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I have a tree on my webpage that is used to display some folders and within these folders some items; These items can be copied from one node of the tree to another and also shared. When copied or shared the name remains the same, however I need to indicate visually that the item is a copy or a shared copy of an original item.

I use this icon image to display the original item enter image description here

What would be a good way to indicate that the item is a copy or a shared item? Any input will be much appreciated.

  • It sounds like you're asking how to implement changing an icon. We don't answer implementation questions here. We also don't answer questions about what icons to use (in case that's your intent). Could you edit your question to be more clear about what you're looking for? – Ken Mohnkern Dec 14 '18 at 17:51
  • @KenMohnkern i am not asking how to implement changing an icon or what icons to use, i was asking for ideas on how to indicate to the user the item is a shared or copied. – The Confused Coder Dec 16 '18 at 9:38
  • Also, can a copy be shared? If so, then you'll need two indicators, one for copy and one for shared. – Ken Mohnkern Dec 17 '18 at 13:47
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To indicate the file is shared, you could add a small person icon in the bottom right corder, such as in Google Drive enter image description here, or dropbox enter image description here.

Unless you have a particular need to show copies of files, I would recommend against doing so. Mostly due to convention, all systems from windows to mac to google drive, dropbox etc don't have this feature. Rather, they treat the copy of a file as a new file. You could append the label "copy" onto the file name, but it is still a new file with no relationship to the original one.

Since this is what users are used to, they will expect the same behavior in your system. Any new behavior will confuse them and will need a dedicated area with an explanation of how the feature works.

  • Thank you, this makes sense, i will redesign my icon to be similar to the one google uses for the google drive. – The Confused Coder Dec 16 '18 at 9:40
  • NextCloud does similar, displaying a share-icon instead of a people-icon. In some cases it might be easier or semantically more correct to show an icon like this instead of abstract people. – BlueWizard Jan 30 at 19:56

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