Where We Go For Answers For Tricky Software Problems

Where We Go For Answers For Tricky Software Problems

Taryn Williford
Jul 2, 2012

If you've hit "F1" recently, you know modern software's "Help" menus need... well, help. And if you're trying to find a solution for a struggle with a mobile app? Forget it. Decent Help menus are a thing of the past, and today's users need to turn to new places to find a remedy for application complications.

Company Websites & Forums
If you can't find an answer for your problem in the program's native Help menu, the first place to turn is to the company website. The help resources online usually have better, more robust information than the version installed with your software.

If you can't find what you're looking for there, try the forums. All of the big software manufaturers have online forums on their site for people to ask and answer questions, and you can probably find someone that's alreayd had your problem and hopefully found an answer. As a bonus, these sites are populated by knowledgeable employees of the company that act as moderators, so you know any answer you find is likely the best one.

While software forums run by company experts are a good place to look, sometimes they won't have the info you need. It's time to turn to Google. With a quick search query into Google with a few key words ("MS Word, make the paragraph symbol go away"), you'll likely find two things:

• How-To tutorials or troubleshooting articles by online experts
• Forums on different sites forums with other users having your same problem.

Either one will get you on your way to finding a solution for your software woes. However, because the advice you're getting here doesn't come straight from the horse's mouth, you might need to dig a little deeper to find the right, straightforward solution.

"Ask" Websites
If you can't find the answer you're looking for on the web, it's time to trailblaze. Pose your own question on the software's forum, or head to a site like Wiki Answers or Yahoo! Answers and wait for some knowledgable soul to come to your rescue.

While this definitely isn't the fastest way to get your answer, you'll sleep well knowing you're helping future users find the solutions they need. That's +50 internet points for you!

(Images: 1. Shutterstock, 2. Screenshot / forums.adobe.com)

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