[HIG] Re: Multiple values in widget?

On 11 Jul 2002, Lars Clausen wrote:

> In Dia, we have a very generic system for Properties dialogs that allows us
> to set properties for several objects at the same time.  However, we're not
> quite sure how to represent a value that is different in different objects.
> Example:
> A diagram has three lines, two of width 3, one of width 5.  The user
> selects all lines and opens the properties dialog.  What should the line
> width widget show?  Obviously, if the user changes it, it will be set to
> the same for all three lines.  But there should be some indication that the
> values aren't currently the same for all objects.
> Other programs:  Abiword will blank out the selectors for fonts, but for
> font style, it unselects the B/I/U selectors rather than indicate there's
> differences.
> Kword sets the selectors based on where you end the select-drag.
> Kivio just picks one value (first object, I think) and shows that.
> Visio marks one object in a different select color and that object's
> values is shown in the dialog.
> Are there any HIG people around who could give input on how it's best to
> handle this kind of thing?  Ignore it?  Mark one object as 'master'?  Add
> some decoration to imply that a value is not the same for all selected
> objects? 

For some widgets (checkbox, radio button, toggle button) there is an 
"inconsistent" mode which can be used for this. When it's used like this 
the inconsistent state means keep settings for all object unmodified, but 
if you change it from inconsistent to a value all objects get that value.

The widget is only made inconsistent if the value in question actually 
differs among the objects of course.

 Alexander Larsson                                            Red Hat, Inc 
                   alexl redhat com    alla lysator liu se 
He's an impetuous playboy shaman looking for 'the Big One.' She's a 
provocative winged stripper with a song in her heart and a spring in her step. 
They fight crime! 

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