There's a program that draws various types of horizontal lines that anchor to other horizontal objects that are usually a little bit tilted.

Some of the lines, by default, are completely horizontal, meaning they have no slope, even though the objects they are anchored to do. Some other lines, by default, get the same slope of the objects they are anchored to.

Although these are the defaults, it's useful to override them in both cases. What would be better, to have a checkbox in the line properties saying "Allow diagonal", or to have a checkbox saying "Force horizontal"? Why?

  • Just a thought, I often see "designer" type applications using the term "snap to grid" when they want to convey something that is restricted in position/orientation. Perhaps that will suit your requirement?
    – musefan
    Sep 14, 2020 at 10:35

1 Answer 1


You need to reconsider the metaphor you are using.

You've chosen "Allow diagonal" and "Force horizontal" which is a difficult dichotomy to handle. The two terms don't directly communicate two different states of a single value. With these terms it's going to be difficult for anyone to figure out what state a filled or empty checkbox relates to.

If you changed it to something like "Constrain" then you could imply on and off states giving you an easy choice for you check box: If the box is checked then the constrain rule is applied and the line is forced into the horizontal.

  • This answer seems to be under the assumption that the OP is intending on using both terms, when in fact it appears they will only pick one of them. In which case, there is no conflict between the terms. Also, your suggestion of using "Constrain" is quite ambiguous, how will the user know what is being constrained?
    – musefan
    Sep 14, 2020 at 10:33
  • Even using either of the terms that the OP suggested (rather than both) would make a binary state switch difficult to understand. Also "constrain" would be unambiguous due to the fact that it appears in the line properties as stated by the OP. However, I am always open to the possibility of better solutions and encourage you to submit your own suggestion. Sep 14, 2020 at 17:58

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