A method to help and displace Help Panels containing information to explain Command Functions, Command Syntax, and Command Parameters to the operator of an interactive information handling system in response to the entry of a "Command Help Request" into said system by said operator. The method displays the selected panel as an overlay on the existing screen at the time the Command Help request is entered into the system. Selection of the panel to be displayed is based on an analysis by the system as to what commands are valid or active for the next step in the process or task that the system is performing. The operator may select directly from the Command Help Panel overlay, the desired command, or alternately enter the command desired by moving the cursor to the command area of the underlying screen and keying in the command.
The method further provides for the system to display a second level of Command Help Panels containing information as to the Parameters and their meaning for commands selected from the first level of the Command Help Panels.
The method also advises the operator with other overlaid Help Panels if an invalid command is entered when the system is displaying a first level of Help Panel. The panels that re displayed in addition to advising that the command is not active also advise the operator how to reach the point in the process where the non-active command becomes active from the current state of the process task.