I am wondering if you have seen a table design on web where multiple items could be edited at the same time. For example if I have a column with title group name and the first row is having value "group India" and second one is having value "group Japan". Now if I decide to click on a edit next to group India, it converts the group India row into a text input box, however now I don't click on save button associated with group India and leave the text input box. I move over to the second row i.e. group Japan and click on edit. Now I would like to have two edit boxes at the same time displayed. Then the user can click on save( 2 separate or a global save) once they are done changing the name of the group. If you could point me to some examples it would be great. Thanks

2 Answers 2


What you propose will give a WYSIWYG way of editing the table, good idea when you have a large data grid and only plain text data (multiple rich text editors inside a tables looks a mess!).

I've built something like this for an app a few months back that seems to do the job well.

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make sure you highlight all rows which are being edited. You could even provide a checkbox beside each row to 'batch save' rows.

  • Thanks a lot for sharing this. I guess my question is more towards exploring if this interaction is even useful for end users. In other words why would a user want to edit multiple rows at the same time. I just wanted to see what rationale or context of designs other people had kept in mind while proposing multiple edits at the same time. I m actually inclined towards thinking that multiple edits at the same time can lead to more errors as you are keeping multiple values editable at the same time and also expect the users to remember a lot of values, which is not always the case. Thanks again
    – varun86
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 2:58
  • A Definite instance for having multiple edit boxes is if you don't 'Save' by AJAX, user will avoid multiple reloads ofc. Beyond that, I guess it's really down to your specific application and it's users.
    – Kashyap
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 6:39

You should probably have a separate text box that edits the items rather than typing in the item directly. This will make it easier to understand that you can select two (or more) items at the same time.

If you select one item, its text should be displayed in the separate text box. If you select two (or more) items, the text box could display "" or similar. What you type into the text box when multiple items are selected is what gets into each item.

Have a "Ok" and "Cancel" button so that the user either can proceed with the changes - or, from the users perspective, safely remove any changes by pressing "cancel" (better than to just don't press "Ok").

  • Thanks Henrik. Please check my comment above, my concern is not towards the actual interaction but understanding the rationale behind this functionality. Thanks again
    – varun86
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 2:59
  • Well, if you separate rationale from interaction design, I don't know what's left? Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 6:30
  • There are 1000's of interactions out on web which make no sense. And I used the word interaction not interaction design. To learn about a certain interaction and look into it's usage of interaction is very different from learning interaction design. I was asking about former.
    – varun86
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 16:44

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