< Projects‎ | Usability‎ | HIG
Revision as of 13:37, 9 January 2014 by Htietze (talk | contribs)



Common controls should behave ‘common’ and look like everyday controls. Therefore, it is much recommended to use standard font. Bold or italic font should not be applied to control labels.


  • Keep labels short; be aware that translated English text can expand up to 30% in some languages.
  • Do not shorten your labels to the point of losing meaning, however. A three-word label that provides clear information is better than a one-word label that is ambiguous or vague. Try to find the fewest possible words to satisfactorily convey the meaning of your label.
  • When the label is associated with another control, like a line edit, be sure to set the the line edit as the buddy of the label.


  • If a dialog is user initiated, identify it using the command or feature name.
  • If it is program or system initiated (and therefore out of context), label it using the program or feature name to give context.
  • Do not use the title to explain what to do in the dialog – that's the purpose of the main instruction.


  • Prefer verb-based names; Avoid generic, unhelpful verbs, such as Change or Manage.
  • Use singular nouns for commands that apply to a single object, otherwise use plural nouns.
  • For pairs of complementary commands, choose clearly complementary names. Examples: Add/Remove, Show/Hide, or Insert/Delete.
  • Choose menu item names based on user goals and tasks, not on technology.
  • Assign access keys to all menu items (Alt+Letter).


  • Label command buttons with an imperative verb.
  • Do not use ending punctuation for labels.
  • Describe the action that the button performs in a tooltip.
  • End the label with an ellipsis if the command requires additional information to execute.
  • Assign access keys to all buttons (Alt+Letter).


  • Choose a concise, self-explanatory label that clearly communicates and differentiates what the command link does.
  • Do not use ellipses.


  • Label tabs based on their pattern. Use nouns rather than verbs, without ending punctuation.
  • Do not assign an access key. Tabs are accessible through their shortcut keys (Ctrl+Tab, Ctrl+Shift+Tab).

Check boxes and Radio buttons

  • Label every check box or radio button.
  • Assign a unique access key to each label.
  • Write the label as a phrase or an imperative sentence, and use no ending punctuation.
  • Write the label so that it describes the selected state.
  • For a group, use parallel phrasing and try to keep the length about the same for all labels.
  • For a group, focus the label text on the differences among the options.
  • Use positive phrasing. Don't phrase a label so that selecting means not to perform an action.
  • Describe just the option with the label. Keep labels brief so it's easy to refer to them in messages and documentation.

Group box

  • Use the group label to explain the purpose of the group, not how to make the selection. End each label with a colon.
  • Do not assign an access key to the label.
  • For a selection of one or more dependent choices, explain the requirement on the label.


This page was last edited on 4 August 2016, at 11:26. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.