Create a custom Help search category in Flash 8

When you perform a search in the Help panel in Flash 8, you can filter your search by a pre-determined set of categories. For example, you can search only the components content, or just the tutorials and samples content. This can be very useful if you don’t want to scroll through 10 billion results when you search.

However, what if you want to choose your own content to search? For example, what if you want to exclude the mobile books because you’re not creating mobile content (yet)? You can by following these steps!


1. Close Flash.

2. Find the categories.xml file, in which you will add a new category for your custom search. Find the categories.xml file here:

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash 8\en\Configuration\HelpPanel\categories.xml

HD:Users:Shared:Library:Application Support:Macromedia:Flash 8:en:Configuration:HelpPanel:categories.xml

4. Save a back-up of this file, just in case.

5. Modify the categories.xml file. Add this to categories.xml alongside the other categories:

<category title=”Not Mobile” keyword=”notmobile”></category>

6. Then find the Help folder here:

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash 8\en\Configuration\HelpPanel\Help

HD:Users:Shared:Library:Application Support:Macromedia:Flash 8:en:Configuration:HelpPanel:Help

You see a bunch of book files, each of which contains a help_toc.xml file. You need to go into each folder of a book you want to add, and add the keyword you chose above (“notmobile”) and add that inside of each help_toc.xml file.

So, I’m going to start with the ActionScriptLangRef: find help_toc.xml in that folder (scroll right to the end), and in that file modify this line (line 2):

<book title=”ActionScript 2.0 Language Reference” directory=”ActionScriptLangRef” categories=”languagereferences,as2″ language=”en” version=”2.0″ sort=”mm_7″>


<book title=”ActionScript 2.0 Language Reference” directory=”ActionScriptLangRef” categories=”languagereferences,as2,notmobile” language=”en” version=”2.0″ sort=”mm_7″>

7. Repeat this for each book you want to search in the notmobile category.

When you’re done, reopen Flash and open the Flash panel. You’ll see the new category in the Search pop-up menu:

create a custom search category in the Help panel