How to view CHM (Microsoft Compiled HTML Help) files in Ubuntu

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Microsoft Compiled HTML Help is a proprietary format for online help files, developed by Microsoft and first released in 1997 as a successor to the Microsoft WinHelp format.

You can use either kchmviewer or gnochm or xchm.

kchmviewer from KDE

kchmviewer is a CHM (Winhelp) files viewer written in Qt/ KDE. It can be build as a stand-alone Qt-based application or a KDE application. The main point is compatibility with non-English CHM files, including most international character sets. It has the features set of standard viewer: search (including non-English CHMs), bookmarking, font size changing, index/content browsing, codepage support, and more.

Install kchmviewer Using the following command

sudo aptitude install kchmviewer

gnochm from Gnome

GnoCHM is a CHM file viewer for GNOME. It is implemented in Python, using the PyCHM bindings for chmlib.

Install gnochm Using the following command

sudo aptitude install gnochm


xCHM is a cross-platform GUI front-end to chmlib, with borrowed bits from Pabs' chmdeco project.
Originally written for UNIX systems (Linux, *BSD, Solaris), xCHM has been since ported to Mac OS X and Windows.

xCHM can show the content tree if one is available, print pages, change font face and size, remember bookmarks, display a searchable index, and search for words in the current page and the whole book.

Install gnochm Using the following command

sudo aptitude install xchm

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17 Responses

  1. echza says:

    I installed “gnochm from Gnome” and it works like a charm !!! Thanks for this post…

    Greetingz for Turkey!!!

  2. Steve Rush says:

    I’ve tried all three, and only xchm works in my Mint Linux / Compaq R3010 environment.

  3. DingDong says:

    I’ve just installed gnochm ..and it works very well … Thank you Echza

  4. Amri says:

    I’ve installed all those three. only gnochm is work for my ubuntu linux. thanks for sharing

  5. caglar says:

    I just wondering, Is there any possible font setting in hidden directory for this application.Because the default font size is too small.

    Thank u.

  6. Tharindu says:

    Thanks a lot it works well thanks again ……………………………

  7. I tried gnochm on my Acer Aspire One, but the font was too small. I could enlarge it, but the scrollbar would not adjust to accommodate the larger content and I could not see it all.

    xchm, however, works great right out of the box and I didn’t even have to mess with the fonts.

  8. karthik says:

    all three i tried..
    it worked..
    thank you for suggestion

  9. Eli says:

    Thanks for this, gnochm works great!

  10. f1freak says:


  11. George Bravo says:

    Thanks,kchmviewer from KDE works perfectly.

  12. kapil says:

    thank you!
    xchm is working.
    now I can use chm files in ubuntu.

  13. KIKE says:

    Thank you! I installed GnoCHM and works prety well!
    Thaks again!

  14. Silver Knight says:

    Firstly, thank you for this extremely handy blog. I frequently find useful/helpful little tips and notes here, both for myself, and for sharing with Ubuntu “newbies”. 😉

    I have used, and on occasion still do use kchmviewer under KDE and it does the job quite well, however, one other nifty option possibly worth mentioning here is the ‘archmage’ package (found in the Universe repositories on Ubuntu, under the Utilities category, last I checked) which comes with a couple of .chm dumping/extraction tools, but it also happens to provide a couple of nice options to conveniently serve your .chm files (via Apache mod_chm or standalone) directly to any web browser you happen to prefer.

    That’s my two cents… I hope it helps someone, somewhere, sometime… 😉

  15. buzzjn says:

    Could not install gnochm on ubuntu but xchm works perfect.

  16. Vincent Maxwell says:

    Thanks for this useful and efficient post.
    I had the intuition to choose kchmviewer and… yay it worked right on!
    Just typed the suggested command :
    > sudo aptitude install kchmviewer
    and that’s it!
    Maybe one minor bug but I don’t know if it’s os related or kviewer’s:
    if you try to click on “open with” (right click context) the chm file the first time after you move the file to a more apropiated place than the one you dowloaded it to (my case), then choose the kchmviewer program from the suggested list, it will fail reading the contents, it reads the tree structure though. My suggested fix: open kchmviewer first then use “Open…” from the “file” menu and navigate to your chm file location. I know it’s a minor stuff, but I thought someone would think kchmviewer is unable to read the file whereas it does the job perfectly!

    One last note :
    If you don’t like keep microtheft formats on your machine, you can use the wonderful kchmviewer export function (“file”->”Extract CHM contents”), create a new folder through the dialog window and select that folder to throw in the complete doc in html format.
    Actually, it does more than extracting, it looks like it reconstructs the original M$ CHM build environment. I was a little puzzled when i saw the tree structure but I found all the html doc under the “res” (resource I guess) folder. There’s an “index.html” file inside the “res” folder. Just launch it with your favorite browser.

    My config :
    -HP Pavilion dv6000 series
    -2GB RAM
    -Centrino Duo @1.66GHz @1.67GHz
    -Ubuntu Gutsy Gibon 7.10
    -Kernel 2.6.22-14-generic


  17. Sivaraj says:

    gnochm doesn’t seem to be in repositories any longer. xchm works very well though, as buzzjn says above.

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