Command Buttons: UI Text Guidelines 

Clicking a command button immediately performs an action, such as opening another surface.

  • Follow the guidelines for standard commands.
  • Use title caps for command-button labels.
  • Use one-word command-button labels, and usually make that word a verb. This brevity eliminates redundancy and allows room for the localization of label text. There are two exception cases. First, the following standard, non-verb labels are permitted: Back, Forward, New, Next, OK, Previous, Properties, Settings, and Detail.
    Second, you should use a direct object (a noun after the verb) when the object is not apparent from context. In the following example, Add is the label because the context already specifies the object (counters).
    Command button labels that do not need nouns
    Art Image Contrast this with Add Objects and Add Counters, where the context does not make the objects (objects and counters) apparent, so the objects must be included in the label.
    Command button labels that do need nouns
    Art Image
  • For command buttons that open secondary surfaces, choose a command-button label composed of part or all of the secondary surface’s title-bar text. For example, a command button labeled Browse might open a dialog box entitled Browse for Folder. Using the same basic terminology throughout the task helps to keep the user oriented.
  • If a command button expands the window to display additional information, include a double chevron (two angle brackets) in the button label, as shown.
    Double chevrons indicating expansion
    Art Image
  • Sometimes a command button takes an ellipsis [ … ]at the end of its label. If the action is deferred (for instance, if an interim dialog box appears as a result), then the label takes an ellipsis. If the action occurs immediately, no ellipsis is needed.
    For example: if the user clicks the Print command button and a document is instantly sent to the printer, there is no ellipsis on the Print button.
    Art Image If, however, the user clicks Print and a Printer Settings dialog box appears, then the Print button would take an ellipsis. An ellipsis indicates to users that they have an opportunity to modify the task before it finishes.
    Art Image For certain standard buttons with the implied verb "open" (such as Properties, Settings, and Details), use no ellipses.
  • When indicating direction in a label (such as with Add and Remove buttons), use a single angle bracket instead of an arrow or a double chevron, as shown.
    Single chevrons indicate direction
    Art Image
  • Use click in instructions for command buttons—for example: "To continue, click Next."

See Also


Dialog Boxes
Layout Specifications: Win32
Layout Specifications: Windows Forms
Text Boxes