Last Word?: Terminology Q: Clicking on a tab displays a ?

Subject: Last Word?: Terminology Q: Clicking on a tab displays a ?
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 17:22:31 -0700

since we're assuming we all use Windows OS-based apps [and terminology is
about the same for Mac apps as well, I gather], here's the gospel from the
MS MOS [Manual of Style], text of the entry for "dialog boxes & property
sheets" [what "tabbed pages" from the index gets you], without image
examples of each type, natch... [if you wanna see it all, contact me
off-list] The table format does not translate perfectly in raw text; the
fields are separated by tabs, per the 'column' labels Element name,
Definition, & Usage.

DO NOTE their final notation/directive!:
"* Check box, tab, and slider are the only terms that should normally be
used in end-user documentation."

Dialog box elements

In most documentation, especially for end users, do not differentiate
between elements such as drop-down combo boxes, list boxes, and so on. Do
use the term check box, however. Use the correct label (for example, Save as
type) with the term box or list if necessary to locate where the user should
be and then direct the user to click, select, or take other action.

The following table describes the various elements that can appear in dialog
boxes. In general, do not use the name of the particular element in
documentation except in reference to designing interfaces.

Element name Definition Usage

Check box* Square box that is selected or cleared to turn on or off an
option. More than one check box can be selected. Select the Spaces
check box.Click to clear the Bookmarks check box.Select the appropriate
check boxes.
Note: Always include check box with the label name.

Combo box Text box with a list box attached. The list is always
visible. Because users can either type or select their choice, you can use
enter to describe the action. Follow your project style sheet. In the Font
box, type or select the font you want to use. - or - In the File Name box,
enter a file name.

Command button Rectangular button that initiates an action. A command
button label ending with ellipsis points indicates that more information is
needed before the action can be completed. Click Options.

Drop-down arrow Arrow associated with a drop-down combo or list box,
indicating a list the user can view by clicking the arrow. Click the
Size arrow to see more options.

Drop-down combo box Closed version of a combo box with an arrow next to
it. Clicking the arrow opens the list. In the Size box, type or select a
point size.

Drop-down list box Closed version of a list box with an arrow next to
it. Clicking the arrow opens the list.Depending on the type of list, use
either list or box, whichever is clearer. In the Item list, click

Group box Frame or box that encloses a set of related options. It is a
visual device only. Use under followed by the label when referring to it if
necessary for clarity, for example, if there are more than two options with
the same name. Click Small Caps. - or - Under Effects, click Small Caps.

Label (do not use caption)
Text attached to any option, box, command, and so on.Refer to any option,
box, and so on by its label. In the Font list, click Arial.

List box Any type of box containing a list of items the user can
select. The user cannot type a selection in a list box.Depending on the type
of list, use either list or box, whichever is clearer. In the Wallpaper
list, click the background wallpaper of your choice.

Option button (avoid radio button)
Round button used to select one of a group of mutually exclusive options.
Click Portrait.

Slider* (also called trackbar control in some technical documentation)
Indicator on a gauge that displays and sets a value from a continuous range,
such as speed, brightness, or volume. Move the slider to the right to
speed up the blink rate.

Spin box (do not use spinner or other labels)
Text box with up and down arrows that the user clicks to move through a set
of fixed values. The user can also type a valid value in the box. In
the Date box, select the part of the date you want to change, and then type
in a new date or click the arrows to select a new date.

Tab* (also called tabbed page in technical documentation)
Labeled group of options used for many similar kinds of settings. On
the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the View tab.
Note: Always include tab with the label name.

Text box Rectangular box in which the user can type text. If the box
already contains text, the user can select that default text or delete it

and type new text. In the Size box, select 10 or type a new font
size.In the Size box, enter a font size. Note: You can use enter if there's
no chance of confusion.

Title (do not use caption)
Title of the dialog box. It usually, but not always, matches the title of
the command name. Refer to the dialog box by its title when necessary,
especially if the user needs to go to a new tab. In the Options
dialog box, click the View tab.

Unfold button Command button with two "greater than" signs (>>) that
enlarges a secondary window to reveal more options or information.
Click Profiles for more information.

* Check box, tab, and slider are the only terms that should normally be
used in end-user documentation.

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