Adobe Flash CS4 & F1 Help

I recently installed Flash CS4 and for the most part I welcome and like the changes. One of the things I absolutely despise is the new help system. In CS3 you could press F1 and get the good ole help window where you could search for whatever you needed help on and it would be displayed right inside of Flash. The new help system is… different.

And very annoying. Now, when you press F1, you get taken to an online help system that at least looks promising at first. I type in my help string (let’s say for the sake of argument it’s NetStream) and press Enter. The first thing that pops up is NetStream in Flex 3 which is not what I want (although it may be the same as the NetStream in AS3, I want to get to the AS3 NetStream class not the one that sits in Flex. There is then a refine results area where I can click on ActionScript 3.x (is there sub-versions of AS3???) and it then displays the result I’m looking for. I then again have to click on the result to get to where I originally wanted to go in the first place. This is HIGHLY annoying.

So what if you aren’t online? Well, I haven’t tested this yet, but I read somewhere that if you are not online or your internet connection is not working properly, Flash CS4 reverts to a backup that is stored on your local disk. This help system is essentially apparently the same as the online one just stored locally (so you don’t get updates if they have been made online). Adobe justifies the use of this new system as a better way to get up-to-the-minute updates in help files but couldn’t they just keep the old system and release patches or have an update button somewhere in the Help menu that updates the help for you? This thing is REALLY annoying.

So where do you go from here? Well, I’m not sure if there is any way to get the old help system back (if there is, please for the sake of life comment here and tell me how to do it) but you can go online and hit up the AS3 language reference, although that isn’t searchable but does display all the classes for quick reference like the old help system did. The AS2 version of that (if you’re still into that sort of thing) is here and is searchable but takes forever to load (and by forever I mean like 4 seconds, way too long for me in this day and age :P).

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Yeah, I found this annoying as well, especially since my connection was up and down the night I installed CS4. Painful.

I completely agree. This is extremely bothersome.

This is terrible. I am so unhappy with this change. The search does not work as well and it is just painful to be have the main help always go online.

Flash_10_AS3LCR.CHM and Flash_10_help.CHM
Check out here

I’m not exactly sure what to do with that URL, it’s in Chinese (or Japanese?) and even when I d/l a file i don’t know how to open that format or with what…

Its realy terribly annoying did u noticed every time u press F1 a new IE Window opens! And it annoys me i have to switch windows to see the help i rather see the internal help back.

Matt Przybylski,
You can get a pdf version from

Incredibly IRRITATING!!!!!!!!

How to make Flash CS4 help panel use LOCAL help files:

Delete or move this file: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Help\en_US\Flash\10.0_ExtendingFlash\helpmapBaseUrl.txt

and this one:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Help\en_US\AS3LCR\Flash_10.0\helpmapBaseUrl.txt

And relaunch the Flash CS4 and voila. Now u have local-help panel.
Cheers. ^_^

I can’t find any of those files on a Mac (tried searching with Spotlight). Obviously you are a PC user but do you have any idea where or what files are the equivalent of these on a Mac?

I was able to find the files from another article I found online thanks to your comment. I will post a follow up on this on the front page. Thanks!

[…] I previously posted about my hatred for the new help system inside of the CS4 products and begged for someone to find out how to get the old help panel back. […]

I agree with the article. Adobe products are great, but I don’t understand their new approach to the help system. The previous one was much more convenient…

[…] heard my cries about the Flash CS4 help panel here and here. Apparently others have too and I got an email over the weekend from Jeroen Beckers about […]

Mega-annoying. Here are some Mac hacks to make Flash CS4 help use local version (similar to Jloa’s):

delete (or rename) the following files:

/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Help/en_US/Flash/10.0_UsingFlash/helpmapBaseUrl.txt

/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Help/en_US/Flash/10.0_ExtendingFlash/helpmapBaseUrl.txt

/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Help/en_US/AS3LCR/Flash_10.0/helpmapBaseUrl.txt

Also, if you’re like me and are annoyed at having to click on “ActionScript 3.0 L&C Reference” every time you open help, this’ll make it open straight to the reference:

1) make a static link/shortcut to
in this directory:
name it “language_ref” or something.

2) edit this file:
at the very bottom, find the line that looks like:

AH_HOME WS816BB12E-70DE-48c7-9C6C-4735B11BC9E9.html Using Flash CS4 home.xml

3) change that silly “WS816…E9.html” to “language_ref/index.html”

4) save and restart Flash. voila, opens straight to L&C reference.

lol, thats a good tip ty88, but man, this whole help thing is getting out of hand 😛 i don’t think there is one person that has been happy with this.

Thank you so much ty88. Adobe should be ashamed of themselves for such a large step backwards…

well guys, i dont know if this will work for everyone but it did for me.

just copy paste the help files path in the explorer and it should work just fine.

and then create a bookmark to the same and there you go. done.

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Help\en_US\AS3LCR\Flash_10.0\index.html

you can copy paste the above if you have not made any changes in the default installation path.

the above is for Windows ONLY (i am just thinking if i were to read this post .. hehehe :))

have fun guys

oh, the above link is for AS 3.0
and the below one is for Flash CS4
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Help\en_US\Flash\10.0_UsingFlash\index.html

ENJOY !!!!!

What about other Plug ins that have Help documentation. This is really making me sad.

thank a lot ty88!

Adobe needs to form a task force who’s main duty is to enforce logic across the CS application.

additionally, a careful UI review is definitely in order. i’ve always though it was ironic that meticulous flash designers and developers have to suffered with the 90s UI icons in Flash.

this really sucks
one thing you can do is google the online as3 reference, type for instance this in google:

NetStream site:


For example, in Adobe Flash CS4:
Go to the Menu: Window -> Extensions -> Connections
This opens the Connections applet.
Click in the small menu button at the right.
You’ll see this options:
* Help
* Check for updates
* update preferences
* “Offline options” !!!!

Click in this option and mark the “Keep me offline” check box.
That’s it!

There is a step by step guide here:
It’s in spanish, but you just need to follow the screen shot (in english)


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