Apple Help Viewer

Apple Help Viewer

Help Viewer
Help Viewer
Help Viewer running on OS X Yosemite
Developer(s) Apple Computer
Stable release 5.2 / October 16, 2014
Operating system Mac OS X
Type OS X Helper
License Bundled with OS X

Help Viewer is a WebKit based HTML viewer for Mac OS X aimed at displaying help files and other documentation. It is found in /System/Library/CoreServices/Help The default file extension is ".help". Help index files are generated with Help Indexer. Mac OS X applications typically use Help Viewer to display their help content, rather than a custom system.

Help Viewer's implementation in Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) found its way to Rob Griffiths' list of Leopard criticisms, because Apple changed the software from a standalone application with a standard window interface to one with a floating window that always appears in front of all other application windows, obscuring the interface for which one is seeking help (see image below).

Although one can close or minimize the Help Viewer window, it is difficult to consult the Help Viewer while simultaneously working with the application, short of changing the size of windows so both fit on the screen.[1] The Help Viewer window also does not work with the Exposé window management feature (Mission Control in OS X 10.7 or later). There is a workaround using the defaults command accessible in the Terminal.[2]

The Leopard implementation of the Help Viewer was met with criticism


  1. ^ Griffiths, Rob (October 27, 2008). "Leopard's year old annoyances". Macworld. Archived from the original on January 9, 2009. Retrieved December 7, 2008. 
  2. ^ Griffiths, Rob (June 8, 2008). "Put 10.5's help windows in the background". Macworld. Archived from the original on December 26, 2008. Retrieved December 7, 2008.