Blog entry

Adobe's Help Center

Today I wanted to do some work with Indesign and ran into a problem that existed for some time: selecting "help" starts up the Adobe Help Center (AHC) but no window is visible. I couldn't tell if the window was invisible, hidden or just plain not there, but I couldn't use it.

I searched the knowledge base of Adobe and ran into all kinds of problems. Did you know that AHC uses Opera's rendering engine? However, the only thing related to my problem (AHC runs fine just doesn't show a window) I could find was a reference to a similar problem on Windows (

Since they suggested to throw away an XML file (AHC_Prefs.xml), I assumed that a similar solution would work for me. The file is located in /Library/Application Support/Adobe/AdobeHelpData/.

At that location I also found a similar file (AHC_HelpDesk.xml) that had been changed today (due to numerous attempts to start AHC), so I assumed it could be thrown out too. After looking into them, I could not find anything about a location.

There is however a file called Assistance.prefs in the Preferences subfolder that has location coordinates. It finally dawned on me: last time I could use AHC I was using two displays on my laptop and the AHC window must have assumed a position that is invalid when using only one display.

I opened the file in a text editor and changed the following lines:


from a large negative value to 100. Saved the file and restarted AHC. Lo and behold, my window was back!


I've been up since 6am 'til

I've been up since 6am 'til now, 8pm, trying everything to get Adobe Help Center to work in CS2. I've been through every support file, installed from the original downloaded dmgs to my home computer, a slow old Pismo, and was in the process of comparing every directory and file with the non-working mac, when I found your page.

I'd known about the Opera problem from Macromedia days, when as I recall new versions of the browser killed Macromedia's Help pages, and was assuming something similar, as CS2 uses Opera 6 in some way. So I hunted down and deleted all updated Opera versions. Nothing.

I found Adobe's page with a downloadable Help Center 2.1 and 1.1. Version 1.1 said it couldn't be installed because an error occurred.

Anyway, 14 hours later I found your page just before giving up and reinstalling CS2 on my work mac, and just want to say thanks.

In the end I replaced the AHC_Prefs.xml file and that showed the Help setup window, but then nothing more appeared. The help pages were still missing. So I tried reconnecting a display I have used from time to time, and found the Help Center window sitting there on the second display. Most, if not ALL apps I have used would have re-assigned it to the main monitor when the second one was disconnected, not Adobe.

Thanks Jonathan, it's good to

Thanks Jonathan, it's good to know that this information is useful for someone.

We had a missing Adobe Help

We had a missing Adobe Help Window on a laptop that was previously connected to a monitor. We followed the step you listed here and it did the trick! Brilliant!

I ended up deleting both xml

I ended up deleting both xml files AND the prefs file before I got AHC visible. Thanks for your article!


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