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Knowing Menu Terminology

Knowing how menus operate is an important part of the design process. It is also important to be familiar with the standard terminology for Windows menu interfaces. Terms such as top-level menu, sub-menu, and pop-up menu all describe how the menu should behave as well as where the user can expect to see the menu, as shown in Figure 3.1 and 3.2

Menu terminology and hierarchy. Sub-menu Top-level menu
FIGURE 3.1 - Menu terminology and hierarchy. Sub-menu Top-level menu

Pop-up menu for Microsoft Excel
FIGURE 3.2 - Pop-up menu for Microsoft Excel.

Top-level menus are the items seen on the main part of the menu bar, directly under the title bar of the application window. Standard user interface guidelines state that all top-level menus should have at least one sub-menu.

The sub-menu appears when a top-level menu has been opened. The sub-menu implements commands that logically belong to the toplevel menu. One example is the File menu, found in most applications. This is a top-level menu. Once opened, commands such as New, Open, Save, and Close all relate to actions that affect the file.


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