Apple Guide is Apple's onscreen-help system, providing developers with a standard engine for context-sensitive onscreen assistance. In addition to the usual index, search, and hypertext capabilities common to most help systems, Apple Guide offers:
- Coaching: A guide can draw arrows and circles on the screen to call attention to buttons, menus, and other user-interface elements.
- Context checking: Apple Guide offers the ability to branch and present different instructions depending on the computer's configuration or the user's actions. For example, if the guide instructs the user to open a window, it can check to make sure that's been done before continuing to the next step.
- Scripting: A guide can launch an AppleScript when the user clicks a button or visits a particular help location.
Apple Guide is included in System 7.5 and later versions, and is backward-compatible to 7.0. Reportedly, Apple Guide will be included in future versions of the MacOS, but there are no plans to include it in Rhapsody; Rhapsody's online help will be HTML-based.
An Apple Guide Toolbox
Useful tools and tricks for Apple Guide
Elko: An Apple Guide parser and index builder
Elko is a set of HyperCard stacks that imports text-format Apple Guide source files and produces a hypertext listing of all components. It also does automatic indexing: import a file containing index terms, and Elko will search the source, produce a list of the sequences each term is used in, provide an interface for easy modification of this rough index, and finally export a ready-to-compile GuideScript index file.
Apple Guide FAQs
Common questions (and answers) on designing guides, using hot text, and developing mixins (Guide Additions).
Coming soon: GuideScript Quick Reference Guide
Guide Author for Rent
I've written or worked on over twenty guides, including Macintosh Guide 1.3.
The guide (521K) and the
are both available here.
Need someone to create a knockout onscreen help system for your Mac application? I design, write, and script Apple Guides, big and little, complex and simple, from tutorials to reference guides.
I can also create guide additions to update your existing guide, and advise you on conversion between Apple Guide and other formats. Take a look at my résumé or contact me about your needs.
Apple Guide Resources
The Apple Guide mailing list
Subscription information for the Apple Guide development list is available by mailing the message "help" to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Apple Help Authoring mailing list
This is an Apple-hosted list and discusses the new HTML-based help authoring system, as well as Apple Guide issues.
The Apple Guide FAQ
Formerly hosted by GuideWorks, the Apple Guide FAQ is now available from StepUp Software. (My FAQ sections - on hot text, mixins (also known as Guide Additions), and Apple Guide writing style -
are available here, and have been slightly updated since the GuideWorks version.)
Apple's reference to Apple Guide development, including design
command reference, and the API
to integrate Apple G+
uides with the applications they document.
TheApple help systems page
Includes marketing information, files to help incorporate Apple Guide into your application, as well as the latest version of the Apple Guide software development kit (SDK).
A program to convert Apple Guide files to Windows Help or HTML formats. This program, originally from GuideWorks LLC, is now available free, hosted by Stairways Software as a public service.
Tree's Apple Guide page
More links and information, and utilities and context checks written by Tom Emerson.
- The Anarchie Guide
A guide for the popular shareware FTP client Anarchie. The guide's author, Quinn "The Eskimo!" (whatever), has generously made the source code available.
Jeanne A. E. DeVoto email@example.com