Finding the Flash Help, In All Its Forms

A lot of people have been complaining about the path for getting from the CS4 applications to the official Adobe Help for the product.

Currently, in most of the CS4 products except for Flash, if you are online when you choose Help > Help or press F1, you are taken to the Help and Support landing page for the product you are currently using. This page lets you do a few useful things, but is different from being taken directly to the first page of the product’s help system itself. Flash is an exception to this rule, and F1 takes you to the main page of Flash Help.

From the Help and Support page of any of the CS4 products, you can go directly to the product help by clicking the links at the upper right of the page. These links take you directly to the Help content itself. On the Help and Support page you can also search for help and instruction in 3 somewhat overlapping areas: the entire Adobe.com web site, the tech support area of Adobe.com (which will include the help system), or Community Help, which includes Adobe-approved 3rd party web sites as well of the entirety of Adobe.com.

When you are in one of the Adobe Help “books”, such as Using Adobe Flash CS4 Professional (http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Flash/10.0_UsingFlash/index.html), you will see a link to a PDF version of that book located in the upper right corner of the page.

One exception to this is the AS3 Language and Components Reference. This reference is available to download locally by clicking the link in the last sentence on the front page of the AS3LCR, which points here: http://help.adobe.com/support/documentation/en/flash/10/ActionScript3LangRef.zip.

Also, here’s some more information about when the products’ Help menus take you to Web Help and local Help, usually a relatively small subset of the online Web Help. If you’re connected to the Internet, the Help menu within the product opens the online Help by default. Once inside the Adobe Help for the product, be sure to select the “This Help System Only” option before you do a search. Otherwise, Adobe content and Community content will also be returned in the search results.

If you’re not connected to the Internet, the Help menu within the product opens local Help, which is a subset of the content available in online product Help. Because local Help is not as complete or up-to-date as online product Help, Adobe recommends that you use the PDF version of product Help if you want to stay off-line.

A downloadable PDF of complete product Help is available from two places:
– The product’s Help and Support page (upper-right corner of the page)
– Local Help and web Help (top of the Help interface)

If you are working in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Fireworks, or Dreamweaver, and you want to turn off Community Help so that local Help opens by default, do the following:
1. Open the Connections panel (Window > Extensions > Connections).
2. From the Connections panel menu , select Offline Options.
3. Select Keep Me Offline and click OK.

There is a list of the urls of each Flash “book” here as well, so you can bookmark them or download each of their PDF’s:
http://blogs.adobe.com/jayarmstrong/2008/10/flash_cs4_help_is_now_live_on.html.