it.




how to open .chm files in Windows




Step 04: After the file is downloaded, install it.


Step 05: Once the installation is completed, open the folder that has the CHM file.


Step 06: Double click on the file.


Step 07: You might not be able to view the file content but click on the Print option among the options available on the top.




how to open .chm files in Windows




Step 08: As the Print dialogue window comes up, slide the Slider to the left within the General tab.


Step 09: Select Wondershare PDFelement as the printer.




how to open .chm files in Windows




Step 10: Wait for the program to open the file.


Step 11: Select the File option at the top left corner as the file is loaded.


Step 12: Select Save As and change the file format to PDF.


Step 13: Change the save directory if you want to.


Step 14: Go to the folder path you selected, and there should be the CHM file with a .pdf extension.


Step 15: Open the newly saved file using a PDF reader, or you can also open it using the PDFelement.


Final Words


Among all the possible help files available online, the ones in HTML format are the most used. And the best way to utilize such documents is via the Microsoft Compiled HTML Help files. As these files are already compressed in HTML format, you don’t need to do many things to implement them.


But many developers fail to open them and give up. Thus, one has to know how to open .chm files in Windows to use them. If you don’t know the proper way, you might change the compressed document. And if that happens, the file will end up doing more harm instead of help. Follow appropriate steps to make the process easier and more accessible.




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