drop-down menu on a toolbar button

Subject: drop-down menu on a toolbar button
From: Ola Humphries <ohumphr -at- ECT -dot- ENRON -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 09:00:26 -0500

I am writing documentation for an application that uses this feature. Our
programmers give a clue to the user, however, in that they place a small down
arrow to the right of the toolbar button. You click the down arrow to open a
menu. The buttons have no labels,but a tooltip identifies each one. None of the
interfaces in the application has a true menu bar. Functions such as Search,
Print, Create New, Export to Excel, and Cancel are included as buttons on the
windows. Close is accomplished by clicking the upper right corner Close button.
Exit Application is one of the utility buttons on the toolbar.
I like this design. In most applications toolbar buttons and menu bar commands
are two ways to accomplish the same task, so this design reduces the redundancy
in interfaces.
An interesting sidelight is that only one of the programmers involved has
continued the older custom of marking menu commands with underlines to indicate
shortcut keys. You can still scroll the menus using the arrow keys and open
selected items by pressing Enter, but you can't scroll the toolbar from left to
right using only the keyboard insofar as I can determine.
Ola Humphries
Enron, Houston

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