Windows 9x & NT
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More Windows Elements
an application will show you a document or a list that is too big to fit
inside the window. This is what really defines the 'window' concept: just
like a real window, these rectangles show you a view of the world, but
not necessarily all of it at once. The scroll bar indicates what part of
the page you are looking at, and gives you controls to move the window
to other parts of the document. Scroll bars come in two flavors: horizontal,
shown on the right, and vertical, shown here on the bottom: .
The middle part of the bar, called the scroll box: ,
is indicates which part of the document or list you are looking at. Therefore,
if the box is at the top of the scroll bar, then you are looking at the
top of the list. In Windows 95, this box has the added benefit of indicating
how much of the list is being displayed; if the box covers one third of
the length of the scroll bar, then you are seeing one third of the list.
If this box is missing, then you are viewing the entire list and there
is nothing else to scroll to. If you press the mouse button down on this
box and drag it, you will move the window
over the document so that you can see other parts of it.
The arrows on either side of the bar:
can be used to move the window one line at a time. This is useful when
the scroll box is very small and you need to fine-tune the window position.
If you want to jump from one 'page' to the next, click
in the blank area on either side of the scroll box. This will move the
window one window's length at a time.
A button is one of the most basic control elements in Windows. It usually
looks something like this: ,
with something written in it, such as "OK", "CANCEL",
"YES", "NO", etc. To use the button,
just click on it with the mouse. It's
the easiest thing there is.
Text Box (a.k.a. Edit Box)
This is a box you can type something into: .
It's distinguishing characteristic is the presence of the keyboard cursor
(the flashing vertical bar, seen here on the left.) Even if there's text
in the box that is highlighted, the
keyboard cursor will be there:
(look carefully at the right side of the highlight.)
WARNING: it's very common for people to mess up editing things
in boxes like the last example. If you were to start typing in that box,
it would erase everything that was highlighted.
This may or may not be what you wanted to do, but it's the same thing that
happens in most any text editor you use. If you want to replace the text,
go ahead and type. But if you instead want to add something onto the end
of it, make sure you take the keyboard out of highlight
mode first! The easiest way to do this is to click
the mouse button at the end, or hit the right arrow key.
A list box is identified by a down arrow button at the end of the line.
Clicking on the button will drop down
a list of items that you can choose from: .
When you click on an item in the list,
the list will disappear and the item you selected will appear in the box.
Note that some list boxes can also be edit boxes, but others are static
- meaning that you can't type in anything you want; you can only pick one
of the values in the list. If the list box is also an edit box, you can
place a keyboard cursor in it, like so: .
A selection box is like a list box, except that the list is permanently
open. You can highlight any item
in the list. In some selection boxes (the File Manager or Windows 95 Explorer,
for example,) you may even be allowed to highlight
several items at once. To do this, you can either click
on the first item and then Shift-click
on the last item, which will highlight
all items in between, or Ctrl-click on
each item individually if the items you want are disjointed.
A tree is a special type of selection box. It shows objects (such as the
folders on the left in the Windows 95 Explorer) that are related in a hierarchal
organization. In this example, the "Glasses" through "Woods"
folders are all inside the "Texsamps" folder, which should be
obvious by the lines which are connecting these folders. The lines also
show that "Texsamps" is inside another folder which is above
the window, and "SocketWatch" in inside yet a different folder;
you would need to use the scroll bar to find the
Notice that some folders have a box next to them with a '+' or '-',
while others do not. The box with the '+' indicates that there are other
folders inside that folder, but the folder is currently closed. To open
it, either double-click on the
folder or click on the '+' box (which
is easier.) This will turn it into a box with a '-' and display everything
inside the folder. Repeat the process to close it up again.
A tree can consist of anything, not just folders. For example, the items
in Device Manager form a tree.
Here is a different view of a tree. Instead of '+' and '-' boxes and connecting
lines, the open folders ()
indicate the current directory path you have selected, and the closed folders
indicate subdirectories inside the last open folder that you may choose
from (again, you may need to use the scroll bar
to find the folder you want.) Note that in this view, all the folders that
are siblings to open folders are hidden. Thus, in the above example, if
you want to get to a folder inside "c:\" other than "windows",
you must double-click on the "c:\"
folder to close "windows" first.
A check box is a simple on/off selection. A check means it's on, no check
means it's off. Sometimes you may have an in-between selection; if there
is a check in a gray box, that means that parts of the option are selected,
while other parts are not. Usually there will be another button that you
can press to see which components of that item are selected.
A radio button lets you choose exactly one item from a list. When you click
on any of the buttons, the other buttons in the group automatically turn
Slider (a.k.a. Lever)
A slider is a way to adjust a setting within a range of values, such as
from slow to fast, small to large, soft to loud, or "640 by 480"
to "1280 by 1024". Simply hold down the mouse button on the lever
and move it in the desired direction.
A tab is "A projection, flap, or short strip attached to an object
to facilitate opening, handling, or identification."
Sometimes a dialog box needs to contain more
information than will fit in the window. In these cases, the dialog is
divided into pages, which you can get to by clicking
on the pages' tabs.