The Microsoft Ribbon is a like a tabbed "sheet" of UX icons. It's basically an iconified, horizontal version of an always-open menu.

Is there a general name for a group of UX buttons or icons, that can be switched out?

I'm thinking Sheet, Form, Window, none of these seem right.

They don't have to be concentrated at the top of the screen -- they can be spread over the screen, like an Apple UIActionSheet

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6 Answers 6


After thinking about this for some time, I thought panel.

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Besides "bunch of speakers", a panel generally means a collection of buttons and widgets you can interact with to control things.

Microsoft hijacked the term control panel to mean System settings widgets, but a control panel is precisely this.

  • Another term that comes to mind is dashboard.
    – bobobobo
    Mar 30, 2013 at 14:33

This would be a menu. The image would specifically be a an Options Menu.

From there it get's less specific and more descriptive. You could call it a Modal Options Menu or a SlideUp Menu for something that incorporates a description of the accompanied animation.

As far as I know, there is no standardized word or label.


There are probably various terminologies to describe a group of UX buttons or icons, so any one word isn't necessarily correct.

I would most likely refer to a group of common buttons in an area of the screen as a toolbar.


UIActionSheet is more of a way to communicate how the menu is presented. UIAltertView, for example, is presented modally, but could have the same elements as the UIActionSheet.

Having said that, if you are looking for the most generic way to describe a grouping of function/method calls the user can interact with to make the system do something, I would go with "menu" - the details deal more with presentation than anything else - modal, non-model, drop-down, toolbar (menu/navigation), site navigation (menus), etc. So, in the case of a "toolbar menu" - the presentation is generally icons with optional text (the toolbar above the Stack form, for example).

Window, is a method of presentation. Sheet, is a method of presentation (in the case of UIActionSheet - it comes up from the bottom, similar to a UIView presented modally; however, does not, generally, cover the entire display and, to the best of my knowledge, cannot have scrolling capability). Form is generally used to specify a way for users to input data/information - name, address, etc. for a contact "form".

I'm not sure what you mean by "switched out". Hope that's helpful.


I think in terms of programming, it is usually referred to as a 'Container'. This includes anything from a menu, panel, pane or something that holds a collection of items. Of course, depending on the type of UI Element it might have different names like a Button Group for radio or checkbox button.


Is there a general name for a group of UX buttons or icons, that can be switched out?

Yes there is, toolbar, also panel (if docked).

As you mention, they don't have to be concentrated at the top of the screen, they can be spread over.

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