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Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Yosemite Edition by David Pogue

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Getting Help in OS X

It’s a good thing you’ve got a book about 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

In fact, you may not even be that lucky. The general-information help page about each topic is on your Mac, but thousands of the more technical pages 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 (Figure 2-28). You can type a few words here to specify what you want help with: “setting up printer,” “disk space,” whatever.

    Tip

    You can also hit Shift-⌘-/ (that is, ⌘-?) to open the help search box. And you can change that keystroke, if you like, in System Preferences→Keyboard.

    You don’t have to open the Help program to begin a search. No matter what program you’re in, typing a search phrase into the box shown here produces an instantaneous list of help topics, ready to read.

    Figure 2-28. You don’t have to open the Help program to begin a search. No matter what program you’re in, typing a search phrase into the box shown here produces an instantaneous list of help topics, ready to read.

    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 ...

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