Basically since Adobe became all powerful after buying out Macromedia, didya notice how awesome their help systems have become? No, neither did I. I noticed quite the opposite.
Under Macromedia the Flash help system was excellent and contributed to the early success of Flash.
Flash help became terrible and so have other Adobe products, and most moved to "Online help"? Why?
Adobe suits will tell you it's all for the best, of course. Would you expect them to say anything less. Tech support will say they are doing all they can, and given how terrible this system has become, they are probably telling the truth.
The offline help system is deliberately GIMPed because:
Marketing research is easier to carry out if you have to go online to find answers, not that anything to benefit the users of the software will be done. Only to find new ways to increase shareholder revenue.
It could have some value for detecting and preventing piracy, albeit at great frustration to legit users.
Adobe can more easily sell training seminars, etc, if the help is terrible.
They can release the application earlier and say they will fix the help later.
Now Adobe has little to no competition in the graphics applications arena, they don't need to make better and better products, they can just focus on increasing shareholders' revenue, and look like they have created a better product, because, you know, that start-up screen looks prettier than the last one, and the icons have been made all smooth and curvy and organic, or whatever.
Competition drives innovation and quality. The help system of any application is half of the application. If there isn't an easy-to-use, easily accessible (ie offline, searchable) Help system, then the users' time is being deliberately wasted, more than likely to squeeze a few extra bucks out of a new software release.
I completely agree with you. The help system has been getting progressively less useful with each version of the software. I used to use the Flash/Actionscript help pages constantly in the early days with Macromedia. It was responsive and accurate. But the Flash help system is really a frustrating experience now. Incredibly slow and usually riddled with errata.
Oh and by the way, WHY CAN'T I PRINT ANYTHING from the help pages. Yeah, I know it's old school, but I'd like to print out some of the ActionScript reference material so I don't have to fire up the slow-as-molasses help system everytime I need to look something up. Unfortunately trying to print anything in the help system results in a complete garbled mess no matter if I use the Community Help Application or any major browser.
I agree, Help is purposely messed up. Adobe help doesn’t auto search like when searching for an effect in Premiere, so the user has to spell out what they are searching for completely and spell it perfectly. This is a big waste of time and is greatly lacking in functionality. Adobe help and forums are purged of discussions and solutions for installing this lackluster local help.
Our editors are complicated and critical to our work. There are far too many svchost functions, and too much auto update software in computers to allow our machines to be online. Also, maintaining privacy is critical to our relationships with our customers. Data mining is far too prevalent to allow our machines to be online. We push our company hard to spend a lot of money for fast computers; we will not give that away to carry the load of internet security software. We are not interested in the cloud, we did not ask for the cloud, we believe the cloud is not to our better interests. These are very important matters and we expect Adobe to act professionally and build and support products that serve us and are good for us.
We will have printable PDFs for the Creative Suite 6 products by the end of June. At this point, you can't install or run offline help. (If you have tried to install or launch CS6 help offline, here's a link to descriptions of the errors you might have experienced.)
I'm really sorry about the delay. We know that people work offline--this is a signficant inconvenience for you.
Community Help & Learning team
First, I'd be interested in hearing of any errata you're finding in the Platform ActionScript Reference. We're actively working in this content and try to update bugs with each Flash Player release (usually about every three months). However, when you find things, please post them to the ActionScript 3 forums: http://forums.adobe.com/community/flash/flash_actionscript3
Again, my apologies for the printing problems,
Senior Content and Community Manager
Adobe Systems Incorporated
We're in the cancer stage of capitalism. Wherein even the capitalist isn't acting in his own long-term best interests.
Adobe has grown lazy, but so has every other graphics software giant. More bugs with new releases; interfaces that won't register my pen-pressure properly(I'm talking to you, Photoshop); help files in the "Cloud" - some kind of heaven containing a malign, capricious tech god that loves wasting minutes of my time every day.
Christ, I hate the cloud religion.
Adobe, your actions demonstrate supreme contempt for your user base. Why do you make us regret upgrading to the "latest and not-so-greatest?"
The PDF manuals for CS6 are awful. There are a mishmash of 5.0, 5.5 and 6.0 material. They have totally messed up the way the topics are arranged. They don't have a useful index. They are hard to search because they aren't limited to the current application. Worst ever (and the manuals have gotten progressively worth between versions).
