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The upper right of the following page has a block labelled "How to Format". What's the formal name for this element in GUI design?

enter image description here

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Are you referring to the heading itself (circled) or the entire section including the heading and the block below it? – Virtuosi Media Aug 30 '12 at 15:10
It might also be worth adding a starting point with common options, so that the user isn't presented with an empty screen. Nice example here: – Steve Jones Aug 8 '15 at 13:18
up vote 10 down vote accepted

I would call it an Inline Help Box which can take many forms and shapes. Take a look at UI Patterns: Inline Help Box, where they explain the following:

Use to gently introduce functionality to the new and untrained user.

...which is exactly what "How to format" in your screenshot is meant to do.

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