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> A dialog box doesn't have a real-world physical equivalent
> like a folder or document -- it's OUTSIDE the desktop
> metaphor -- so it doesn't have to "open" like a folder or
> document. It's an intrusive, metaphor-breaking interface
> between the user and the computer; "appears" describes its
> behavior perfectly. Plus, "appears" has an antonym that you
> can use when the box goes away; "is displayed" doesn't.
Excellent! I've never understood the irrational negative reaction some
people have to "appears." This is a fine two-part rebuttal of that point
As for Tim's query, there is no "standard convention" precisely because
of the irrational pig-headedness of those who disagree with Andrew and
My preference would be something like this:
To <do some task>:
1. Click XYZ.
2. In the XYZ dialog box, <do some step>.
Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom
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