For more of my comments, see this comment in the Adobe Creative Suite forum here:
Will not buy another Adobe product until they fix their "help file fiasco" for the programs in CS 6 Production Premium. Don't want to go online for help or have to read a .pdf file in the document folder. Not too much to ask for the help menu in the program to actually work. Adobe is in serious trouble when it does stuff like this and alienates its user base. If I owned their stock, I'd sell it tomorrow.
I've also posted a blog about this on InDesignSecrets.com called "InDesign CS6 Help PDF Posted But the Content Is a Mess"
I seriously hope that the people in charge of community help will also look at the comments of your post, Steve, as other figures of DTP, like Sandee Cohen also posted their feedback.
Hi, Steve and PE,
I want to assure you that a whole slew of folks on the Community Help team have read your very thoughtful and thorough post and all the comments.
Vikrant, the InDesign content and community lead, has already fixed a number of the content-specific issues and will repost the PDF shortly. It will take us a bit more time to fix some of the navigation concerns. We made a lot of design changes with this release and will work out all the kinks.
@Media2Mike: can you clarify which issue you are experiencing? When you are offline, what happens when you select Help from the application menu or press F1? Assuming that the Help Manager has indeed downloaded the PDF already, the PDF should open when you invoke F1 without having to manually locate the file and open it separately.
Here's what is supposed to happen:
1. First time you launch Help, the application detects whether you are online or offline.
2. If you are online, the Help Manager should launch and give you choice of what content you would like to download.
3. Once the content is downloaded, you can then select "Display Local Help only" in the General settings preference pane.
4. Thereafter, the PDF should display anytime you choose help via the usual methods (F1, etc.) -- regardless of whether you are online or offline
Let me add my voice the chorus of those disappointed by the CS6 documentation.
In addition to including documentation for earlier versions, they don't provide information but links to the information, so they are not manuals they are meta manuals. I can spend hours chasing links that may or may not contain for the information I need. Often I give up in frustration.
I'm a long time After Effects users (since version 4, not CS 4) but a switcher from FCP to Premiere. I rely on the manuals (now called help) to learn the application.
The additional material that video2brain and Todd Kopriva provide are very helpful, but not enough. Adobe abandoned printed manuals after CS3 but retained the basic format in PDF form.
Please, please provide clear well written documentation with your products.
I was told by Adobe Customer Service today that "help" is only functional within the CS6 programs when online. The situation you describe was my CS 5.5 experience when using the various programs in Production Premium. With CS6 the help files can only be accessed online in the program while offline it doesn't work and I'll get nothing(Premier), a request for internet connection(Photoshop) or an Error:2 in Audition. I can always refer to the downloaded pdf files in the document folder but this is tedious and time consuming. That's the sad story....
Hi Mike: just to double/triple check, can you confirm that the PDF files are located in the following directories:
Windows : C:\Users\Public\Documents\Adobe\ (Help and PDF directories within)
Mac : \Users\Shared\Documents\Adobe (Help and PDF directories within)
Is that the case?
"We're in the cancer stage of capitalism. Wherein even the capitalist isn't acting in his own long-term best interests."
It's what they teach in business school, problem is the capitalists who are already in big business fund the business schools and they "influence" the curriculum, by choosing the lecturers that teach the line they want toed. Why would you fund your competition? You wouldn't, you'd look like you were, and then cookie cut business grads from the model that benefits you.
But Adobe has just lost me with the removal of 3d from after effects 6. When you add a function that I spend months being taught at college, then remove it next iteration, the Adobe Corporation has placed a large fist in a painful place for a lot of users. Especially when I was relying on that function to finish my course. I have been shafted by no help files and removal of a critical function. And I don't want to hear some condescending bs about how I should use a dedicated 3d app ( "it's worth a spending a little time learning..." ). I have already spent a significant amount of time learning a variety of 3d apps, I just want to be able to take a 3d model into After Effects and do some minor animations of transforms, no deformation or anything, without the need to set up a 3d scene, render it a number of times to get it right for my composition, get the lighting, line up the comp
Learning Blender and GIMP are a real pain, but at least they aren't beholden to shareholder penny-pinching, and corporatism back-room deals, like say "Hey guys you are moving into our 3d area, back off or we will remove native PS support, etc", or "this Flash program makes Illustrator and some of our other programs less necessary for less advanced users, but we want to sell them as a bundle so we are gonna phase out the Flash technology."
