Getting Help in Mac OS X

It’s a good thing you’ve got a book about Mac OS X in your hands, because the only user manual you get with it is the Help menu, a browser-like program that reads a set of help files that reside in your System→Library folder.

Tip

The general-information help page about each topic is on your Mac, but thousands of the more technical pages actually reside online and require an Internet connection to read.

You’re expected to find the topic you want in one of these three ways:

  • Use the search box. When you click the Help menu, a tiny search box appears just beneath your cursor. You can type a few words here to specify what you want help with: “setting up printer,” “disk space,” whatever.

    After a moment (sometimes several moments), the menu becomes a list of Apple help topics pertaining to your search. Click one to open the Help browser described next; you’ve just saved some time and a couple of steps.

    Tip

    The results menu does not, however, show all of Help’s results—only the ones Apple thinks are most relevant. If you choose Show All Help Topics at the bottom of the menu, the Help browser opens (described below). It shows a more complete list of Help search results.

  • Drill down. Alternatively, you can begin your quest for assistance the old-fashioned way: by opening the Help browser first. To do that, choose Help→Help Center. (That’s the wording in the Finder. In other programs, it might say, for example, “Mail Help.” Either way, this command appears only when nothing ...

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