If I have a table of items to download, some of which may already have been downloaded, what is the most succinct and clearest phrase to use for a button or link which represents "download all the items which I have not already downloaded"?

So far, the best I have is Download All Missing but I wonder if there are common phrases that most people already use? Have you seen examples of clearer terminology?

In the below mockup I would expect clicking the 'Missing' link to download A and C.

enter image description here

  • Not sure what the context is, how do you know the user still has the documents that were already downloaded?
    – Martyn
    Jun 20, 2020 at 7:17
  • The system has visibility of the filesystem. Think of it like Netflix and the 'Offline' mode, or similar with all music apps.
    – jaredlt
    Jun 23, 2020 at 9:10

3 Answers 3


Instead of the options you presented, I'd prefer going with the option below regarding the aspects;

1. To give the user ability to perform only choosing via links from the presented options within table to be able to provide single functionality interface elements,

2. Apart from the animating just on the screen what's chosen with the links, it's not likely to occur any further interaction (between server and client --user's computer) until Download button clicked (It's clear keeping button disabled until at least one of the file selected by the user).

Dowload Missing Docs

This way, it can be anticipated by the user that clicking will only effect on choosing the documents as giving additional steps as a detail what's to do next. Besides not necessarily (and I don't prefer to use this box) but if you're going to use the top-left uppermost box as a Select All property, you may even don't need the same button and remove at all. This time I prefer to move Select Missing link next to the download button and it will look like below

Select All applied by the square top-left uppermost

PS: I'd like to prefer more appropriate/tempting buttons to display but it was what it's possible with the prototyping tool.


Have you considered optimizing for the most likely user goal? For example, the simplest text would be "Download all". If some are already downloaded, the most likely goal is to download the rest when selecting this option. Depending on what your users are trying to accomplish, there may not be any need to "download all, including the already downloaded ones".


My first thought would be something like "Download Remaining Documents" perhaps. Although I have to say it's a pretty unique feature you got going on there.

I would consider what you are trying to achieve. If the user is expected to (at some point) have downloaded them all, and may at any given point have only downloaded a sub-set of them, then it suggests this might be a kind of "to do" list of some variant.

It's hard to say without some more explanation as to your exact system, but I would lean towards a design where you effectively have two separate lists/grids. One showing downloaded documents, and one showing non-downloaded. Then perhaps you can more easily use terms such as "Download All Pending Documents" and "Download All Processed Documents", etc.

Alternatively you might consider terming non-download documents as "new" documents, on the assumption that once a document is downloaded then it is no longer new. Then it's easy to say: "Download New Documents". (if you choose this option, make it clear which document are new with a little icon or some pretty tag).

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