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Motif and CDE 2.1 Style Guide Reference

Properties (Choice)



Properties is an action choice that displays a property dialog in which the user can display and set properties or characteristics of a file object or other element.

When to use

Use a Properties choice to allow the user to change the properties of a file or object.


Include a Properties choice in the File menu when the user can change the attributes of the selected file, for example, to change a read-only file to read-write.

Use a multipage control to display properties if they cannot all be displayed at once.

If multiple elements are selected, and the user chooses Properties, then for a given property, do the following:

  1. Provide a description that encompasses all selected elements. For example, properties that can take only two values can be displayed as a check box that may either be set, unset, or indeterminate.

  2. Provide a separate page for each element, with each page showing the value for that property.

  3. Recommended
    When a user opens the properties of objects selected with a primary selection, allow selections to be made in the properties window. When the user closes the properties window, return the primary selection to the original selected objects.

    When a parent container (or folder) displays an element that represents an object, the properties of the object can be represented by the following:

    1. Aspects of the state or contents of the specified object

    2. Container-specific attributes of the object that are part of the container's state (for example, how the container is to manage the object or objects)

    3. View-specific presentation attributes of the object (for example, the icon for the object when viewed by the user, or when viewed by the user in this container)

    4. Optional
      When the selected element represents an object, properties may contain presentation attributes, which include the following:

      1. Whether the object should be represented as an icon or as a live or dead inset

      2. If represented as an icon, the representation, size, color, and so on

      3. For an object represented as an icon or dead inset, the default action (for example, the result of double-clicking on it)

      4. For an icon that represents a link: the link properties, whether the default action should be traversal and, if so, whether to reuse an existing view of the linked data

      5. If the link is to a portion of the object, whether to display only the linked data or the linked data selected in the context of the containing object

      6. Essential Related Topics

        For more information, see the Selected Menu reference page.

        Supplemental Related Topics

        For more information, see the Menu Guidelines reference page.

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