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Terminology: Graphical user interface definitions

Observe the following names and phrases used to describe the various entities used on graphical user interfaces.

Blue text is taken from the Microsoft Manual of Style, 4th Edition.

Example 1

  1. This is the Title bar.

    The horizontal bar at the top of a window that shows the name of the document or program. All right to use in content for all audiences. See MMS page 399.

  2. This is a view.

    The product presentation may provide one or more views to offer the information generated by the product. In this example, the view shows an echogram. Each view may be divided into one or more fields. Note that a view may be presented in a dedicated window, it is still referred to as a view.

  3. This is a menu.

    The menu may be position horizontally or vertically depending on the product design. It may have the appearance of a typical Microsoft menu, or it may have a dedicated design, as shown in this example.

    A menu is a group of the main commands of a program arranged by category such as File, Edit, Format, View and Help. Menus are usually displayed on a menu bar typically located near the top of a window. Menus contain commands. Do not refer to a menu command as a choice or option. Also do not refer to a menu command as a menu item..[...] To describe user interaction with menus and commands, use click. See MMS page 63.

  4. This is the Status bar.

    Use instead of status line or message area. Refers to the area at the bottom of a document window that lists the status of a document and gives other information, such as the meaning of a command. Messages appear on, not in, the status bar. See MMS page 389.

  5. This is the Replay bar.

    The replay bar is a special function on some products. It is used to control the playback of prerecorded data.

  6. This is a field.

    Each view in the product presentation may contain one or more optional fields.

Example 2

  1. This is the Title bar.
  2. This is the menu.
  3. This is a toolbar.

    A toolbar is a grouping of commands optimized for efficient access. Unlike the menu, which contains a comprehensive list of commands, a toolbar contains the most frequently used commands. [...] Toolbars contain buttons. A toolbar button can have a submenu, which is indicated by an arrow next to it. A toolbar button with a submenu is called a menu button if the user can click either the button or the arrow to open the submenu, and it is called a split button if clicking the button carries out the command, but clicking the arrow opens the submenu. [...] Toolbar is one word. See MMS page 66.

  4. This is a view.

    Note that in this example, there are seven views. Each view has a dedicated toolbar.

  5. This is the Status bar.

Example 3

  1. This is the Title bar.
  2. This is the menu.
  3. This is a toolbar.
  4. This is a view.
  5. This is a pane.

    Use to refer only to the separate areas of a split or single window. See MMS page 351.

    A pane is a dockable dialog that gives the user a convenient way to use commands, gather information, or view and modify parameters. An pane can contain one or more pages, and each page is broken up into sections. When opened, a pane can be released from its docked position. It can be moved on the screen, and rezised. When closed and reopened, it will however always appear with a predefined location and size. A pane will normally have a distinctive name. On some products, panes are opened from icons on the title bar, and they are transparent to avoid hiding the graphic information in the view. These panes are referred to as information panes.


Related topics

Standards for writing and grammar rules

  • Microsoft Style Guide, 4th Edition, Microsoft Press, Washington, 2012, ISBN 978-0-7356-4871-5
  • Chicago manual of Style, 16th Edition, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2012, ISBN 978-0-226-10420-1