37 Responses

  1. David Dashifen Kees
    David Dashifen Kees Published |

    Thanks for this! I’ve often wondered how this worked and will indeed begin to include help on stuff I write. Most of my work is custom stuff focused on one particular client rather than generalized plugins that can be distributed, but that doesn’t mean I want to get 2 AM phone calls from clients who need me to explain this or that capability of something I made them!

    Reply
  2. Andrew Nacin
    Andrew Nacin Published |

    You can also use add_contextual_help() — easier to use than the filter. Assuming the following code is attached to the admin_menu hook, try this:

    $my_theme_page = add_theme_page( ... );
    add_contextual_help( $my_theme_page, 'My help text.' );
    Reply
  3. Clement
    Clement Published |

    nice guide.. i’ve followed everything but at the end i cant find $my_theme_page. ??? What’s my problem? Any mistakes I’ve done or I went to the wrong page?

    Reply
  4. Rarst
    Rarst Published |

    Good finishing touch is to automagically open contextual help when user visits page for the first time (or is having issues, etc).

    I got answers with couple handy JS snippets for that on WPSE:

    http://wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/10810/how-to-control-contextual-help-section-by-code

    Reply
  5. Diana K C
    Diana K C Published |

    Thanks Justin, that is very helpful!

    Reply
  6. Kate Phizackerley
    Kate Phizackerley Published |

    Thanks, I’ll roll that into the next release of my published plugin and incorporate into those being readied for publication.

    You might like to consider using get_plugins() to read plugin details so that the plugin site URL can be read from the readme instead of duplicating it.

    Reply
  7. Damian Konopka
    Damian Konopka Published |

    Justin, found your post via Summify. Best one yet, hands down. I’ve PAID for WP ebooks that didn’t give me anywhere near such directly actionable info (none of your books :).

    Thank you in the grand spirit of sharing WordPress expertise…already coded for my most difficult client’s site, thank you thank you thank you. Works like a charm or three.

    I love to see writers (especially popular/published folks) quickly and thoughtfully respond to insightful comments from their readers. I can only imagine how busy you are…awesome how you handled the standout additions from Andrew N. (oh yeah, thanks Andrew!) Too many times I’ve seen (pop/pub) authors dismiss or ignore critical remarks about a particular post. Never understood that. Thanks for reaffirming my faith in blogging this morning.

    Reply
  8. Shawn
    Shawn Published |

    Great post Justin….looking forward to trying this out…

    Reply
  9. Mike
    Mike Published |

    Hey Justin,

    First, I would like to say that I just recently found your site and I’m liking your articles tremendously.

    Now on to this post in particular; I think this is a step in the right direction for plugin and theme developers. I’m a strong believer that the better your documentation, the better received your software product will be.

    No one wants to hunt down how to use a particular function in your piece of software. The more hoops that you make the end user jump through, the less likely they are going to continue using your software; no matter how much it fits their needs. They will either change their requirements, or find another plugin or theme that has better documentation included.

    This doesn’t mean to say that all of the information for the help needs to be included in the plugin/theme itself… Using the contextual help menu allows for quick and easy access to the help and support that ANY user will need. No more searching for answers… No more attrition of users.. Think of the customer loyalty that you can build by making yourself, the programmer/designer, more accessible to the user for any issues that may arise from the use of your plugin/theme.

    Way to go! This is definitely a step in the right direction. I commend your efforts.

    Reply
  10. WordPress Community Links: Used to be Flare9 edition | WPCandy
  11. Filipina blogger
    Filipina blogger Published |

    This is awesome.. It will be easier for us bloggers/writers who are not technically knowledgeable with coding and programming.

    Reply
  12. Chuck Reynolds
    Chuck Reynolds Published |

    So the “current admin screen” was difficult to figure out because as far as I can tell there’s no real documentation on what the screens are called… unless I totally missed it. It seemed obvious after the fact but “settings_page_” wasn’t clearly obvious… something that should be listed.

    Anyways.. got mine up and running; now just have to write good help documentation.

    Cheers

    Reply
  13. Neil
    Neil Published |

    Nicely stated Justin. The more you give a client to learn from the less they return to you with questions.

    A thought on that, for any creatives out there reading this: Why not build a simple Documentation plugin that accepts generic parameters? In a way it would likely work like a FAQ but be able to be called with the same ease as get_option().

    Just thinking outside the box for a portable, easy to implement solution.

    Now, as a master in the english language, Justin, I’m actually surprised you didn’t make a comment or three about effective documentation writing techniques. Not everyone is a writer and programmers are certainly amongst the many who simply shouldn’t.

    Reply
  14. Michael
    Michael Published |

    Justin – another excellent article and so useful to have all this information all in one place – I hope a linkback to this page is added to the codex – I have yet to find a better tut on the topic :)

    Reply
  15. Tomaz
    Tomaz Published |

    Thanks Justin, nice guide indeed!

    Reply
  16. Robb
    Robb Published |

    Thought it’s just the opinion of Robb, I do say kudos for the progress on contextual help.

    As blogging continues to move into being commonplace for the masses of everyday users, these types of improvements will be what enables things to move ahead gracefully.

    Reply
  17. Ganar Dinero
    Ganar Dinero Published |

    Thanks Justin, that nice guide is very helpful!

    Reply
  18. Lyn S.
    Lyn S. Published |

    Very clever! We really need an elaborate help instructions. I bet more developers will be inspired by this!

    Reply
  19. Random Joe
    Random Joe Published |

    I added cont. help to theme, works great, i am satisfied, clients too :)

    Reply
  20. anakart
    anakart Published |

    Nice! That will definitely help developers.

    Reply
  21. David Ewing
    David Ewing Published |

    Justin, this is awesome! Is there a way to add video instead of text?

    Reply
  22. daniel larsson
    daniel larsson Published |

    Really usefull I was looking for contextual help. Thanks!

    Reply
  23. Sydney
    Sydney Published |

    Thanks for the guide! I always rush though this type of things when programming. I found this very useful.

    Reply
  24. Whaze
    Whaze Published |

    I was looking for this tutorial thanks google which bring me here, now i will put it to my blog thanks Justin Tadlock very helpful for me.

    Reply
  25. Omnia
    Omnia Published |

    Than You Justin! This article was very helpful to me!

    Reply
  26. WPSmith | Adding Contextual Help Tab to Edit/Add New Post/Page
  27. Sergios
    Sergios Published |

    Great article Justin,
    Is there a way to add new custom named tab which will be displayed on all pages within WordPress admin?

    Reply
  28. Visser Labs
    Visser Labs Published |

    Thanks for this Justin! That method for extracting the current screen name came in handy when detecting Pages within WP e-Commerce’s Admin menu entry. :)

    Reply
  29. Kirk Ward
    Kirk Ward Published |

    Thanks Justin, this solved a big problem for me on how to update help files across a multisite network. I had been using a plugin, and editing each site was a pain in the gazitchka.

    I would like to enhance it a bit, if possible, so I have a question.

    Is there a way to modify the color of the contextual help tab so it stands out a bit from the bland background that Wordpress comes with? A red, yellow, or goldenrod tab would add a lot to the useability … mainly by allowing it to be easily recognized by less than observant users.

    Reply

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