Re: Use of ellipsis ("...") in menu items

> > Colour or mark certain menu items [...] the same
> > way the "..." tells you it will open a new window.
> This is a common misunderstanding, the "..." does *not* indicate a new
> window will be opened, it indicates that additional information is
> required (usually, this information is entered using a dialog box)
> before the command can be executed.

This is true, but the difference between the two is only evident when
you consider that this only applies to actions.  Your later example of
"Properties" means "Show Properties" and, as you point out, should
probably have been "Show Properties", except that users who know
what it is now realise that it just shows the properties of the current
object.  If it allows something to be changed, it should be "Properties..."

> Unfortunately, most systems aren't really consistent in the use of the
> ellipsis, often because they don't use verbs in menu items. For
> example, should Options be "Options..." (i.e. change options) or
> "Options" (i.e. show options)?

"Options ..." means, in English, "Options, and more in a moment".  This
translation into menus means, to the user, something more will happen when
I click this; it is not an end unto itself.  For example "Copy ..." means
it isn't _just_ "Copy", its something more (although its ambiguous).  "Copy"
means that it is a command -- "Copy".  This type of direct language to
UI relationship is something that some programmers have a hard time with.
Mind you, reading the comments in their source code makes me wonder
if they shouldn't have just used Babelfish instead ;-).

> I'd love to see a system that uses a verb in every menu item, and
> consistently uses hints like "...". For example, "Folder settings..."
> should be either "Show Folder settings" (no ellipsis) or "Change
> Folder Settings..." (with ellipsis).

I don't like the idea of additional verbs, unless they are popups of
some form ... (not over menu items).  It would be nice to have the "?" arrow
that some Windows applications had -- where the user can click an arrow
with a ? on it, and then click a menu item, etc. to receive help about that
Michael T. Babcock
CTO, FibreSpeed

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