Thats one of the things about online help - it can be changed as needed without having to distribute updates. Its one of the things users were complaining about the previous help system - help contents were out of date or had errors which aren't corrected.
While putting it online allows them to adjust the searching "style" (for lack of a better descriptor) and contents it presents another problem: lack of consistency between searches. When I search for REALTIME PAN today, I should get very similar results tomorrow and the day after, as should everybody else. I'm not sure anything other than the content should change unless the search was returning obviously invalid content (e.g. that LINE example). This result goes directly against their declared teaching-aide implementation since teaching requires repeatability.
I am also an old timer starting from AutoCAD R13. Gone are those sweet days when one used to get multiple manuals - really thick ones. Placing it at the side of the computer one was able to self-learn from scratch.
Now-a-days you need a laptop at the side of the computer either to read pdf manuals or read from the help and self learn. Even after so many years of computer usage I still cannot get used to this. I seem to have a mental block regarding these things - even though I became very, very computer savvy.
But I suppose this is the way it is going to be - whether we like it or not. This is just a sharing of thought.
With best regards
Here's a suggestion...(Autodesk...are you listening)...designers & engineers are graphic thinkers. Graphic thinkers learn faster if material is presented in a graphic style.
This should be the norm for all graphic intensive products. who wants to read chapters of dry/vague text?
The sad state of the help system is nothing new. Moving it online did NOTHING to improve help, except remove the comment feature that allowed you to report bad information. That improvement was for the Autodesk staff so they don't have to fix anything. I do understand that the help system is complicated and that there are many versions of product, but seriously why is there no mechanism for fixing what is broken? My latest arrrrrgh, is from the Architecture 2013 Help file. I want to know how to link a file to a drawing. Help has the following entry "To Create a Hyperlink to Another File". Great that's what I want to do. Step two tells me to Click Insert tab, Data panel, Hyperlink. The only problem is, there is no "Data Panel" on the Insert Tab. I click on the link (smell the irony here) for "Commands For working with Hyperlinks" and in the list is a link to HYPERLINK command, which opens a page that tells you, you guessed it, "Click Insert tab, Data panel, Hyperlink." Well at least we made a complete circle.
This is not an isolated instance, the help system is rife with circular arguments with no escape or resolution.
What would be helpful is an idea of where to get the tab restored if it was removed. Perhaps the tab was left out of the latest release and the help menu is actually six releases behind?
Also it would be really helpful if there was a system in place to report these issues and any attempt to improve the help system. My previous cries against HELP were answered with an explanation of how much better HELP will be online because it can be updated as problems are solved. That was more than a year ago, and clearly it is not getting fixed. I Google before I check the Community, and only then do I bother checking help, which almost always just gets my blood pressure up.
I may have said it here before and if so, sorry for the repeat...
One of my pet peeves with the "new improved online" system is the lack of hyperlinks.
Go to this page.
Now scroll to the bottom, and look for Reset.
It says "Deletes all custom scales and unused scales and restores the default list of scales defined in the Default Scale List dialog box".
Why not make that a clickable link to the "Default Scale List dialog box"?
~~~~ Another Example ~~~~
Run the SPELL command.
Suppose you want to know what the Dictionaries button does.
Scroll down to Dictionaries.
It says "Displays the Dictionaries dialog box.", WITHOUT a hyperlink to the help on "the Dictionaries dialog box"
So you have to copy this text, open search, paste it in, and press Search.
I apologize for going so far out on a limb.... I was pretty frustrated.
But you didn't really! I think you are pretty close to the trunk of the problem.
I like a paper book, but in reality I don't really need one anymore for most stuff.
I thought the WikiHelp would be really great, but like others in this post my experience is I have more trouble finding stuff than I used to. My wife says it is because I'm getting old. I still think the Help system is lacking.
I recall a year or so ago someone here asked a question.
I suggested they hit F1 and type the (command - I forget what it was) and read the options for the command.
I didn't actually do it as I "knew it would work" and they rightly let me know posting back a response with a flame thrower.
There's really a simple fix for the woeful state of Help in AutoCAD and verticals, and it is a zero additional cost option that Aitodesk could use, in two steps.
First: Release the content of the cuurent online/downloadable help under a Creative Commons license, one that requires attribution but permits modification and commercial use/resale.
That lets the user's and cad managers fix and customize the help system that's installed on the local machine or network toi meet their needs - without violating copyright laws and risking massive fines and statutory damages.
It also enables those users with the inititative and expertise to redistribute improved versions of help to the broader community, and possibly charge money to recoup the investment they have made in developing or reformating the Help content to be useable.
Second; Maintain the current, on-line Help system as the offically sanctioned and supported help system -- which they are doing already.
Frankly, Help is not part of the 'family jewels' for Autodesk, and they lose nothing by opening it up for others to improve. There may well be a sound business reason to keep the DWG format a secret, but there is NOT one for keeping Help locked down under current copyright laws.
it looks Autocad is all hijacked by incompetence... it happens quite often that I lose lots of time just trying to restore the default settings, so that I can actually do some work in this program. just now, I was trying to restore the original LAYISO/LAYON option where the bloody layers don't turn up locked up when you get back to LAYON. How can the Autodesk 'partners' can be so unprofessional?...
"HELP" IS TERRIBLE
In fact it is worthless. I am not against digital manuals. In fact, the digital HELP that was embedded in AutoCAD was pretty good up through approximately version 2009. Digital search, if done well, is far superior to keeping hard copy manuals and trying to find specific information within books.
At version 2010 (or thereabout) Autodesk decided that a browser based solution, that presumably could search every AutoCAD manuals and other resources, would be the way to go. The problem is the thing cannot browse its way out of a paper bag. If you search on a simple AutoCAD function like "polyline" you get 100-200 hits. Then you have to look through the list and find the one that may or may not be helpful. In reality, you probably wanted help on drawing or editting a polyline. If you try to narrow your search to "polyline draw" you get just as many hits, again-most of them have nothing to do with polylines.
Maybe there is a setting or configuration I am unaware of that would give decent search results. If this is the case, then this should be the default when the user needs to use HELP.
At this point my best method for getting help with AutoCAD is to perform a GOOGLE search. This is a very sad commentary on the AutoCAD product to have to rely on responses by on-line users for product help. At least a GOOGLE search does a good job of narrowing the search to topics relevant to my search. Maybe Autodesk could license search technology from GOOGLE and embed it in AutoCAD to allow users to at least find relevant items when searching the AutoCAD Help resources.
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