InstallShield 2020 Help Library

InstallShield 2020

You can use InstallShield to rapidly build, test, and deploy installations that target Windows-based systems.

The InstallShield Help Library contains information about the functionality and features of InstallShield. The Help Library contains the following sections:

Help Library Sections



What’s New in InstallShield 2020

Informs you about the changes in InstallShield 2020.

What Was New in Earlier Versions of InstallShield

Informs you about changes that were made in earlier versions of InstallShield.

Target System Requirements

Lists the requirements for target systems.

Launching InstallShield with vs. Without Administrative Privileges

Alerts you to functionality that is not available if you are running InstallShield without administrative privileges; also describes a potential problem that may occur if you switch between full Administrator and non-Administrator contexts and you use mapped-drive locations in your projects.

Developing and Building Installations on 32-Bit vs. 64-Bit Systems

Alerts you to differences that you may notice if you use InstallShield on some 32-bit systems compared to some 64-bit systems.

Using Help

Provides information about the InstallShield documentation.

Getting Started

Contains information to help you become familiar with InstallShield, begin creating an installation project, and customize the InstallShield user interface.


Leads you step-by-step through the process of creating InstallScript and Basic MSI installation projects, and creating global installations.

Creating Installations

Explains how to create user-friendly, reliable installations and guides you through every step of the process—from specifying information for Add or Remove Programs to building, testing, and deploying an installation.

Creating Advanced UI and Suite/Advanced UI Installations

Contains an overview, plus some detailed how-to information, about Suite/Advanced UI and Advanced UI projects.

The Suite/Advanced UI project type that is available in the Premier edition of InstallShield lets you package multiple .msi packages, .msp packages, InstallScript packages, .exe packages, sideloading Windows App packages (.appx), and Windows Installer transactions as a single installation while providing a contemporary, customizable user interface.

The Advanced UI project type that is available in the Professional edition of InstallShield lets you provide a contemporary, customizable user interface for a single .msi package, .msp package, or InstallScript package.

Designing InstallShield Prerequisites and Other Redistributables

Introduces some basic concepts to help you get started designing your own InstallShield prerequisites, merge modules, and InstallScript objects that can be used in any of your installation projects or distributed for use by other installation developers.

Modularizing Installation Projects to Distribute Development Work and Enable Reuse

Introduces developer installation manifests (DIMs), a feature-sized collection of related items such as product files, shortcuts, registry entries, text file changes, IIS Web sites, and other elements that together make up a discrete portion of a product installation.

Updating Applications

Leads you through steps for planning and implementing the various types of upgrades and patches for updating a product. Also explains how you can use FlexNet Connect to notify end users about upgrades and patches that are available.

Creating Customized Virtual Applications 

Explains how to use InstallShield to create customized virtual applications.

Additional Installation Options

Discusses a broad range of options available in InstallShield: creating multilingual installations, installing multiple instances of a product, building conditional statements, searching for installed data, editing installation tables, and more.

Integrating InstallShield with External Applications

Contains details about integrating InstallShield with third-party tools such as source code control software, Microsoft Visual Studio, and Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (TFS).

Automating Installation Development and Build Processes

Provides information about the InstallShield automation interface, which enables you to automate processes for creating installation projects without having to directly open the InstallShield user interface.


Contains comprehensive reference information for the InstallShield user interface; the InstallScript language; errors and warnings that might occur when you create, compile, build, or run your installation; tools that you can use from the command line to perform tasks such as building a release and running an installation; the objects that you can use to embed object expressions in various settings of an Advanced UI or Suite/Advanced UI project to search target systems; the InstallShield custom actions that are added to projects; and objects, methods, properties, and collections used to modify an installation project through the automation interface.

Frequently Asked Questions

Directs you to help topics that answer many commonly asked questions about InstallShield and project creation.


Contains a collection of terms and their meanings.

Note:Because the InstallShield Help Library is designed to interact with InstallShield, it is recommended that you open the help from within InstallShield. Copying the help files to another folder or system causes many of its features to work incorrectly.

For answers to many commonly asked questions and new information about InstallShield that do not appear in the documentation, visit the Knowledge Base.