A user can conduct a search in a grid that has pagination (i.e. over 25 rows is shown on next page). If the search returns more than 26 results and allows a "select all" checkbox, what's the best way to have a user pick "select all I see" or "select all that match my search criteria"?

Only found an example in gmail where they present a line: "All 20 conversations on this page are selected. Select all conversations that match this search"

Any other (more graphical) conventions we should consider?

  • Frank and I were just chatting about this last week, he's implementing the same feature... I think gmail's about as usable as it gets in this realm, but maybe someone will prove me wrong.
    – Nariman
    Commented Feb 5, 2011 at 19:30
  • 1
    I'd go for the textual description, as @Marjan Venema says. This operation is helpful but not very common, so there are no graphical cues users are familiar with. The distinction is rather subtle (two different meanings of "all") so that it will be hard to establish them.
    – peterchen
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 6:47

3 Answers 3


I'd take a leave out of GMail's book: When you open list of emails with a specific label and then "select all" it selects all items on the current page and offers a link to "select all nnn conversations in "Your Label". When you select that, it changes to "all nnn conversations in are selected" and offers a link to clear the selection.


Looking at the Gmail implementation, a question I have is how important is proximity of the message to the control? In Gmail the message is not closely associated with the control - a notification in the email list (does this make it look too much like a mail message?), rather than a message attached, or close to the control itself.

The same issue would come up if the user is selecting individual items, and paging through the grid. The "You have selected NNN" message and its proximity to the selection controls (e.g. a column of checkboxes) becomes more important.


I came across another place where they use the Gmail solution, in Snagit, see screenshot below: enter image description here

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