In our application users can set a complex amount of settings for an item that they might want to re-use for other items. Inside an item a button opens a dialog showing a list of other items you can select to copy those settings to. The existing settings of those items will be overridden.

Now, intuitively I thought of the term 'Duplicate' for this button, but I'm not sure if it's clear that 'duplicate' will include 'override' as well. Duplicate & Override is too long.

Does 'Duplicate' imply settings will be overwritten? Is there a better term?

1 Answer 1


The description is somewhat vague, but I'd consider to opt for clarity rather than brevity in this interaction. The user is about to perform a destructive action, so in the target selection modal, add explanatory text and appropriate styling to indicate that this action should be taken carefully.

I envision something like the following could be effective (not knowing at all what your current UI looks like).

Item configuration includes a "Copy settings to..." option, which opens a modal with description of the action to be performed.

The phrase "copy to" should hint that we're about to take a copy and use it in a new place. "Copy" is not a destructive word, and Antelope's configuration will not be destroyed.

However, within the context of that new place, we will be destructively applying this copy. The terms "overwrite" and "replace" are very clear about what they will do (i.e. the target will be destroyed and made to look like this new thing).

"Copy settings from Antelope" = safe; "overwrite and replace Cat's settings" = destructive. This keeps the destructive terms where they apply.

  • Looks great. I had something similar in mind. So you would suggest the word 'copy' as verb for the action string / button? Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 15:08
  • @GerlofLeuhof I've edited to address this question. Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 15:35
  • If we're talking in non-destructive terms, I'm not sure if copy is more accurate than duplicate.. I think Photoshop talks about 'duplicating layers' for example which you can also duplicate to a different project. Is there a reason you would choose copy over duplicate? Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 15:41
  • @GerlofLeuhof To my ear, they're equivalent. As verbs, both say that a new thing will be created that looks identical to the existing. I'm not sure that either sounds "safer" to me. Sure, PhotoShop chose "duplicate", but Windows chose "copy". I think one just tends to sound better in certain contexts than another, but they accomplish the same thing. Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 15:49
  • @GerlofLeuhof I guess I see this more as a "copy and paste" kind of function, so I lean towards "copy". I'm sure you could use "duplicate" to still describe the non-destructive act of applying those same settings to a new item. Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 15:52

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