And of course the Cloud! The Cloud! Yay! it will save us all! No,it won't. It is just a covert transfer of control of your computer. Why on God's greenearth would I want to have to connect to the internet every time I want to use a program?
No insults are intended at the actual workers at Adobe, just the suits running the show...
Thanks for your interest in this problem. Yes, I have the PDFs in the C:\Users\Public\Documents\Adobe\PDF directory. I figured out what's missing from CS6 that was in CS5 by looking in an old directory.
In C:|Users\Public\Documents\Adobe\Help\en_US\ProgramName\CS5\Using there were help reference pages listed as individual HTML files that would be activated if offline within program. That's the difference which Adobe has conveniently left out of CS6.
Ultimately, I feel they want to move everything into the "cloud" whereby you run the progran online and are charged a fee by how much time the program is actually used. You become a renter instead of an owner. That's their business model for the future. You'll become an Adobe Puppet and they pull your strings.
Mark, the HTML files were from a CS5.5 installation that had not been deleted and probably wouldn't be valid for CS6 with all the changes.
Are you using the new CS6 and able to access the help files offline through the program?
FWIW, I am a hobbyist that is still using CS4. When I purchased it, I also dropped an extra $50 or so for the manual set, and it was worth every penny. I was considering upgrading to CS6 and hoping to purchase the manuals again. I live and die by documentation, and it's nice to be able to read away from the computer once in a while. Not to mention the documentation was concise and didn't make me spend time searching and reading articles that didn't answer my questions. Without this, and since I don't have the time nor money to get professionally trained, I don't think I will bother to upgrade. An index-less pdf translation of help files does not suffice as documentation. If Adobe wants to cut off the consumer user and only court the pros, then I'll keep my money.
Where can I get all of the 'help' files for Creative Suite 6 and install them to my machine. I am not connected to the internet and will need to dowload the help system files and install them. Where do they get installed? How about some manuals (printed)? Thanks
You can use the Adobe Help Manager app to download and install local help files.
(1) Download the latest manager here: http://www.adobe.com/support/chc/.
Once it's downloaded into your Programs (Windows) or Applications (Mac) folder, the Help Manager will open.
(2) Select the Local Content option on the left nav in the Help Manager.
(3) The latest offline PDF files have names like "Photoshop Reference" or "Illustrator Reference". They don't list a version because tehy combine content for versions CS5, CS5.5 and CS6. Click each Reference to download the latest PDF file.
(4) Files will be downoaded and stored in a shared folder such as this one on the Mac:
If you don't want to install the PDFs for local viewing, you can also dowload all the help PDFs here.
There are no print versions of manuals available.
Thanks for the reply. Sorry, you missed part of my initial question and that is that my machine that has Adobe Creative Suite installed, is not connnected to the internet. I would like to install the PDFs on the machine, however, will have to download them from the internet and then place them on the computer that has the Adobe Creative Suite. I have a Windows 7 machine. Where would I place these folders where the Adobe Help Manager can 'see' them, so that when I press F1 from within an application (such as Dreamweaver), the file would open. I would much prefer a 'book' as well as the indexed help systems from earlier versions of Macromedia and Adobe products. Thanks
Got it! I'll find out the specific directory on Windows (just have a Mac on my desk) and get it to you shortly.
While you're waiting, you can dowload all the help PDFs here. They're between 5-20MB each, so they'll talke some time to download.
There are no book versions of manuals available any more.
Here are the paths for where the PDFs need to be stored:
Windows : C:\Users\Public\Documents\Adobe\ (Help and PDF directories within)
Mac : \Users\Shared\Documents\Adobe (Help and PDF directories within)
Thanks for the reply... so for example, I would have
etc., etc. on through for all of the applicaitons in the Creative Suite?
Would the Adobe Help Manger read these files and theh when hitting F1, say in Dreamweaver, the Dreamweaver Reference PDF would launch? I presume it is not 'inteligent' to go to the section of the manual related to what I have open on my screen.
