I want to find out what other people have found out about a very common design-pattern. However, my searches come up empty. The pattern is a minimalist save/load feature for things secondary to the actual user content. Good examples are:

  • Styles in Word, Photoshop
  • Window/Workspace layouts in IDEs
  • Presets of any kind
  • Favorites in web browsers

The pattern manifests itself with minimal or contextual UI, such as :

Table Styles in Word Swatches in Adobe Illustrator Styles in Affinity Studio

What is this pattern called?

2 Answers 2


Styles in Word,

Photoshop Window/Workspace layouts in IDEs

Presets of any kind

Favorites in web browsers

Last item notwithstanding (not sure how it fits) at an abstract level they are both collections and configurations. The examples you cite (except for bookmarks) are collections of settings. You configure settings, then save them, then load them later.

What Microsoft Word calls a "style" is a collection of settings. I assume you can configure them and make your own (I haven't figured out how yet) but I do this in Creative Suite for documents, window layouts, etc. to suit whatever work I'm doing.

Different products use different words for this, there's such a breadth of variation that I'm not sure there's a universal term for it. If you're looking for the appropriate word to use, it might depend on the problem domain and context. "Styles, "Themes" are totally appropriate for Word docs. "Workspaces" totally appropriate for a bunch of windows in the same app.


The ones from Word and Affinity studio are context menus. I don't know if those buttons at the bottom of Photoshop's layer panel are described in a pattern or how it's called. Best I can come up with is 'quick actions', but I believe that's more of a Android term.

  • That's the name of the widgets used. I'm looking for the name of the general design pattern behind all three implementations.
    – Chris
    May 7, 2018 at 15:02
  • But the implementations in your example differ from one another. Affinity studio and Word both show an extra set of actions when the user clicks on a button (and I'm pretty sure the name for this pattern is context menu). Photoshop instantly shows a number of buttons that execute right away.
    – Ruudt
    May 7, 2018 at 15:08

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