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This document describes the help system as implemented in Joomla 2.5 onwards. The help system in previous versions of Joomla was not the same and was considerably less versatile. In particular, help servers were restricted to being Joomla instances. The help system in Joomla 1.5 and earlier versions is documented elsewhere.
After a brief introduction to the Joomla help system, this document begins by describing how the help system works, which is something of general interest although written primarily for the benefit of site integrators who must customise Joomla installations. It then proceeds to describe how to set up your own help server, which is something that will be of interest to translators wanting to localise help screens and to third-party developers wanting to provide integrated help from their extensions. Finally, a more detailed description of how to add help support to Joomla extensions is aimed at developers.
The Joomla help system provides context-sensitive information to users logged in to the Joomla Administrator. Generally help information is accessed by clicking on the help toolbar button located at the top right of almost all screens (Note that the toolbar button may be located elsewhere if you are not using one of the administrator templates shipped with Joomla). Clicking on this toolbar button will open a new browser window with information relevant to the screen on which it was clicked.
A typical toolbar with a help button looks like this:
In addition, by clicking on the Help -> Joomla Help menu item, a list of help topics will be displayed. Clicking on any of these topic titles will bring up relevant information on the same page.
The help system can access information stored locally as part of the Joomla installation, or from a remote help server. It is fully multi-lingual and can be localised using one of the official translations, or by providing your own help information using a separately hosted help server. Third-party extension developers can integrate help information for components that they supply, either from the local component file structure, or from a remote help server. Furthermore, site integrators can override any or all help screens to fully customise a particular Joomla installation.