[Tutor] basic question about help()

Brian van den Broek bvande at po-box.mcgill.ca
Mon Mar 15 22:48:22 EST 2004

Hi all,

this one has stumped me early on in my attempt to learn Python and 
I'm afraid it will have one of those "make's you feel silly for 
asking" answers, but here goes:

launch IDLE
type "help()"
type "topics"

Sure enough, a long list of topics comes up. But for almost all 
entries in that list, if FOO is in the list, typing 'foo' at the 
prompt yields:

no Python documentation found for 'foo'

whereas typing 'FOO' yields:

Sorry, topic and keyword documentation is not available because 
the Python HTML documentation files could not be found.  If you 
have installed them, please set the environment variable 
PYTHONDOCS to indicate their location.

However, the HTML Python docs can be accessed via IDLE's help 
menu, so I know they are there. And, from within the documentation 
browser, a search and check of the index for information about the 
PYTHONDOCS environment variable comes up empty.

So, how do I make help work? Where do I set this environment 
variable PYTHONDOCS?

If it matters, I am using Windows and all Python files live on my 
D: partition.


Brian vdB

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