Posted by: Jack Henry | March 29, 2017

Editor’s Corner: How to Write About Buttons

A button is a rectangular object that, when clicked, carries out a command. A button may be labeled with text, an icon, or both. Here are some images of buttons:

In general, if a button has a text label, refer to the button only by its label (without the word button). For example, “click OK” or “click Paste.”

If a button has no text label, you can include an image of the icon before the button name, if necessary for clarity (for example, “click Decrease Indent”). Do not include images for buttons with a text label.

Unless you are writing for novice computer users, it is not necessary to include images for commonly used buttons like Save or Close, even though they do not have text labels.

In fact, when writing for intermediate users, you might not need to mention these buttons at all. Most readers can understand instructions like, “Save the document to your desktop” or, “Close the Options dialog box” without further explanation.

Ben Ritter | Technical Editor | Symitar®
8985 Balboa Avenue | San Diego, CA 92123
619-682-3391 | or ext. 763391 |

Symitar Documentation Services

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