Bad Idea To Disable an 'Edit' Menu
ambassador at fourthworld.com
Sat Aug 20 14:18:43 CDT 2005
Ken Ray wrote:
>>But if you disable the entire menu, what happens to your Preferences
>>item on Win?
> It disables along with the rest of the menu
>>Although the Win HIG says that when all of a menu's items are
>>unavailable to go ahead and disable the entire menu, in the case of the
>>Edit menu that's not likely to be an issue, since it's the common place
>>for the Preferences item.
> Well, actually it's not as common to do that in Windows apps as in Mac -
> they usually don't have "Preferences" under the Edit menu; they have
> "Options" under the Tools menu, or if it does have "Preferences", it's not
> under the Edit menu (I've seen it under Configure, or File, etc.).
And here we enter the Windows World of "Sometimes":
- WordPad is supposed to be a simple model app, but they have the
options for all features accessible under an "Options..." item in the
View menu, even though it's not limited to options related to the view
(and other parts of the Win HIG suggest keeping only things related to
views in the View menu). But the comedy doesn't end there: the WordPad
"Options" dialog has a number of of tabs, and the first one is labeled
- In MS' Sound Recorder app they have an "Audio Properties" item (the
closest thing to Prefs in that app) in the Edit menu.
- MS Internet Explorer has no preferences per se; it has an "Internet
Options" item in the Tools menu which coincidentally includes browser
prefs as a subset, but since it governs all aspects of Internet usage
it's not quite the same thing as Preferences for the app; I feel it's
treated appropriately as the anomaly it is.
- Outlook Express does have an "Options..." item in the Tools menu --
there's one. :)
- Adobe Reader has a "Preferences..." item in the Edit menu even though
they also have a Tools menu (but then again they have a View menu but
put their Zoom options in their Tools menu).
- Apple's QuickTime Player has a "Peferences..." item in the Edit menu.
Of course they're Apple, but they're a bigger cross-platform vendor
- My copy of the printed Win HIG has neither "Preferences" nor "Options"
in the index, and I could find no specific recommendation in the online
So where do all these data points leave us?
Without guidance from the mother ship, your guess is as good as mine.
Windows-only apps vary too broadly and Microsoft themselves appear to
have no stated opinion on the issue, so it looks like another Windows
free-for-all, esp. for apps that don't have a Tools menu.
For myself, I usually split it down the middle with an "Options" item
under the Edit menu, set by script on startup to "Preferences" if it
opens on a Mac. I've mad many an email about a wide range of UI nuances
but never one on my prefs nomenclature, so unless it becomes a problem
I'm sticking with it. :)
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