Setting up "Help"

I know how to set up “About this program” for an application, but how do you set up what it says for “Help”? So far what I’ve come up with is to activate a “display dialog” command using applescript when “Help” is selected. Does anybody know what the “correct” way is, if any?

By default, the help menu item is connected to the showHelp: action of the File’s Owner (the app itself). If you have specified a help folder (it’s made up of HTML files), then the index page of the help system should open in the Help Viewer. If you haven’t specified a help folder, you’ll get a default dialog saying help isn’t available. For more information about adding help, see the Apple documentation here:


I prefer not to create help this way because I don’t want to go to an external app for the help (you can actually designate other browsers to open the help files such as Safari or IE). Instead, I create a panel or a drawer connected to the app and then reference help text loaded via localized string files. To do this, simply give the menu a name and link it to your script then add the appropriate code to open the panel or the drawer when the menu item is chosen. The downside to this is that the files are hyper-linked and don’t have rich styling (bold, italic, images, etc.) but it is much more convenient to have the help text immediately available and I find that more valuable than the rich styling.