Posted by: Jack Henry | January 19, 2017

Editor’s Corner: How to Write About Check Boxes

A check box is one of the simplest user interface elements, but there are some rules that you should observe when writing about check boxes.

The following rules are consistent across the Symitar Style Guide, the Microsoft® Manual of Style, and The IBM Style Guide.

What Is a Check Box?

Check boxes are square boxes that allow users to select one or more options from a set.

Do not confuse check boxes with option buttons (also known as radio buttons), which are round buttons that allow the user to select one option at a time.

How to Describe a Check Box

Refer to a check box as “the <label> check box” (for example, “the Strikethrough check box”).

Always include the phrase check box. Do not refer to a check box by its label alone, and do not shorten check box to box.

What Verb to Use

To describe the action of adding a check mark to a check box, use the verb select. Do not use turn on, mark, or check.

Example: Select the Strikethrough check box.

To describe the action of removing a check mark from a check box, use the verb clear. Do not use turn off, unmark, uncheck, or deselect.

Example: Clear the Double Strikethrough check box.

Ben Ritter | Technical Editor | Symitar®
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619-682-3391 | or ext. 763391 |

Symitar Documentation Services

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