Sorry for not being more specific -- you should structure it like so:
And yes, help will function normally when you hit F1, etc. Note: the PDFs will display in Acrobat (or Reader). The Help Manager is really just a download and update utility; it no longer displays or renders content directly.
A Manifesto for Usability:
Whenever I feel like I want a piece of software to take a dump in my face, I open Adobe Help Manager. It NEVER updates help files. I've looked online for solutions and followed them to the letter, including a complete uninstall/reinstall -- no joy. There is no download button in my Help Manager like the Adobe instructions display. I've already mis-spent a few hours on this fiasco.
I've even asked for help on Adobe Help(an absurdity of Kafkaesque proportions). The workings of help should be like sausage -- tasty, consumed, but with no knowledge of its internals.
I'm glad I don't rely on Adobe products in my day-to-day work.
Someone in upper management isn't looking out for the company's interests. I suspect that the Decision-Maker was trying to justify his salary by making unnecessary changes. Either that, or he is an industrial saboteur. If I were his boss, I would look into his finances to see if there are any dubious deposits into his bank accounts.
As for the "cloud" crap: Server side software has been tried, marketed and failed on several occasions -- and it always fails for the same reasons: performance penalties; dependence on high bandwidth; dependence on fault-tolerant networks which don't exist yet.
Typical users won't bother with posting complaints -- they either suffer-through inscrutable features, or they abandon them. Adobe may not realize it, but they are in the midst of killing their reputation and their brand. It's a time-worn tale of corporate evolution: upstart, success, dominance, monopoly, extinction. Once there is no incentive for a company to improve, not only will it NOT improve, but it will actively de-fund essential elements for it's own survival.
It's good, in a way -- Adobe is creating space for their competition. This usually benefits the consumer.
Hi Mike: Please accept my sincere apologies for all of the frustration that this issue has caused for you. I just reached out to you via email to see if we can schedule a time to debug the issue with our engineers. Hopefully, we can get you back on track asap.
The offline files for Dutch are not yet ready. We expect them to be available in September.
In the mean time you can download the English PDF from here.
Updated 11-26-12: Find a list of available PDFs by product and languages here.
You can follow these instructions to resolve the out of date problem.
When you open up the Users Guide for a piece of software and it starts with "What's New" you know it is compromised. When the next section begins with "What's New" with the previous version number you know that the publisher isn't even trying.
Obviously Adobe has made some awful decisions and I suspect some of the suggestions in the comments above are correct in that Adobe no longer wishes to publish software in the same way they have in the past. Pity, but then open source alternatives get better everyday. I suspect that is driving their decision making. It certainly will drive mine going forward.
Could someone tell me why Adobe Help Manager persists in telling me that the reference documents are Out-of-date even immediately after I download the latest release. It just makes me hope that Adobe recognizes the shortcomings in the documents they serve up and down deep inside really want to provide their paying customers with a real user's guide. And, please . . . change that Adobe Air application icon so it will fit inside the folder icon in my dock.
Our decision to What's New at the top of the Help was to make it easy for people to find quick info about new features. There are also more details included in specific articles in topics across Help. We have added more content since the July PDF, so you can find the latest offline content in the PDF posted in Augus. The online Help is always the most current.
The Help Manager keeps saying it's out of date because there is a corrupt file. You can follow these steps to resolve this problem. http://forums.adobe.com/thread/1040531?tstart=0.
I'll share your comment about icon size with the engineering team.
Community Help & Learning team
Yo, these help files are not that helphul, ay?
Please look at the way you did stuff in the past.
I'm working through the Ps CS6 reference guide as it's now called.
It simply has pointers to video tuts. Basic ones at that.
Looks like I'll have to sit down and author some real help files.
The Flash stuff that folks are referring to when it was mm, were superb.
Just want to be sure you have the latest version of the Photoshop Help PDF, which has been substantially amended recently.
Would you let us know the specific topics that have no content?
Also, we've added dozens of video tutorials to the Learn Photoshop CS6 show on Adobe TV, so there are now more than just basic episodes.
And of course you can find in-depth tutorials in the other shows on the Photoshop channel.