Yelp Help Browser


The Yelp Help Browser application allows you to view documentation regarding GNOME and other components through a variety of formats. These formats include docbook files, HTML help pages, man pages and info pages (support for man pages and info pages may optionally be compiled in). Despite the different formats supported, Yelp does its best to provide a unified look and feel regardless of the original document format.

Yelp Help Browser is internationalised, meaning that it has support to view documents in different languages. The documents must be localised or translated for each language and installed properly for Yelp Help Browser to be able to view them.

Starting Yelp

To Start Yelp Help Browser

You can start Yelp Help Browser in the following ways:

System Menu

Choose Help

Command Line

Execute the following command: yelp


When you start Yelp Help Browser, you will see the following window appear.

Figure 7.1. Yelp Help Browser Window

Yelp Help Browser contains the following elements in Figure 7.1, “Yelp Help Browser Window”


Use this menu to Open a New Window, view the About this Document page, Print the current document, or Close the window.


Use this menu to Copy, Select all, Find..., or to set your Preferences.


Use this menu to navigate Back, Forward, to the Help Topics page. When viewing a DocBook document, use this menu to navigate to the Next Section, Previous Section or to the Contents.


Use this menu to Add Bookmark(s), or Edit Bookmark(s).


View information about Yelp Help Browser and contributors to the project through the About menuitem. Open this document with the Contents menuitem or by pressing F1.


Use this button to navigate back in your document history.


Use this button to navigate forward in your document history.

Help Topics

Use this button to return to the main table of contents (shown in Figure 7.1, “Yelp Help Browser Window”)

Browser Pane

The browser pane is where you will be presented with the table of contents or the documentation. Use the table of contents to navigate to the documentation you need.

Using Yelp

Open a Document

To open a document in Yelp Help Browser, use the Table of Contents to navigate to the desired document

Alternatively, you may view a particular document by invoking Yelp Help Browser from the command line. Please see Using the Command Line to Open Documents.

Open a New Window

To open a new window:

  • Click File->New Window

  • Use the key combination Ctrl+N

About This Document

To view information about the currently open document:

  • Click File->About This Document


This option is only available for DocBook documentation. Legal notices and documentation contributors are usually listed in this section.

Print a Page

To print any page that you are able to view in Yelp Help Browser:

  • Click File->Print this Page

Print a Document

To print an entire document:

  • Click File->Print this Document


This option is only available for DocBook documentation.

Close a Window

To close a window in Yelp Help Browser, do the following:

  • Click File->Close Window

  • Use the key combination Ctrl+W

Set Preferences

To set your preferences in Yelp Help Browser:

  • Click Edit->Preferences

A window will appear that looks like Figure 7.2, “Yelp Help Browser Preferences Window”:

Figure 7.2. Yelp Help Browser Preferences Window

The options that are available in this dialog have the following functions:

Use system fonts

Check this option to display documentation using the default fonts used by the GNOME Desktop.

To choose your own fonts to display documentation, uncheck this option and click on the buttons next to the text Variable Width or Fixed Width.

Variable Width

This is the font to use when a static or fixed width font is not required. The majority of text will be of this type.

Fixed Width

This is the font to use when all text characters need to be of the same size. This font is usually used to indicate commands, program blocks, or other text that falls under these categories.

Browse with caret

Click this option if you would like see a caret or cursor in the Yelp Browser Pane. This allows you to browse the document more easily by showing where the cursor is located in the document.

Go Back in Document History

To go back in the document history:

  • Click Go->Back

  • Use the key combination Alt+Left

  • Use the Back button in the Toolbar

Go Forward in Document History

To go forward in the document history:

  • Click Go->Forward

  • Use the key combination Alt+Right

  • Use the Forward button in the Toolbar

Go to Help Topics

To go to the Help Topics:

  • Click Go->Help Topics

  • Use the key combination Alt+Home

  • Use the Help Topics button in the Toolbar

Go to Previous Section

To go to the previous section:

  • Click Go->Previous Section

  • Use the key combination Alt+Up


This option is only available in DocBook formatted documents.

Go to Next Section

To go to the next section:

  • Click Go->Next Section

  • Use the key combination Alt+Down


This option is only available in DocBook formatted documents.

Go to Contents

To go to the contents for a document:

  • Click Go->Contents


This option is only available in DocBook formatted documents.

Add a Bookmark

To add a bookmark for a particular document:

  • Click Bookmarks->Add Bookmark

  • Use the key combination Ctrl+D

A window will appear that looks like Figure 7.3, “Add Bookmark Window”.

Figure 7.3. Add Bookmark Window

Enter your desired bookmark title in to the Title text entry field. Then click Add to add the bookmark, or click Cancel to cancel the request.

Edit Bookmarks

To edit your collection of bookmarkst:

  • Click Bookmarks->Edit Bookmarks...

  • Use the key combination Ctrl+B

A window will appear that looks like Figure 7.4, “Edit Bookmarks Window”.

Figure 7.4. Edit Bookmarks Window

You can manage your bookmarks using this window in the following ways:


Use this button to open the selected bookmark in a new window.


Use this button to rename the title of your bookmark.


Use this button to delete the bookmark from your collection.

Once you are finished managing your bookmarks, click the Close button to exit the Edit Bookmarks Window.

Get Help

To get help using Yelp Help Browser (and see this document):

  • Click Help->Contents

Advanced Features

Using the Command Line to Open Documents

Yelp Help Browser supports opening documents from the command line. There are a number of URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers) that can be used. These include:


Use this URI when you want to access a file with yelp, for example:

yelp file:///usr/share/gnome/help/gcalctool/C/gcalctool.xml
ghelp: or gnome-help:

Use this URI when you want to access GNOME help documents, which are typically written in DocBook format.

yelp ghelp:gcalctool

If you want to open the help document at a particular section, append a question mark to the end of the URI, followed by the section id.

yelp ghelp:user-guide?yelp-advanced-cmdline

Use this URI when you want to access a particular man page. You can append the section of the man page you would like to view if there are multiple man pages with the same name. The section number should be enclosed in parenthesis and therefore it may be necessary to escape the argument so that the shell does not interpret the parenthesis.

yelp man:gcalctool


yelp 'man:intro(1)'
yelp 'man:intro(2)'

Use this URI when you want to access a particular GNU info page.

yelp info:make

Refreshing Content on Demand

Yelp Help Browser supports the Ctrl+R shortcut keys, which will reload the DocBook document that is currently open. This allows developers to view changes to documents as they are made.

More Information

This section details some of the helper applications which Yelp Help Browser uses, and provides resources where you can get more information about Yelp Help Browser.


Yelp Help Browser uses scrollkeeper to generate the table of contents for DocBook and HTML documentation, and also keep track of translations for each document.

GNOME Documentation Utilites

The documentation distributed with GNOME uses this set of utilities for a variety of things:

  • Ease translation of documents to different languages.

  • Provide a set of tools to help package and install documentation into the correct location and register the documentation with scrollkeeper.

  • Perform conversion from DocBook format to a format suitable for display.

Yelp Help Browser relies on GNOME XSLT Stylesheets to perform conversion from DocBook to HTML. GNOME Documentation Build Utilities are relied upon by application authors to install and register documentation within the help system.

Mailing List

For further information on Yelp Help Browser please subscribe to the mailing list,

Joining the GNOME Documentation Project

If you are interesting in helping produce and update documentation for the GNOME project, please visit the following link:

Taking Screenshots
Configuring Your Desktop

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