I regularly use the 'online' help of Igor, especially the 'help for ...' item that shows in the context menu when the cursor is on a function name. After running an instance of Igor for a while (usually some hours, but it varies), the online help stops working (every query - also through the help browser - results in a 'The topic was not found after searching all Igor help files in the Igor Pro folder and subfolders.' message). Restarting Igor fixes this problem. I had this issue since Igor 5.x on several windows computers (Win 2000 & XP) and it also happened to co-workers, but I haven't found anything on this in the mailing list.
Does anyone know the cause for this and how to fix it (without restarting Igor)?
Igor 220.127.116.11, Windows XP SP3
You're the second person I have heard this from. I don't know what the cause is.
When it happens:
1. Choose "Windows->Help Windows->Igor Reference" and scroll down through the document to verify that it is open and readable.
2. Try executing:
to see if that works. My guess is it won't.
3. Try closing and reopening the "Igor Reference" help file.
Let me know what you find. However, I am not optimistic about figuring this out unless we can make it happen here.
I can verify the vanishing-help-problem described by fabrizio. The same symptoms. Although it is really not deterministic. Sometimes I can work for days in the same Igor instance without restarting it, sometimes it happens after 1 hour.
Current System: 18.104.22.168, Windows XP SP3
I can not really say with which Igor version this problem started.
I have experienced it also and I am running on Mac OSX. I close and reopen Igor and it works again.
If the help files weren't so darn helpful (as in most programs) I probably wouldn't have seen the issue.
When this happens, please:
It seems that the Igor reference file is not open after the help browser stops working (it doesn't show up in the 'windows->help windows' menu).
Manually opening the igor reference help file through 'file->open file->help file' (from 'C:\Program Files\WaveMetrics\Igor Pro Folder\Igor Help Files') fixes the problem (ie. 'displayhelptopic "FFT" ' works.
So I guess the question is: why does the reference file suddenly disappear?
Igor 22.214.171.124, Windows XP SP3
My guess is that you are instinctively pressing the option or Alt key while you close the help window because this is how one kills a graph or table without getting a do-you-want-to-save dialog.
Option-clicking the close box for a help file closes the help file. This is to distinguish it from just clicking the close box which hides the help window.
After wondering about this same thing for years I just found this thread and though I'd resurrect it. I think this is definitely the reason that the help file is disappearing. The problem is that everyone I work with has this problem and no one can stop alt+clicking the help. Is there a way that we could turn off this functionality for help windows, and if not, can I request that you introduce it? Like I say, it seems to be a very common problem.
There is a 12-step program for this :)
Alt-clicking the close box means "kill without asking" throughout Igor so changing it would make it inconsistent.
We could have it display a "Do you want to kill" dialog but that would be inconsistent with other windows.
I'm not sure how we would allow the user to kill a help window other than adding a special menu item.
I though you might say that. Basically, the help file is just like any other file in Igor, so you don't want to treat it differently. I can see that.
You are also saying that, if you disable the alt+click functionality for the help file then how would someone kill the help when they wanted to. I'm not sure why anyone would really want to kill the help window though. If a user cares about it that much they could just not install the help files in the first place.
New user here, but I would argue that the help files are anything but "just like any other file on Igor". They are passive meta files. Users will never have to call them at all unless they want to read them, otherwise they serve no purpose as far as internal functions go. Thus they are unique, and removing the alt-kill ability would hardly compromise somebody who wants to kill them for good (said person can just not open them, and will likely be skilled enough at that point to avoid doing so.) The other side of the coin is this thread: a bunch of users who DO want them, but are mystified by a conflicting feature which is silently killing them, and which is otherwise reserved for active parts of the program.
Also, now I have been exposed to the dark side of alt-killing after reading this thread, and will soon find myself doing this same thing on accident. Thanks, guys :-)
One reason users need to kill help files is if they are working on writing/editing a help file. To edit a help file, you must open it as an Igor formatted notebook. After you edit it, you kill the notebook and open the file as an Igor help file. Igor then compiles the help file. If you then need to edit the help file, you must first kill the help window so that you can open it as a notebook.
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