How to Use the macOS Help Menu

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The ever-present Help menu in your Mac's menu bar is an easily overlooked aspect of macOS, but it's home to some surprising and extremely handy features that every user can benefit from.


Apart from being a useful first port of call for any queries you may have about the application in use or your Mac in general, it also serves as a menu navigator. Let's take a closer look.

How to Use the Mac Help Menu

You can use the keyboard shortcut Command-Shift-/ to quickly access the macOS Help Menu. At the top of the Help menu is a Search field for typing in the subject you need help with. Below this, you'll also see a direct link to the help documentation for the currently active application, which is useful for looking up topics manually.


If it's an Apple app you're using, search results come from the official macOS User Guide, while the direct help link below the search field takes you straight to the relevant section of the guide, or in the case of Finder, the main contents page.


It's important to remember that if the active app is a third-party one, the contents of the Help menu can differ depending on how much effort the developer has put into it. For example, some apps may include FAQs, manuals, or links to online help, while others may offer very little.

How to Use Help's Action Search Feature

Another neat built-in feature of the Help menu is its ability to point to available actions in other menus for the currently active app.


Next time you type into the Help menu's Search field, check to see if the results include any Menu Items. Hover over one of these with your mouse, and macOS will locate the action for you by pointing an arrow at it in the corresponding menu. Hit Enter, and the action will be performed for you.

Depending on the app, this feature can even extend to contextual menu functions. For instance, you can use Safari's Help field to search your bookmarks and recent browsing history for keywords to quickly navigate back to web pages. Next time you're in your favorite app, try out its Help menu functions to see how deeply they've been implemented.

Top Rated Comments

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18 months ago

How to call Apple Support.
How to read MacRumors help articles.
How to read English.

Don't bash. When I first got a Mac In 07, after graduating hs, I had no one to show me how to do the simplest of tasks. And I know my way around a computer.

Tips like these are valuable to almost anyone. If they're not to you, there's no reason to be rude.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
How to call Apple Support.
How to read MacRumors help articles.
How to read English.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
These articles may seem trivial to users who already know the commands, tips, and tricks being explained. In my case, I've been using Macs regularly since 1990 and appreciate learning things I didn't know, along with reminders about things I've forgotten. Thanks, MR.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
The help menu search is one of my favorite things about macOS. You can just hit the keyboard shortcut and start typing what you want. Really handy when you want something quickly without knowing which menu it’s under.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago


You can use the keyboard shortcut Command-Shift-/ to quickly access the macOS Help Menu. At the top of the Help menu is a Search field for typing in the subject you need help with. Below this, you'll also see a direct link to the help documentation for the currently active application, which is useful for looking up topics manually.

According to Apple, you're inadvertently giving key commands incorrectly. For Help, it should be COMMAD QUESTION MARK, not COMMAND SHIFT SLASH. This (1) makes sense as the user wants to ask a question in looking for help, and (2) the slash and the question mark aren't always positioned together on all keyboards, so telling people to type COMMAND SHIFT SLASH might well lead them up a blind alley.

https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/macos/user-interaction/keyboard/



Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
This is pretty meta guys
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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