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Writing Help for a Script Workflow

Published: June 24, 2013

Updated: June 24, 2013

Applies To: Windows PowerShell 3.0, Windows PowerShell 4.0, Windows Server 2012 R2



This topic explains how to provide help topics for the script workflows that you author. For general information about writing help for commands in a module, see How to Write Help for Windows PowerShell Modules in the MSDN Library.

The Get-Help cmdlet gets help for commands in modules, including the script workflows in modules. To write help topics for the script workflows that you author, use the following procedure.

  1. Include the script workflow in a script module (.psm1).

  2. Use the XML-based cmdlet help topic format to write a help topic for the script workflow.

  3. Add an .ExternalHelp comment that specifies the name of the XML-based cmdlet help topic for the workflow.

Comment-based help is not supported in workflows, except for the .ExternalHelp comment that identifies the help file for the workflow.

There are no requirements for the file names of help topics for script modules. The recommended name format is as follows:

<Script-module-base-name>.psm1-help.xml

For example, the recommended help file for the DeploymentWorkflow.psm1 script module is as follows.

DeploymentWorkflow.psm1-help.xml

To enable the Get-Help cmdlet to locate the help topic for the script workflow, use an .ExternalHelp comment. The follow example shows an .ExternalHelp comment for in a script workflow in the DeploymentWorkflow.psm1 script module.

#.ExternalHelp DeploymentWorkflow.psm1-help.xml
Workflow New-Package
{
     ...
}
Workflow Set-Package
{
     ...
}

For more information about using the .ExternalHelp comment, see about_Comment_Based_Help.

The Online parameter of the Get-Help cmdlet opens the online version of the help topic for a command in the user's default Internet browser. The Online parameter gets the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) for the online help topic from the HelpUri property of the command.

To supply a value for the HelpUri property of a script workflow, add the HelpUri attribute of the CmdletBinding attribute, as shown in the following example. This is the same technique that is used to add the HelpUri attribute to an advanced function.

 #.ExternalHelp DeploymentWorkflow.psm1-help.xml
Workflow New-Package
{
    [CmdletBinding(HelpURI="http://www.fabrikam.com/?TopicID=NewPackage")]

    Param ([Parameter]$ServerName)
     ...
}

To verify that the HelpUri property value is effective, use the Get-Command cmdlet to get the HelpUri property of the script workflow.

Workflow New-Package
{
    [CmdletBinding(HelpURI="http://www.fabrikam.com/?LinkID=242132")]

    Param ([Parameter]$ServerName)          
}

PS C:\> (Get-Command Deploy-Update).HelpUri
http://www.fabrikam.com/?TopicID=NewPackage

For more information about supporting online help for the commands in a module, see Supporting Online Help in the MSDN Library.

The Update-Help and Save-Help cmdlets download the newest help files for a module from the Internet or a file share and install them on the local computer. You can provide updated help topics for the workflows in a script module by using the same procedure you use for types of command in the module.

For more information about supporting Updatable Help for the commands in a module, see Supporting Online Help in the MSDN Library.

See Also

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