Installing Helpfile

From FreeCAD Documentation

Help module

Note: The FreeCAD offline help files, described below, are being retired. The help system of FreeCAD is now managed by the Help Addon, which you can install via the Addon manager. The Help Addon is able to access online documentation, without the need to download anything, or an offline, downloadable copy of the documentation, which can also be installed via the Addon manager.

FreeCAD Helpfiles

The FreeCAD offline documentation is built from the FreeCAD wiki by using scripts. It has grown to a file size over 220 MB. These big files are not part of installers and executables of FreeCAD, but can be installed separately as documented here.

Translations from the community are encouraged, so the offline documentation is now also available in French and Italian. Other languages may be in different stages of completeness.

Download Helpfiles

A working offline documentation consist of at least two files: freecad.qhc the Qt-helpfile-configuration and freecad.qch the compressed Qt-helpfile. They are put together in a ZIP-archive.

The helpfiles can be downloaded here:

As a future option they can be installed from within FreeCAD with the Addon Manager.

The help files do always have the same names: freecad.qhc and freecad.qch. In order to have different version of the helpfiles, these need to be installed in different directories. In case of a manual download, just store the zip-file locally and extract the archive into the wanted directory.

Register the Documentation

The documentation system of FreeCAD uses Qt Assistant. You should install this program first, if you don't have it.

The actual organization of the offline help allow only one helpfile to be active. It is therefore not possible to have helpfiles in different languages accessible from FreeCAD at the same time.

In order to make another FreeCAD documentation active the following steps have to be applied:

  • Click inside FreeCAD in the menu Help → Help. The program Qt-assistant should open.
  • In Qt-assistant click in the menu Edit → preferences.
  • In the preferences dialog click on the Documentation tab.
  • In the list registered documentation select org.freecad.usermanual and click on the button Remove.
  • Close the dialog with OK, but do not close the Qt-assistant. This is important as otherwise another helpfile will not be registered.
  • Open again the preferences dialog via the menu Edit → preferences.
  • Select the tab documentation and click the button Add...
  • In the dialog navigate to your new helpfile and select freecad.qch
  • close the dialog by confirming your selection. In the Documentation tab in the preferences there should now be a line with org.freecad.usermanual.
  • Close the Preferences with OK.
  • You should now have the new documentation available in the Qt-assistant, which is accessible from within FreeCAD.

A Note About Ubuntu

Difficulties may arise when trying to install the documentation packages on Ubuntu (for example, freecad-doc or freecad-daily-doc). If this is found to be the case, then executing the following steps will enable you to have offline documentation.

  • Download the freecad.qhc and freecad.qch help files from and extract them using 7zip.
  • Alternatively, you can instead get the development versions of the freecad.qhc and freecad.qch help files from GitHub. You will need to concatenate the .part files together: cat freecad.qch.part00 freecad.qch.part01 freecad.qch.part02 freecad.qch.part03 > freecad.qch.
  • With administrative privileges (e.g., sudo), copy or move freecad.qhc and freecad.qch to /usr/share/doc/freecad-doc/. If you are using freecad-daily, this will instead be /usr/share/doc/freecad-daily-doc/.