Laurent Pertois’s useless blog

January 17, 2008

Get rid of that awful “modal” help window in Leopard

Filed under: Mac OS X — lolopb @ 1:46
Tags: , ,

Leopard has brought so many improvements we have to believe Apple when they say there are more than 300… But it also came with some little changes, some are good, others are not that much.

One thing I hate in Leopard is the new help window. Have you noticed that this one is now always on top of other windows ?

Of course, I know, help is not for us, big boys, but, you know, sometimes it’s fun or useful to read it, believe me.

So, if you can’t afford, or can’t use (I use a laptop myself), a 30″ display, it’s very common to have the help window over the window you want to modify according to what is advised in the help. It means you have to choose between a help window which shows all the steps and doing the steps at the same time or a smaller help window in which you’ll have to scroll, being vertically and/or horizontally.

Bad, Apple, bad, where is the consistence of the GUI? even worst, that window belongs to no application really, at least, the help application has no menu, no interface except that bloody window.

Fortunately, there is a way to modify this behaviour, a hidden preference…

It’s as simple as typing this in your Terminal:

defaults write NormalWindow -bool YES

and if you ever want to go back to the default behaviour (are you masochistic ?) :

defaults write NormalWindow -bool NO

The main difference, appreciable difference for me, is that now the help window can be behind an application window. That’s huge !!!



  1. Awesome, this is just what I needed. Thanks!

    Comment by Jason — February 29, 2008 @ 5:46 | Reply

  2. This annoyed me within 10 minutes. The one time I’m likely to look at the help is just after an OS upgrade, and this made a very bad first impression.

    Comment by Appreciative — March 6, 2008 @ 4:19 | Reply

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