php manual in phpStorm in external Browsertab from Firefox or internal window ?

Hello together

I'm looking for a solution to have help from or better offline from the local webserver with vHosts ( or an phpStorm-window with help to php functions.
Unfortunally [SHIFT F1] doesn't work also the Menu  "View>External Documentation" is gray and not ready to click. (see the attachment)
I tried also with Preverences>IDE Settings>External Tool and the ProgrammCode "/Applications/ -new-tab" But this give an Error "only one instance from is allowed...", if the Browser starts before. And it have to be started for development.
Unhappily the Resource "" is unavailable so I can't find the right options for the start... Not even, if I had the options I don't know the right Params from phpStorm to deliver the clicked text like "switch()".

I think there have to be an easier way, maybe I have to define different settings to get the gray link "External Documentation" black => working.
Maybe there is a really simple point, and I can't see them.
In Preferences I could't find the matchpoint.
It would be rally nice, if I could define the target site for the "External Documentation", and the link (shortcut) would be OK,  so I could take the local Webserver with my desired language of the documentation.

Unfortunally I nowehere found a answer, looked in google the forum, help from phpStorm, in the webhelp and also in I only found the not really helpfull discussion topic :
My specs:
OS X Lion
phpStorm 3.0
xdebug v2.2.0-dev.

Thank before for your help
Kind regards



I found working link and shortcut for function like trim().
So maybe there is no link for switch and other, because switch is a control-structur.

But maybe the target (url) for the external Documentation could be set manually in Preferences. so there would be the possibillity  to have the possibility to read offline the documentation or in a different language....



Hi Martin,

The View | External Documentation option is only available if there is an external link in PHPDoc block for corresponding class/method/function/constant/etc (that's how PhpStorm has implemented documentation for all supported function/classes/etc).

To check: place cursor somewhere on function name (for example: array_merge ), invoke View | Quick Documentation (^J on Mac). As you will see, the popup has "Links:" section available with external link ( ). For such function the View | External Documentation option is available. The same will be true for your own PHPDoc function/method/etc comments as long as you provide @link URL_HERE line (you can Ctrl+Click on array_merge to see how such PHPDoc comment is implemented if you are not familiar with PHPDoc).

The switch is a language construct and therefore has no such documentation available.

If you really want to do this via External Tools, this is what works for me (I'm on Windows 7,so you will need to adjust it a tiny bit for your Mac). It's not ideal, but...
Program: C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe

  1. When invoked, it will launch firefox & search on manual for the selected text. My firefox always opens such request in new tab -- possibly you need to configure it properly (I'm using Tab Mix Plus extension, which I think does all this for me).
  2. You can assign a shortcut to this external tool via Settings | Keymap -> External Tools -> Whatever-the-name-you-gave

Somehow related ticket:


Thank you for your help again Andriy!!

With your helping hand I got a solution for me and maybe also for other Mac OS X user with started Firefox.

In Preferences>IDE Settings>External Tool use Add Button.
Group-Name will appear as Context-Menu Point; Name will appear as ContextMenu Subpoint.

in "Program" write : '/usr/bin/open'
in "Paramters" write : '-a$SelectedText$.html' for open a new Tab in your WebBrowser => Site delivered from your own WebServer with vHost "" or
'-a$SelectedText$.php' for open a new Tab in your Webbrowser  => Site delivered from or other provider.
in "Working directory" write : '/usr/bin'

I write a second External Tool for structures. So I can also find help for things like switch, for, foreach, ....

After this, if you like, create new Shortcuts in "Preferences>IDE Settings>Keymap. So you have both: Shortcut and ContextMenu.

I hope it will help to find more enthusiastic developer for phpStorm with OS X. phpStorm: miles farther and faster than Zend Studio :). I remember the condition for help with Zend Support. Only nice words without deepness or helping hand. First pay, after look for your self...

I like phpStorm. I think you know ;).

Thanks again Andriy


@Andriy Bazanov thanks for extensive explanation!

@Martin Huber thanks for sharing your experience!

$SelectedText$ = "str_replace"  = Not Found
Replace:  str_replace > str-replace = OK
How to replace string in $SelectedText$ "_" > "-" in Macros?


Hi Oleg,

There is no such functionality available to alter any text in External Tools.

If you want to continue using this approach, I may only suggest using my original URL suggestion (so it will utilise search and not pointing directly to the function) -- yes, it may require you to do one more click, but it's better than nothing.

Another thing that I would like to mention: you can use "View | External Documentation" for functions/classes/constants -- even if no @link defined for them, PhpStorm will execute search on site. Unfortunately this only works for functions/classes/etc and not for language constructs (like "if", "switch", "while" etc)


Thank you.
I use local help d:\Docs\php_enhanced_ru.chm
Call: c:\Windows\hh.exe
Try to call a bat file and replace the "_"


I see. No idea what can be done here then, sorry.


Solved the problem: c:\Windows\KeyHH.exe -#klink "$SelectedText$" d:\Docs\php_enhanced_ru.chm


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