Curious. I have a Silverlight application where you can choose set margins for a piece of text. Thus you can choose set the margin on more than one side of the text (top, bottom, left, right). Currently, I just have a window that has a few blurry lines and hollow arrows on all for sides, similar to the Interface Builder on Xcode.

So far, none of my users have found that confusing, but I was wondering if there was a better method. All other applications I know of that set margins simply show a number box on all four sides, similar to Microsoft Word.

  • 2
    While not pretty, Word and Excel are certainly somewhat standards in terms of handling this, as they are common tasks for people to do. If your user base happens to overlap with MS Office users, then it may very well make sense to adopt more of the MS Office UI for this task.
    – DA01
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 13:57
  • Yeah, there is no arguing a well trenched standard. I just don't need an option to adjust the margins. Just on or off.
    – surfasb
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 14:02
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    instead of a text field for numbers, perhaps make them checkboxes.
    – DA01
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 14:04
  • 5
    Can the OP add a screenshot of his application? Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 16:15
  • @DA01: That was my other idea. I wasn't anticipating any issues with my current implementation. It sounds pretty rock solid. But I've always felt it never hurts to get another's perspective. You should type that in as an answer.
    – surfasb
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 16:50

1 Answer 1


You could show and set the margins right in the paragraph of text itself - edit in place, if you will.

Or if that kind of solution is irrelevant in your application or some general settings page is needed anyway, you could show a miniatyre version of the page and semi-transparent margins that turn fully opaque when turned on. Kind of what you currently have (if I visualized it correctly) but with the arrows replaced by margin rulers.

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