BizTalk Documenter: Unable to locate the help compiler executable while trying to generate the documentation

Without a doubt, BizTalk Documenter is my favorite documentation tool, and I do think that if each product had a tool like for the generation of technical documentation, it would be simpler to do, as the existing documentation significantly improved. I do miss this kind of tool for Azure Integration projects.

However, each time I install this tool I always got the exact same problem:

Unable to locate the help compiler executable

BizTalk Documenter 2016 Unable to locate the help compiler executable

which I know well, and I know why since it was very well explained by Mitch Vanhelden in this blog post.

So, why this blog post?

Well, for two main reasons:

  • I’m always searching to find the link to the component I need to install;
    • Basically, this is just an easy personal reminder;
  • And second and most important, the link to the resource that Mitch point is obsolete and not working anymore;


Has Mitch explained in his blog post, the reason for this is quite clear, the application can’t locate the help compiler executable, either because:

  • it isn’t installed à most common situation
  • or it is also possible if you’re working on a 64-bit machine.


Make sure you have installed the HTML Help Workshop compiler because this is the most common cause for this issue and if not:

  • First, download and install this compiler that can be found here: HTML Help Workshop and Documentation;
  • And then install it, by executing the htmlhelp.exe file
  • On the HTML Help Workshop 1.3 screen, click Yes
install HTML Help Workshop compiler
  • On the HTML Help Workshop 1.3 Setup screen, click Yes
install HTML Help Workshop compiler
  • Specify the installation directory and then click OK
install HTML Help Workshop compiler
  • And finally, when the installation finish, click OK

After these steps, you should be able to generate the BizTalk Server documentation form the tool. Otherwise, make sure that the path to this help compiler is configured correctly in BizTalk Documenter by:

  • Access to the installation path of BizTalk Documenter
    • By default: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Services\BizTalk Documenter
  • Open Microsoft.Services.Tools.BiztalkDocumenter.exe.config file and validate and, if necessary, change the path for the HelpCompilerLocation key that needs to contain the correct path to the HTML Help Workshop compiler component.
Author: Sandro Pereira

Sandro Pereira lives in Portugal and works as a consultant at DevScope. In the past years, he has been working on implementing Integration scenarios both on-premises and cloud for various clients, each with different scenarios from a technical point of view, size, and criticality, using Microsoft Azure, Microsoft BizTalk Server and different technologies like AS2, EDI, RosettaNet, SAP, TIBCO etc. He is a regular blogger, international speaker, and technical reviewer of several BizTalk books all focused on Integration. He is also the author of the book “BizTalk Mapping Patterns & Best Practices”. He has been awarded MVP since 2011 for his contributions to the integration community.

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