"Type" vs. "Enter"

Subject: "Type" vs. "Enter"
From: Chuck Martin <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2004 11:02:04 -0700

Wow, I did a search on the list and didn't find anything. I'm surprised, but then I'm surprised at what I just read in the online edition of the Microsoft manual of Style:

enter (v)
Do not use as a synonym for type except to indicate that a user can either type or click a selection from, say, a list in a combo box.

Type your password, and then press ENTER.
In the File name box, enter the name of the file.

Enter your password, and then click OK.
At the prompt, enter the path and file name.


type vs. enter
Use type, not type in or enter, if information the user types appears on the screen. An exception to this rule is that you can tell users to "enter" a file name, for example, in a combo box when they have the choice of typing a name or selecting one from a list. You can also use a combination of words such as "type or select" if space is not an issue.

Type your password.
Enter the file name.
Type the path to the server or select it from the list.

Type in your password.
Enter your password.

Now this counters what I learned and what I've been doing for years. I was taught that "type" is wrong specifically because you can't assume that every user will be typing. From vice to handwriting, there are any number of ways to enter information into a field, and some ways are limited because of user disability.

So I've been using "Enter" for years. I'm even writing a style guide where I say to use "enter" instead of "type," and then I go to download the MMoS (because I want that to be one reference, in addition to Chicago, for people to use when the style guide says nothing) and what do I find.

I know, I know, you'll say "pick one and be consistent." But I'm more concerned about appropriateness, and to me, "enter" is both completely synonymous with and not as limiting as "type."

Friday thoughts?

Chuck Martin
User Assistance & Experience Engineer
twriter "at" sonic "dot" net www.writeforyou.com

"I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.
The day may come when the courage of Men fail, when we forsake our
friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day!
This day, we fight!"
- Aragorn

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
- Gandalf


ROBOHELP X5: Featuring Word 2003 support, Content Management, Multi-Author
support, PDF and XML support and much more!
TRY IT TODAY at http://www.macromedia.com/go/techwrl

WEBWORKS FINALDRAFT: New! Document review system for Word and FrameMaker
authors. Automatic browser-based drafts with unlimited reviewers. Full
online discussions -- no Web server needed! http://www.webworks.com/techwr-l
You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archiver -at- techwr-l -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.techwr-l.com/techwhirl/ for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: Advice for a regular journalist?
Next by Author: Extracting Text from Acrobat File
Previous by Thread: RE: [Fwd: Re: a different resume red flag]
Next by Thread: RE: "Type" vs. "Enter"

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads