Reading menus and drive directories

I was in Las Vegas, New Mexico last week. In addition to visiting my sisters and brother, I gave a one-day Macintosh seminar. It was held at a local hotel. Instead of relying on my projector, I used a 52” monitor. There was free wireless access in the room and many of the participants brought their computers, so the first 45 minutes of our time was spent in trying to get everyone online. My first lesson of the day was to have been a demonstration of how to interpret written directions for getting to specific menu items and directories. Unfortunately, that lesson was lost in the flurry of computer issues. I think this is important information, so I thought I would share it here.
I was in Las Vegas, New Mexico last week. In addition to visiting my sisters and brother, I gave a one-day Macintosh seminar. It was held at a local hotel. Instead of relying on my projector, I used a 52” monitor. There was free wireless access in the room and many of the participants brought their computers, so the first 45 minutes of our time was spent in trying to get everyone online. My first lesson of the day was to have been a demonstration of how to interpret written directions for getting to specific menu items and directories. Unfortunately, that lesson was lost in the flurry of computer issues. I think this is important information, so I thought I would share it here.

Computer books, tutorials, lessons and articles frequently need to direct the user to a specific menu. While I have the luxury of using as many screen shots as I want, a number of post to this blog are turned into articles for user group magazines and other publications. While there are many different ways to attempt to lead a reader to a specific menu, many authors use a system similar to this:

Finder > Menu Bar > Go > iDisk > Other User’s Public Folder…




or perhaps this example:

Safari > Menu Bar > File > Mail Link to this Page.




In both examples, the name of the active program (Finder in the first, Safari in the second) begins the line. Then the > symbol is used to designate a specific location.

So, Finder > Menu Bar > Go > iDisk > Other User’s Public Folder… might replace:

Make the Finder the active application. Go to the Menu bar at the top of the page and locate the “Go” menu. Go down to “iDisk, then go sideways to “Other User’s Public Folder.

Safari > Menu bar > File > Mail Link to this Page might replace:

Make Safari the active application. Go to the Menu bar at the top of the page and locate the File menu. Pull down the File menu to Mail Link to This Page.

When writers are referring to paths for files they use a similar system. If you were being directed to Disk Utility, it might be written:

Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.

Another similar system is:

Macintosh HD: Applications: Utilities: Disk Utility.

I prefer the first example. In fact, when I am writing directions to menu items or file locations, I read “>” as “go to.”

There is one more thing to note. The ellipses (&hellipWinking is used in menus to let you know that you will next see a dialog box. For example, Finder > Menu Bar > Go > iDisk > Other User’s Public Folder… will lead you to this dialog box:




If you want to add an ellipses to your writing, press Command > ;.

Here’s a warm welcome to the participants in last week’s seminar. Thanks for spending the day with me!

--Pat

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