Set the geoportal to reference local help instead of ESRI-hosted Web Help

Last Published: April 25, 2020


By default, the ArcGIS Server Geoportal extension 9.3.1 launches ESRI-hosted online Web Help when the 'Help' button is clicked from the geoportal interface. If the online Web Help is not accessible (for example, if the geoportal does not have Web access), clicking 'Help' will then launch the locally installed help files. It is possible to remove this check and launch the locally installed help by default using the steps below. This is recommended if the ESRI-hosted Web Help includes service pack functionality that an organization's 9.3.1 geoportal has not yet implemented.


The Geoportal extension local Web Help index.jsp file is meant to be customized. Directions below are a starting point for launching the locally-installed help instead of the ESRI-hosted Web Help. However, if an organization has firewalls or security restrictions in place, it may be necessary to customize this file further than described below.

  1. Stop the geoportal Web application (for example, stop the geoportal instance running in Tomcat).
  2. Navigate to the \\geoportal\webhelp directory on the machine hosting the geoportal Web application.
  3. In a text editor such as Notepad, open the index.jsp file in that folder.
  4. Find the line in the index.jsp file that reads '// find out a help path'. This is the portion of code that will be edited in following steps.
  5. Comment out several lines, beginning with the line 'if (helpPage.toLowerCase().startsWith("http://")...' and ending with the closing bracket after the section for '// check if page does exist...'.

    Commented section shown below:

    if (helpPage.toLowerCase().startsWith("http://") || helpPage.toLowerCase().startsWith("https://")) {
    // if help page starts from http:// or https:// that this is a requested halp page
    helpPath = helpPage;
    } else {
    helpPath = buildCheckedHelpPath(REMOTE_HELP_SYSTEM, lang, helpPage);

    // check if page does exist; if not switch to default language and default page
    if (helpPath.length()==0 || !checkUrl(helpPath)) {
    helpPath = buildCheckedHelpPath(getRootContext(request) + LOCAL_HELP_SYSTEM, lang, helpPage);
    if (helpPath.length()==0) {
    helpPath = buildCheckedHelpPath(getRootContext(request) + LOCAL_HELP_SYSTEM, lang, DEFAULT_PAGE);
    if (helpPath.length()==0) {
    helpPath = buildCheckedHelpPath(REMOTE_HELP_SYSTEM, lang, DEFAULT_PAGE);
    // still no luck? use old help system
    if (helpPath.length()==0) {
    helpPath = getRootContext(request) + "/help/index.jsp?cmd=" + cmd + "⟨=" + lang;

  6. After the commented portion, add the following line:

    helpPath = buildHelpPath(getRootContext(request) + LOCAL_HELP_SYSTEM, lang, helpPage);

    The LOCAL_HELP_SYSTEM variable, as defined earlier in the index.jsp file, points to the Web Help folder by default. If the default geoportal installation has changed to reference help elsewhere, it will be necessary to update this variable.
  7. Save the index.jsp file.
  8. Start the geoportal Web application, and launch the geoportal interface.

    When clicking on the 'Help' link at the top of the page, the window references local help - not the ESRI-hosted Web Help.

Article ID:000010822

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