I guess I'm not looking specifically for an icon, just an idea of what I could use for imagery. I'm having issues today (probably that double cappuccino) imagining what kind of image i could use for something that demonstrates the capability to toggle the idea of "apply all [filters]" and "remove all [filters]". The image doesn't have to show both, just one or the other, and it would switch based on the state.

Of course if you have an icon (16x16), that would be great :) But really I'm just looking for ideas. My current icon set is basically the FamFamFam silk set.

2 Answers 2


Some thoughts:

  1. Icons are guaranteed to confuse most people when used in isolation. I completely love the way Firefox icons have text when there is space to have them. So try and think extra hard about whether there's any way to have a text label next to the icon.
  2. As for the icon, what about 3 overlapping filter icons?
  3. But, taking a step back, Can you break the task into 2 operations -- select all then apply selected filters? I don't know the context of your work but if you can select more than one filter then this might work well. Certainly lots of apps do it.
  • thanks for this response. the reason i asked the question is exactly because of your first point. i like your idea about overlapping filter icons. regarding your third point, this wouldn't apply to my project, as when you select a filter it instantly applies it.
    – Jason
    Sep 24, 2010 at 21:19
  • accepted for the second suggestion
    – Jason
    Sep 25, 2010 at 0:02
  • @Jason Does you app support undo? If not, it might be frustrated to click an indeterminate looking icon and remove something that could involve substantial work.
    – dbkk
    Sep 27, 2010 at 18:21
  • @dbkk there's not a lot of substantial work done. if you turn the filters on or off but didn't mean to, you can just go back and click the filters you want. there aren't many, maybe a max of 6. also, i have hover tooltips (tag titles) so if a user isn't sure, they can hover over any icon on the page and the title will tell them what it does.
    – Jason
    Sep 27, 2010 at 19:21

For select all we use a series of three check marks at an angle, colors based on the arrow icons (we use the same icon set).

For deselect all we use the same image, but in light gray shades.

  • 1
    Oooh. I do hope the light grey shades are still much darker than the disabled versions? In one app I have a deselect breakpoint glyph that uses these grey shades as opposed to the select glyph which is red. I always get confused and don't use the deselect button as it looks disabled... Sep 24, 2010 at 20:21

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