It’s OK to Ask (Your Mac) For Help

Yes, I have a degree in IT. No, that doesn’t mean I automatically know how to use every single feature of every single computer program ever written (I wish!).

Even though this might violate the unofficial “guy code” and the “geek protocol” I’m going to come out and admit to something.

It’s OK to ask for help.

Whoa, you have no idea how much better I feel now! That was really liberating.

Finding help on for Mac apps couldn’t be easier. You can use Google and pray that you type in something that gives you back something relevant or you can the Help Search function built in to every new Mac since late 2007.

If you don’t know how to use Google you’re probably also running Windows and I can’t help you (no one can). Sorry.

If you’re on a Mac, you’re in luck—I’ve got a great little shortcut to share with you.

Show Help

Let’s suppose I’m writing a message in Sparrow and want to copy some text from a Web page in Chrome, but also want it to have the same formatting as the rest of the email.

To find out how to do that hold the Shift, Command, and Forward Slash keys and then — BAM!!!!

Help Menu Search 1

The Help Menu Search comes up for Sparrow (or whatever the active application is). As soon as I start typing, suggested menu items start to appear.

Help Menu Search 2

The more text I type, the more refined the search results appear. I can use the keyboard arrows to select the desired result; how to paste text and match document formatting in this example.

Help Menu Search 3

The popular Webcomic XKCD has perfectly summed up how I go about helping when I’m asked how to do something on a computer with this handy, dandy flowchart.

XKCD Tech Support Flowchart
Image via XKCD

Where do you go for IT help when you don’t know what to do? Sound off in the comments below.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.


6 thoughts on “It’s OK to Ask (Your Mac) For Help

  1. AustinDM

    JFGI or RTFM, while crude, (the F stands for FANTASTIC!) they both offer great advice. Read the FANTASTIC Manual and Just FANTASTICALLY Google It.

    And the Mac Help tab has saved my life and homework more times than I can count. It’s BRILLIANT! Someone once said (I’m sure others have said it since then too) “The wise don’t have all the answers. They don’t even have most of the answers. The wise just know where to find the answers.”

    Say it with me everyone “Goooooooooooooogle!”

    good post, as always. 🙂

    1. Ammon Post author

      Sorry you’re having issues with WP. But, to answer your question, no, it doesn’t matter what type of computer you’re running at all—I’m on a Mac and haven’t had any troubles posting links ever.

      Try using the HTML editor instead of the WYSYWYG blog interface. A link will look like this <a href=””>whatever text you want to linkify</a>. You’ll need to substitute your link and text of course.

      Or, since you’re on a Mac, I would recommend the excellent MarsEdit which I use as a Desktop blog editor. It makes working offline and publishing to WP a snap.

      Hope this helps!

  2. BisonWoman

    It worked! Thank you so much! I don’t understand why I can’t just copy and paste it in. I’ve tried on both the WYSIWYG and HTML before with no luck. And yes, I know to Google it–I’m the mantra chanting queen on that one since I teach my classes with my fingers on the keyboard showing international students how to find anything on the web. This one has escaped me, though!

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