Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 20, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013
Don has used Excel 2010 for years and he often uses the Help function. However, now (11 years later) the F1 key or the Help option sends him to a Microsoft web site that informs him that support for Excel 2010 is not available. Don wonders if there is an alternative way to regain the Help feature, either online or locally.
Microsoft officially ended support for Office 2010 in October 2020. This means that the online help for the program went away, as well. So, when you display the Excel Help dialog box (by pressing F1), you quickly find out, as Don did, that help is no longer available. Plus, there is a good chance that Microsoft will use the opportunity to try to get you to upgrade to Microsoft 365.
In order to access help on your computer, there are two things you should do in the Excel Help dialog box. First, note that at the top of the dialog box there is a search box. If you click the down-arrow next to the word "Search," you are given a number of options of where to look for help. You should see a heading here called "Content from this computer." Under that heading, choose the "Excel Help" option.
The other place you can click is the area at the bottom right of the Excel Help dialog box. This will typically say something like "Connected to Office.com" or "Offline." Click this wording and choose "Show content only from this computer." If you perform these two steps, then all the help displayed in the dialog box should reflect whatever is stored on your computer.
Of course, everything discussed so far applies only to Excel 2010. You may be using a different older version of Excel. If the version is old enough, then there is no online help option—all available help was installed on your system when you installed Excel. On other later versions, you may still be able to access online help, but you won't be able to forever. (Eventually all Microsoft products fall out of support and, just like Don's copy of Excel 2010, will no longer have online help available.)
Regardless of your version of Excel, it is a good idea to become familiar with other online help sources. There are a good number of them available (including ExcelTips), and it doesn't hurt to start compiling your own list of such sources.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11902) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013.
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