Latest posts by techwriter (see all)
- 101 Tips and Tutorials to Write Like a Pro - August 17, 2017
- How to Find a Technical Writing Job – Some Ideas and Resources - August 9, 2017
- BOOK REVIEW: “Design for How People Learn” by Julie Dirksen - July 10, 2017
© Ugur Akinci
RIGHT CHEVRON (>) is used in technical documents to denote a SERIES of SEQUENTIAL ACTIONS.
If you’re writing a software or hardware manual, the changes are those actions would be “GUI actions,” that is, describing what the user should do on the screen with a mouse, keyboard shortcut, or a tablet pen.
If you first click A and then B (on a screen), you can use the shorthand “click A > B” to express that. It’s a common usage especially for menu items that reveal sub-menu items.
Instead of saying “click File and then select Open from the drop-down sub-menu,” it’s shorter just to say “click File > Open“. That’s a proper usage of a right chevron.
However, when you are clicking COMMAND BUTTONS (like OK or SAVE), there is no need to use a right chevron since there is subsequent action following that.
That’s why “click > SAVE” is not correct. You can just say “Click SAVE” and that would be just fine.
Some other examples:
APPROPRIATE: Click Save tab.
NOT SO: Click > Save tab. (“Click” is an action. It is not a GUI/screen element.)
APPROPRIATE: Click Tools on the menu bar.
NOT SO: Click Tools > on the menu bar. (“On the menu bar” is a description. It is not a GUI/screen element.)