I have a web browser for searching records. The returned search results allows user to multi-select multiple records via tick boxes then user can click "Save to PDF" button either as a single (combined) pdf or many individual pdf record zipped as a single zip file.

Originally, I was going to add separate buttons for this 2 options to separate the outcome so it is clear for users but the results page is already full of buttons.

My other thought is then to put this option up front on the initial search page as a part of the search criteria. The question I have is if the label name make sense to user if I labeled it the following way:

Save to PDF

() Single
() Combined


Then when the returned results page is displayed, the "Save to PDF" button will perform according to user selection.

  • I see no big difference between option 1 and 2: "as a single (combined) pdf or many individual pdf record zipped as a single zip file". Its actually same feature in different flavors. Why not offer just one?
    – FrankL
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 7:42

2 Answers 2


I think you're trying to solve the wrong problem. The two button solution sounds like it's obvious and straight forward and pretty much what you'd expect. Rather than change the buttons and abuse your search facets, I would look into why you feel like you have too many buttons on the page and try to solve that problem.

The reason your proposed solution with the search criteria is confusing is because I expect to use the search criteria to specify filters on my search. In other words, I want to limit my search by specifying what kinds of filters are applied to the results. Specifying how to save checked results to PDF isn't part of that, so you're just muddying the waters in that area of your UI.

If two buttons really isn't an option, you could try a single button labeled Save to PDF that, when clicked, opens a modal overlay in which the user can choose whether they want a single PDF or a combined PDF. But I wouldn't recommend that as the two button option is much simpler and avoids having to resort to a modal dialog.

  • I would have to agree with Rahul. The two button solution sounds like exactly what I would expect to see.
    – delux247
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 2:56

Without knowing your application domain, I might think hard about whether or not you can simplify this choice for the user and just offer one or the other?

If I were searching for, say, journal articles about a particular topic, I would appreciate the opportunity to just press a button and have all of them zipped and downloaded in one go...I wouldn't necessarily need the option to concatenate them into a single document.

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