Configuring Adobe Reader help files for offline use

Description

If you are using Adobe Reader 9 or greater, you may have noticed that the help files are now only available online with an active internet connection to adobe.com.  In Adobe Reader 8 the help files were available within the product itself on your local machine and you did not need an internet connection.

If you do not have an active internet connection on the computers where Adobe Reader 9 and greater is installed, then you will not be able to access the help documentation, and will receive a 404 error in the browser.  This can occur for large enterprises where some machines are not allowed to have an open internet connection for security and data protection reasons.

Suggestions

There are 2 different solutions or workarounds to this issue:

1. Create a local PDF file containing the Help content.

You can reference this PDF file locally, or put the PDF file in a central location where all of your users can access it, i.e. on a network location, or on your internal web server. Here are the example PDF files for Adobe Reader 9 in English and German:

Adobe_Reader_9.0_Help.pdf (English)

Adobe_Reader_9.0_Hilfe.pdf (German)

Note: To create PDF files of the Adobe Reader 9 Help for other languages, go to the Help page for your language on Adobe.com (use a computer where you have Adobe Acrobat installed). Use the Acrobat Web capture plug-in to export the page as a PDF. Then, use Acrobat to fix the links in the PDF file and correct any structural issues.

For Reader X the help documentation is now available online in PDF format, so you can just download the PDF file from: http://help.adobe.com/en_US/reader/using/reader_X_help.pdf.

2. Re-construct the online Help documentation for Adobe Reader within your organization’s intranet environment.

You can deploy the Adobe Reader help pages on your internal web server where everyone in your organization can access them using a browser.

Download the .zip file below and extract it, maintaining the folder structure. Deploy the files to an internal web server. These Help files are available in English and German.

Adobe_Reader_9.0_HTML_Help.zip

Addendum: Use Customization Wizard to tune the Adobe Reader installation.

In an enterprise environment you may want to configure Adobe Reader for all users to point to the custom Help documentation automatically. You can use the script in this solution to disable the standard Help menu item in Adobe Reader, and replace it with a custom Help menu item pointing to the help documentation from solution 1 or 2 above.

For solution 1 (local PDF file): create a custom folder in your Adobe Reader installation using Customization Wizard (e.g. C:\Program Files\Adobe\Reader <version>\Help), and put the local PDF file in there. Place the WinReader_Local_Help.js file into the Javascripts folder in Customization Wizard (C:\Program Files\Adobe\Reader <version>\Reader\Javascripts).

For solution 2 (HTML help files): after putting the Reader HTML files on your local intranet server, place the WinReader_Intranet_Help.js file into the Javascripts folder in Customization Wizard (C:\Program Files\Adobe\Reader <version>\Reader\Javascripts).

Now when Adobe Reader is launched on the user’s computer the help menu link will be replaced with your custom link. There may be a short delay before the link is updated after starting Adobe Reader.

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2 Responses to Configuring Adobe Reader help files for offline use

  1. Dave says:

    Is it possible to have English Help show up on English version and French Help on French version of Adobe Reader?

    Thanks

  2. dmcmahon says:

    if you use the app.language property in the Javascript provided you can check what language is running and then decide which language version of the help to display.