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Q&A

What is the word for the action of selecting an item by a mouse?

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I am writing a tutorial on how to use a specific web application and I don't know which verbs to use. Shall I use "click" for buttons? But what if the user doesn't use a mouse? Contrary to "normal" applications, web applications can be visited by many different clients, e.g. PCs, Smartphones with Touchscreens, Voice Recognition Software... But the verb "select" fits better for radio buttons and check boxes in my opinion and would not be best for buttons.

Also how should I emphasize different elements such as button names, radio button or text field labels, strings to type in from the user, select entries...is there a guideline anywhere?

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This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/q/6197. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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3 answers

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If it is a button, then press is still appropriate, as is click or tap. It can be handy to have multiple synonyms for something, and press works as well, or perhaps even better, for a touch interface than it does for a mouse interface.

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This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/6200. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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I think you can use "click" with relative impunity. Even someone on a tablet or smartphone knows that "click" equates to "tap" with a touch interface. If you really feel strongly about it, you can say "Click or tap" or "Click/tap," but ask around to make sure it doesn't sound clunky.

I agree that "select" is the right word for "choose one or more of these options," not for "interact with this button."

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"Click" is pretty standard in my experience.

As far as the typography, my personal preference is to use bold for anything you want the user to click on or select (button names, etc.) and italics for names of screens or windows. It calls the most attention to the items you want the reader to actually do something with.

Microsoft does have a style guide, The Microsoft Manual of Style, which provides a lot more detail.

The most important thing is to be consistent throughout the document, and make sure it's consistent with other similar documents produced by your company or organization. I'd recommend either using a style guide or creating your own.

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This post was sourced from https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/6269. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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