windows, dialog boxes, and screens

Subject: windows, dialog boxes, and screens
From: Karen Farrell <kfarrell -at- GXT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 10:12:28 -0600


According to the Microsoft Manual of Style, "Dialog boxes contain
command buttons and various kinds of options through which users can
carry out a particular command or task."

An example given is the Save As dialog box. I think of a dialog box as
an interface item that allows users to have a dialog with the program.
The program tells them something, or they tell the program something.

A screen is a graphic portion of a monitor, according to the Microsoft
Manual of Style. For example, "Several dialog boxes appear on the

According to Read Me First: A Style Guide for the Computer Industry, "A
window is the main, rectangular area on which application elements are

I think of a window as a main window, such as the Control Panel or the
FrameMaker window with the document in it. A window can also be a gui
that you can view program graphics in, such as a 3-D Viewer window.

A menu is a list of application commands, such as the File menu.

So, on your screen, you have a FrameMaker window. You choose Save As
from the File menu, and the Save As dialog box opens.

Hope this helps,


Karen Farrell
Technical Writer
GX Technology Corporation

kmf -at- gxt -dot- com

Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool. -Author Unknown

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