[ Previous | Next | Contents | Glossary | Home | Search ]
Motif and CDE 2.1 Style Guide Reference

Push Button (Control)



A push button is a control that represents an action or dialog choice. Figure 52 shows three push buttons.

Figure 52. Push Buttons.

View figure.

When to Use

If you do not provide a menu bar in a window with a viewing area, place all action, cascading, or dialog choices on push buttons in that window, except for those choices that appear on the window menu.

Use a push button in a window with a menu bar to provide convenient access to a frequently used action choice, dialog choice, or cascading choice.


For push buttons that provide action choices that can be used repeatedly, such as the arrow buttons on the scroll bar, do the following:

  1. Repeat the action if the user presses and holds the SELECT button for an initial period of time (the initial delay time specified by the operating environment). If the user continues to press and hold SELECT, continue to repeat the action whenever SELECT is held down for a period of time (the repeat delay time specified by the operating environment).

  2. Represent a push button with ready emphasis while it is active.

  3. Stop repeating the action when the user moves the pointer away from the push button; resume repeating the action if the user moves the pointer back over the push button without releasing SELECT.

  4. If the user moves the pointer from one button of an adjacent pair of arrow buttons that perform opposite actions to the other button, switch the ready emphasis and switch actions.

  5. Recommended
    When a push button is persistently unavailable (because of the current configuration of the application or system or, for example, a particular set of companion software is not currently installed), remove the push button rather than showing it as unavailable.

    If a push button adjusts (or is associated with) a control within a window (rather than the entire window), do not close the window when a user activates the push button.

    When a window contains push buttons and a menu bar, place choices in the pull-down menus that provide functions equivalent to push-button functions.

    Allow a user to hide or remove push buttons if the choices are available through another mechanism, such as the menu bar.

    Combine existing menu choices to create new push-button choices for frequently used combinations of choices. For example, the Save and the New choices could be combined into a new push-button choice called Save and New that would perform the Save action followed by the New action.

    If the action indicated by the label on a push button adjusts or is associated with a control within the same window as the push button, place the push button near that control. For example, if the function of a push button is to restore the initial value in a text-entry field, place that push button beside the text-entry field that it affects.

    Avoid using a push button to change the size of a window; instead, allow the user to change the size of the window with window menu choices and elements of the window frame.

    If the viewing area of a window can be scrolled and the window contains push buttons that affect the entire window, keep the push buttons visible when the viewing area is scrolled.

    If a window contains a push button that affects a control in a viewing area, scroll the push button along with the control when the user scrolls the viewing area.

    Essential Related Topics

    For more information, see the Choice, Control, Default Action, and Push Button (Predefined) reference pages.

    Supplemental Related Topics

    For more information, see the Dialog (Choice Type), Emphasis (Cue), and Size Border (Control) reference pages.

    [ Previous | Next | Contents | Glossary | Home | Search ]