Re: Action(s) menu

Subject: Re: Action(s) menu
From: Lee Hunter <lee -dot- hunter -at- hum -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 2004 19:07:25 -0400

Robin Kelsey wrote:

In the first edition of the user manual I called that menu the "Actions
menu," because that is how it is labelled and I didn't want to cause any
confusion; but the fact is that nobody really calls it that in speech - they
call it the "Action menu." (I actually find "Actions menu" kind of hard to
pronounce. It trips up my tongue in the middle.)

For the next edition of the user manual I'd like to start calling that thing
the "Action menu," even though it will still be labelled "Actions." Any

At the risk of stating the obvious, a question of using the singular versus the plural depends on whether it's one thing or many.

If your application has one action and the menu is therefore about different things that can be done with that one action then it should probably be called the "Action menu".

If the menu provides more than one action, it should be called the "Actions menu". For example, I'm writing this message in Thunderbird. The menu bar has a Tools menu (because it offers more than one tool) and a View menu (because the menu options only change the one actual view).

However, even if there was only one action I don't think I'd bother changing the name. I'd need a strong reason to make the documentation different from the UI.


Lee Hunter - Technical Editor & Information Architect

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Navigation panes in help systems: From: Leo Paoletti
Action(s) menu: From: Robin Kelsey

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