Make your own offline Final Cut Pro X help system

Final Cut Pro X users can make their own PDF version of the online help, but the generated PDF doesn’t have any internal hyperlinks.

Here’s how to make your own copy of the help system that works when you don’t have an internet connection for your Mac, PC or phone.

The advantages of the html version over the PDF version are internal links between sections:

…pop-up boxes to explain terms:

and an operational search system:

If you’d like the help system in French, German or Japanese, in the following instructions replace ‘English’ with ‘French’, ‘German’ or ‘Japanese’. The text in the German and Japanese help system illustrations is in English, but the French system has illustrations in French.

These instructions are for Safari.

1. Create the following folder structure:

To save you a little time, you can download a ZIP of the empty folders. If you would like a help system in a different language, rename the ‘English.lproj’ folder as ‘French’, ‘German’ or ‘Japanese’.

You’ll be ending up with a folder that looks like this:

2. Right- or control-click this next image and use the ‘Save Image As…’ command to save it into ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/Art/’

3. Right- or control-click this link. Use “Save Linked File As…” from the contextual menu to save it as ‘print.css’ in ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/css/’

4. Right- or control-click this link.Use “Save Linked File As…” from the contextual menu to save it as ‘stylesheet.css’ in ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/css/’

5. Open a new window and paste http://help.apple.com/finalcutpro/mac/10.0/English.lproj/content.json into the address bar. Use ‘Save As…’ to save it as ‘content.json’ in ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/English.lproj/’ – note that Safari will want to append a ‘.txt’ on the end of the ‘content.json’ filename, when the alert appears, click the ‘Don’t Append’ button.

6. In the other window, paste
http://help.apple.com/finalcutpro/mac/10.0/English.lproj/contentjson-version.txt into the address bar. Use ‘Save As…’ from the File menu to save it as ‘contentjson-version.txt’ in ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/English.lproj/’

7. Right- or control-click this link. Use “Save Linked File As…” from the contextual menu to save it as ‘index.html’ in ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/’

8. In the other window, paste http://help.apple.com/finalcutpro/mac/10.0/Info.json into the address bar. Save it as ‘info.json’ in ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/’ – note that Safari will want to append a ‘.txt’ on the end of the ‘info.json’ filename, when the alert appears, click the ‘Don’t Append’ button. If you forget to not append ‘.txt’ you can rename the ‘info.json’ file in the Finder:

9. In the other window, paste http://help.apple.com/finalcutpro/mac/10.0/js/javascript.js into the address bar. Save it as ‘javascript.js’ in ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/js/’

10. In the other window, paste http://help.apple.com/finalcutpro/mac/10.0/js/jquery.js into the address bar. Save it as ‘jquery.js’ in ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/js/’

There are two more sets of files to download: 16 .png files for the ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/images/’ folder and 501 .png files for
‘Final Cut Pro X Help/English.lproj/Art’ folder.

Pre-Safari 5.1 instructions

Luckily there is a shortcut for downloading many files at once in Safari in versions up to 5.1. If you have a list of URLs, if you paste them into the Downloads window, Safari will download them all.

11. To tell Safari to download the 16 pngs to the ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/images/’ folder, choose ‘Preferences’ from the ‘Safari’ menu, go to the ‘Save downloaded files to:’ pop-up, choose ‘Other…’ and select the ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/images/’ folder. Make sure the ‘Open “safe” files after downloading’ option is unchecked:

12. Click this link. When the file appears in the other window, select all the text (Using ‘Select All’ from the ‘Edit’ menu, or by pressing command-A), make sure the ‘Downloads’ window is open (using the ‘Window’ menu), click it to make it active, and paste the list of files using the ‘Edit’ menu, or by pressing command-V.

Over the next few seconds the 16 png files will download into the images folder.

13. Choose ‘Preferences’ from the ‘Safari’ menu, go to the ‘Save downloaded files to:’ pop-up, choose ‘Other…’ and select the ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/English.lproj/Art/’ folder:

14. Click this link (For French images, click this link). When the file appears in the other window, select all the text, click the ‘Downloads’ window and paste the list of files.

It will take a while for the 23.1MB of images to download.

15. Once they have finished downloading, go back to Safari preferences and set the downloaded files location back to where you had it before, such as the ‘Downloads’ folder:

Safari 5.1 and newer instructions

11. Download ‘WebArchive Extractor’ – a free download from MacUpdate.

12. Click this link to open a page with all the pngs from the /images folder. Once the 16 images are downloaded, save the page in Web Archive format as ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/images.webarchive’.

13. In the Finder, start WebArchive Extractor and drop the ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/images.webarchive’ file onto its window.

14. A new folder named ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/images’ will appear. Inside you’ll find a set of nested folders. In finalcutpro / mac / 10.0 / images you’ll see 16 png files. Move these to the empty ‘images’ in the ‘Final Cut Pro X Help’ folder you’ve been building.

15. Click this link to open a page with all the 501 pngs from the /English.lproj/Art folder (use this link for the French illustrations). Once the 16 images are downloaded, save the page in Web Archive format as ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/English.lproj/Art.webarchive’.

16. Move the pngs from ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/English.lproj/Art’ / finalcutpro / mac / 10.0 / English.lproj / Art to the empty ‘Art’ folder in the ‘English.lproj’ folder in the ‘Final Cut Pro X Help’ folder you’ve been building.

You now have an offline version of the help system you can use with any browser when you don’t have an internet connection.

To create a bookmark for the help system, drag the ‘index.html’ file from the ‘Final Cut Pro X Help’ folder to your browser. Once it opens, add a bookmark to your bookmarks menu.

Check out my free effects and articles on my Final Cut Pro X home page.

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12 comments
  1. Steve said:

    I must have done something wrong. The stylesheet.css is in the background of the help system making it nearly impossible to read.

    Was that my error?

    Steve

    • Steve said:

      I figured out a solution. It turns out the index.html file kept getting a lot of extraneous stuff in it, which wasn’t there to start with. I ended up viewing the source of “http://help.apple.com/finalcutpro/mac/10.0/index.html” and copied all the text. I had to use a pure text editor to save the file and then renamed it to index.html after saving it as a text file. Text edit seemed to add stuff if it knew it was an html file. I used text wrangler.

      It works fantastically now!!!

      Thanks Alex

      • Alex said:

        Thanks for the note. I’ve updated the instructions to make that stage work better.

  2. Great tip Alex, works like a charm.

    Regards,
    Robbert-Jan

  3. steve said:

    unfortunately the new Safari 5.1 that comes with lion doesn’t have a download window to enter all of the .pngs into!

  4. Alex said:

    I’ve come up with alternate method for Safari 5.1 users, and added it to the post.

    Thanks for pointing out the flaw in my original method!

  5. Stephen said:

    This worked great! Thanks much for doing this.

  6. Steve O said:

    Alex,

    This absolutely fabulous. Thanks very much!

    Steve
    New York

  7. Herl said:

    Unfortunately, step 7 does not seem to work for me in Lion 10.7.2

    7. Right- or control-click this link. Use “Save Linked File As…” from the contextual menu to save it as ‘index.html’ in ‘Final Cut Pro X Help/’

    I can’t find “Save Linked File As …” in the contextual menu, so I use “Download Linked File As …” instead. This yields an index.html file, which, when invoked displays

    To view help, you must turn on JavaScript.

    For more information, see this Apple support article.

    (in 4 languages)

    Needless to say I (think I) have JavaScript turned on.

  8. Chris said:

    Thanks so much for setting this up, it works perfectly. Shame on Apple for divorcing help files from the program they’re written to serve. Not everyone has Internet 24/7. Or even 1/7.

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