(Computer) menu

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Example of a menu as part of a menu bar of a graphical application (in English). The menu File ( file or storage ) is activated and "expanded" or "rolled". The Edit, Window and Help menus are also lined up in the menu bar.

A menu is a form of interactive user guidance in computer programs with a graphic , character-oriented or, more rarely, language-oriented user interface ( GUI , TUI or VUI ). A desired item can be selected from a range of functions , routines or subroutines via such a menu ; hence the name “menu” like menu .

Menu bars summarize menus, mostly horizontally one behind the other in the reading direction.

Menus and menu bars are common user access standards today .

Graphical user interface

Menus are usually grouped hierarchically in menu bars at the edge of the window , which group the commands under key terms or symbols. If these terms are selected, a list opens, the drop-out menu with the associated menu items, which then trigger commands (programs, modules, program actions). Special submenu items do not perform a function directly, but open a further menu level, as a further dropout, as a pop-up menu or as a dialog window .

Overall, the most important functions for the user are listed, which the corresponding operating system or application program offers. One variant is a bar with icons , the toolbar , which is designed less for hierarchical selection and more for direct commands. Mixed forms are common (drop-outs from icons, menu lists with icons and / or text and other forms).

Some letters are highlighted by underlining as a mnemonic and can be used for quick selection using the keyboard ( e.g .: D atei), and can then be selected quickly using keyboard shortcuts.

Basic menus

At the application level, some typical menus have established themselves as standard for the basic program functions, are usually arranged directly under the title line in the menu line and usually always have the same order:
„Datei“ – „Bearbeiten“ – „Ansicht“ – (programmspezifische Menüs) – Extras/Optionen – „Hilfe“

  • Datei(Linux, Microsoft) / Ablage(Apple): Basic functions such as opening and saving files, printing, closing the application itself
  • Bearbeiten: Undo / redo, copy and paste, selection / marking, functions that relate to the marked contents of the program window, mostly also search functions
  • Ansicht(Linux, Microsoft) / Darstellung(Apple): Zoom (scale) , refresh, full screen and the like
  • Extras/ Optionen/ Einstellungen: A menu about the program configuration , other program functions
  • Hilfe: Help page and / or online help, version information ("about"), update

Then there are numerous specific menus depending on the branch of application, such as format menus in word processing, bookmarks / favorites in web browsers and the like.

On the desktop , the menus of the taskbar , the basic toolbar and status bar are common, especially a program menu , which is called the start menu in Windows systems .

More menu types

  • Context menu : a menu with menu items depending on the location of the right mouse click
  • Pie menu : circular arrangement of menu items
  • Bang menu : there is a menu item or button directly in the menu bar that calls up a program function instead of opening a menu
  • Hamburger menu icon : An icon that contains the complete menu structure of a program and usually replaces the menu bar.

Use of attached ellipses

In menu functions or buttons attached represent ellipsis that when selected, another dialog follows, in which the user can make further entries or needs. If the ellipse is missing, the function has already been carried out when you select it.

  • "Save" - ​​the opened file is overwritten without any further input.
  • "Save as ..." - in the following dialog you can e.g. B. another storage location or file name or another file format can be selected.

Character-oriented user interface

Example of a simple menu for character-oriented user interface from 1987 (selection by entering one or two digits)
Variant (selection via cursor keys or mouse)

In the case of a character-oriented user interface , the simplest implementation of a menu is the display of a list of selection options, each of which is assigned an abbreviation (digit, number or letter). The desired menu item is selected by entering the appropriate abbreviation.

A more sophisticated implementation allows navigation through the menu items with the aid of the cursor keys or the mouse (if necessary in two dimensions, with menu items appearing or disappearing; the behavior thus corresponds to the usual solution for GUIs). The current menu item is highlighted and can be selected by pressing the Enter key.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. developer.apple.com: Menu and Menu Item Titles

Web links

Commons : Menus (GUI)  - collection of images, videos and audio files