Prevent OS X help windows from hogging your screen

prevent os x helpviewer from taking up your whole screenOver the years of delivering Mac Training for Apple through Amsys, I often get asked how to disable something or change how a default feature works, more than how to configure something!

Have you ever selected the ‘Help’ menu in the Finder or in an Application on your Mac and noticed that the Help Viewer window will open and always stays in front of all your other open windows?

I find this rather annoying, but luckily there’s a simple command to force the Help Viewer windows to start acting like every other window!

So, all you have to do is open the Terminal Application from /Applications/Utilities and enter the following command:

defaults write com.apple.helpviewer DevMode -bool true

Now, isn’t that better? Now you can have the Help Viewer open but not have it stay in front of all your other windows!

If you do want to revert back to the default setting, just enter the following command:

defaults write com.apple.helpviewer DevMode -bool false

4 Replies to "Prevent OS X help windows from hogging your screen"

  • I know about Javascripts that append attribution text, and I think they’re pointless. The jerks who want to copy your stuff can easily delete the attribution, and so the only ones inconveniences are legit users who copied a terminal command from your website, then pasted it into the terminal only to see a whole bunch of junk they now need to edit out of that command.

    I appreciate the tip, but I do wish you’d have offered it in a less user-hostile manner.

  • Hey Steven,

    Agreed and thanks for pointing that out.. have removed the functionality to prevent this from happening again!

    Thanks,
    Charley

  • Thanks for that timely response! Now I’ll gladly post links to your website on the other Mac websites I use.

    And thanks again for the tip!

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