RE: Style convention question - fields, text boxes, etc.

Subject: RE: Style convention question - fields, text boxes, etc.
From: "Scudder, Beth" <beth -dot- scudder -at- retek -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 08:48:10 -0500

Spinning off a little bit from this thread:

>>The first-draft writer calls them "fields," but that does not seem
>We currently use "text box" to refer to the areas where the user
>actually be entering information, so that term does not seem
>either. <
>- data entry field = a field in which the user enters or selects
the value.
>- display-only field = a field in which the program enters the
value and the
>user cannot change.
>With this convention there are always only two types of fields in
>window, pane, dialog box, or whatever, and they are both called
>We tend not to use the term text box, unless we need to
differentiate it
>from the other kinds of data entry fields, such as list box.

I'm trying to establish a style guide for my company. Currently, we use the
term "field" to refer to a little rectangle in which you can enter
information, or sometimes to refer to a little rectangle that contains
information you can't change (although we usually specify these as
"read-only fields").

A contractor at my company recently pointed out that the MS Manual of Style
says to call these things "boxes". (We currently have two contractors in our
group of 16 people.)

Now is the ideal time for me to set a style for the company - and I want to
do that which makes sense, and is generally industry-standard, but I don't
want to bow blindly to the gods of MS.

I have two questions that come out of this.

(1) Do any/many of you follow the MS Manual of Style on this one? I ask
because most of the writers around here look at that sort of screen element
and immediately call it a "field". Is that term too techy? (Our users are
pretty smart, and are used to using some computer programs in retailing and
data warehousing contexts.)
(2) Where do you draw the line between following something that many
contractors know (the MS Manual of Style) and making your own decisions
about wording?


Beth Scudder
Technical Editor/Writer
Retek Inc.

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