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 application- or system-initiated (and therefore out of context), label it using the program or feature name to provide 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).
- 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.
- 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.
Using Ellipses in Labels
- Use an ellipsis (...) after menu items and button labels which require user’s input before completing their action.
- Do not use an ellipsis if no further user input is required to complete the action
- Do not use an ellipsis for selections which result in actions (such as Save or Print Preview) or do not require user input (such as configuration dialogs).
- Do not use an ellipsis for an action which may require confirmation before it is completed (such as a Deletion confirmation), but no other input.
- Use an ellipsis for the following menu items and buttons:
- Find..., Find and Replace..., Open..., Print..., Replace..., Save As..., Send To...
- Do not use an ellipsis for the following menu items and buttons:
- About, Advanced Options, Check Spelling, Close or Quit, Configure [something], Delete or Remove, Help, Preferences, Print Preview, Properties, Toolboxes
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