MacMost Now 425: Menu Bar Help Menu

You can use the Help menu present in almost all applications to find menu commands, search documentation and get information. You can also use it as a way to navigate the menu bar using only your keyboard.

Video Transcript
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. Today's episode, let's look one of those powerful but underused menus in the Menu bar. Now, in the right side of the Menu bar, for every application including the Finder, is the Help Menu. Now, this does more than just bring up documentation. So for instance, here we are in the Finder, and here is the Help menu. Click on that, it comes up very simply with just an intro for Mac help and this Search area. The Search area is the powerful part. Let's say you can quite remember where a Menu command is, all you have to do is go to Help and start typing in here. So as I start to type "Arrange" I can see all the different menu items that have this characters in it. Actually, as I mess over them, it will show me exactly where they are. In fact, I can go ahead and simply select right here from the Help. I don't even have to go over here, although I can if I want to. Now, that might not seen to useful. After all how hard it is to look through some menus, like this one in TextEdit and find what you want. Sometimes what you want is deep down inside of a submenu, and Help search will get it for you even if it is there. So, let's look for "color", and you can see that the "colors" is deep down here inside of the Format menu under Font. So, it's a lot easier to find if you type it there than it is to actually search them in the menus. Now, of course, it does more than just show you items. It also brings up help topics, and I can bring up a special window for showing Help in various applications. Once you are in that you can continuo to search for different topics in here, and that's kind of like webpages, where you can click on links to jump to different help topics inside of documentation for an application. There is a trick for you. You can use the keyboard by pressing command+shift+slash/question mark key, and it will instantly go to Help, and bring up the Search box. You can then type what you want, and even use the arrow key to go up and down between them. So, you can actually use this Help menu to navigate all your menus with just a fell clicks, and activate any menu command. Now, bigger the application more powerful the Help menu becomes. For instance, there is several different subsections here for iTunes Help that you can jump to. Of course, there is a lot of different menus in iTunes, so being able to simply type something is a lot easier than finding that exactly menu command. At Safari, you can even use Help to see what installed plug-ins you have. It's useful to telling, let's say, which version of Flash you have currently installed. You will even find web links in Help sometimes like, for instance, in iMovies you can jump to "Video tutorials" which is part of Apple website. Sure is a quick look of the underused, and certainly under appreciated Help menu in Mac OS 10. Until next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.