A hint file is (ideally) a spoiler-free guide to solving the puzzles. A good hint file will start out with general hints ("There might be something useful inside the house.") and move on to more specific hints ("Go around to the back of the house, type "open window", and then type "enter window".)

Some IF stories offer online hints (typically accesible by typing "hint" or "help"). Computer game companies made a tidy added profit from the sale of "official" hint guides, such as the Invisiclues series (which printed hints in invisible ink, and provided a special marker to reveal them one at a time).

See: walkthrough.