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Lesson 6. Using Dialog Boxes > Selecting Dialog Box Options

Selecting Dialog Box Options

Windows uses a handful of standardized elements that work the same way for any dialog box you encounter. To move through the objects in the dialog box, press the Tab key. To back up to the previous element, press Shift+Tab. Here's a listing of the elements and how to use them:

  • Text box A box into which you type text, such as the name of a file, the key number on the back of the Windows 98 CD, or a password to access the Windows 98 Desktop. To replace existing text, drag over it to highlight the text, and then type what you want to replace it. Figure 6.1 shows a dialog box that contains a text box control.

  • List box A rectangle that lists several choices, the way a menu does. If there are more entries in the list than can be shown at once, a scrollbar appears along the right and/or bottom edges. For a list box that supports multiple choices (such as a file list), to select more than one item at a time, hold down the Ctrl key and click each item. You can also hold down the Shift key and click the first and last item in a range to select all the items in that range. A list box is shown in Figure 6.1.

    Figure 6.1. A text box and a list box.

  • Drop-down list box A variation of a standard list box; the list is revealed when you click the down-arrow. To select something from the list, click it. You can't change or add to the items in the list. Figure 6.1 shows a drop-down list box.

  • Combo box A hybrid of the text box and list box. The top line of a combo box works like a regular text box, featuring a blinking cursor. You may type a choice into this box or choose one from the list below the text line. A combo box supports only one choice at a time.

  • Check box Click the box next to the item you select to place a check mark in the box. Check boxes may be grouped together. If they are, you can choose more than one option. Figure 6.2 shows a group of check boxes.

    Figure 6.2. A tabbed dialog box featuring check boxes and option buttons.

  • Option button This type of button is also known as a radio button. You click the circle or label beside an item to select it. Unlike the check box, you can choose only one option in the set. Figure 6.2 shows a dialog box with a set of option buttons.

  • Command button The most common button in a dialog box. The OK and Cancel buttons are command buttons. After making selections in a dialog box, click OK to issue the command with the options you selected, or click Cancel to not issue the command. Most dialog boxes have a default command button, which is generally the OK button. Press Enter at any time while the dialog box is active to activate the default command button; press Esc to dismiss the dialog box without issuing the command.


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