Unlike Help in previous versions of Windows, Help for Vista, Win7, Win8, and Win8.1 does not have a visible Index. Instead, you can use the Search box to look for articles that include your keywords. This box appears at the top of all Help windows. The results will be ONLY Help pages. You can choose whether to include online help as well as articles that were installed on your hard disk (i.e. offline) with the operating system.
Keywords are the words or phrases that you tell Windows to look for. If you want to know what the Windows desktop is, you should type 'desktop', not 'what is a desktop'. Search programs will ignore common words like a and is. Most search programs, including Search Help, will search for an exact phrase if you type quotes around the phrase, like "what is a widget". Just remember that Search does not look for the answer to the question but for that exact text.
Search online: In truth, you often get more helpful information by using a normal web search like Google or Bing. For example, a search on the terms Windows desktop in Google had as its first result an article from Microsoft, Desktop> - Microsoft Windows. But searching inside Help for Win8.1 did not find that article in the first 4 pages of results (after which I quit looking!). The article was written about Windows 7, which is likely why the search ignored. But some of the information was quite relevant even for Windows 8 and 8.1. The real question is 'Why isn't there an article like that for Windows 8 and 8.1?'
|What you will learn:||to choose whether or not to include online Help
to use keywords to search Help
to use Find to search on a page
to recognize and use links to hidden text
WinXP: To work with Help in WinXP, skip to WinXP Help
Start with: Help & Support Center/Help is open.
Help allows you to choose whether or not to include in the results online Help from microsoft.com. Searching online can take longer, of course, but it provides more results and the most recent version of articles that have been updated. The default setting is to include online Help. 'Offline Help' means the articles which are stored on your computer's disk as part of Windows. We will start by seeing what is available offline.
The Help window opens.
Alternate method to use Offline help ALWAYS: Help Settings
To change the default, the Options button > or the Settings button opens the Help Settings dialog. Check the box at the top to include online Help articles and uncheck it to use only articles already on your own computer when you search for Help information. This setting will be remembered. If you just change your choice using the drop list at the bottom of the Help window, your choice is not remembered the next time you open Help.
Each Help window has a search text box at the top.
The page changes to show a list of articles that match the keywords.
Most useful first: Windows tries to guess which articles you would find the most useful and puts them first in the results list. The order appears to be similar to the following-
Article contains the keywords:
in the title
somewhere as a phrase
somewhere as separate words instead of as a phrase
only 1 word from the phrase
Some articles may not contain the words at all but are considered to be related to your keywords. It may not be obvious to you why Windows
Unlike previous versions of Windows, there is no easy way to tell which articles are
online and which are offline!
Scroll the list to see all of the results.
When there are more results than will fit on the page, there are navigation links to open more pages.
Further results are usually not very close to what you were looking for... if you chose your keywords well.
Sometimes your keywords may not be in the title or even the first paragraph of the article. To search on a particular page, you must switch to a different search feature,
Click on .
The Find dialog appears.
Type in your keywords again, keyboard shortcuts
(It would make sense for the Find dialog to fill in what you were just using Search Help for, but it does not.)
All or nothing: The Find dialog is not like Search! It looks for the phrase only, not for individual words in the phrase. So if you type in 'cats and dogs', Find will not find the single word "cats" or "dogs". You would have to repeat your search with single words.
Match whole word only: You can check this box to insist on searching only for your exact keywords. So if you typed in cat, the results would not include cats or category or catastrophe.
Match case: If you checked this box and typed in cat, then the results would not include Cat.
Some results may not actually have your keyword phrase in the article at all or it may be hard to find.
Find: Whole Phrase Only
Find looks only for the whole set of words as a phrase. It will not present to you any instances where only one of the words is present.
Some Help pages include text that does not show when the article is first
opened. This is indicated by a topic title with an arrow pointing to the right.
Clicking this kind of link reveals the hidden information. There may be a linkat the top of the list or at the upper right of the page. Clicking that link will reveal ALL of the hidden text on the page at once. Some pages have just one or two hidden sections. Others have many!
How to read a shortcut: Some shortcuts use more than one key at a time.
For example, CTRL + C means to hold down the CTRL key and press the C key. Then release both keys. This combination will copy whatever is selected on the screen.