Dialog Boxes: Design GuidelinesĀ 

A dialog box is a secondary window that prompts an exchange of information between the user and the program.

  • Do not use customized dialog boxes when standard dialog boxes exist. This practice is needlessly time-consuming, introduces inconsistency across the product, and increases localization costs. Standard dialog boxes include the following.


    Save As


    Browse for folder


    Find and Replace


    Page Setup

    User Name and Password



    If you require functionality lacked by an otherwise appropriate standard dialog box, you can often extend the dialog box to include additional controls. When you do, append the new functionality in the toolbars or on the right or bottom sides.

  • Every dialog box must include a means of closing the surface. The following table describes the available buttons and their behavior.

    Use To
    Art Image

    Carry out pending changes, if any, and close the dialog box. When a dialog box opens, the OK button typically has input focus.

    Art Image

    Stop an action or end a process. Also, use to close a dialog box without making pending changes.

    Art Image

    Close a dialog box in which no user input is possible.

    Position these command buttons horizontally in the lower-right corner. If you use the OK button, make it the left-most button. If you use the Close command button, you must map it to the ESC key.

    Developer Note:
    Mapping Close to ESC You can map Close to the ESC key by using the reserved identifier IDCANCEL.

  • Dialog box dimensions should not exceed 332 X 332 dialog units. At the default screen resolution, a dialog box should be entirely visible.

See Also


Command Buttons
Layout Specifications: Win32
Layout Specifications: Windows Forms
Property Sheets