In many desktop applications, it is common to use the "..." to signify that the user should continue one or more steps to achieve some final outcome, as evidenced by this post (and others like it):

What is the significance of the three dots "..." on menus and buttons and how to use them right?

Why isn't this convention followed for web applications and mobile apps? For example, should a button taking you to a login screen be labeled "Log in..." instead of "Log in"?

1 Answer 1


The three dots are supposed to either signify that a string of text has been cut short and that if you would like to continue reading it you need to click the dots to precede or that there are further steps afterwards as in with 'Print...'

I do see your thinking with 'Log in' but I think it's primarily used to reassure users when they think that clicking a link will do something e.g. If I see the 'Print' item in a File menu then I might be scared to click it in case it starts printing 30 x A3 copies of the page I'm on by accident, so the '...' signifies that I haven't committed to the action yet as there's more choice to come. With 'Log in' however you fully expect there to be more steps and you don't need he reassurance to continue (you know you can't log in without credentials) :)

In relation to web applications it's probably something you need to judge on a case by case basis i.e. is this an action that user might be wary of committing to just with one click and can the '...' help? But equally think about the opposite scenario such as 'Sign up...' - this would perhaps signify that there is a long process beyond the button and actually might lower click throughs and conversion.

  • In the case of Print, I can see the need for re-assurance, but there are numerous other commands that are not so scary. In Chrome, I can see Chrome --> Preferences... (on Mac OS), for example. What first came to mind was that the ellipses would take up more space, but I can see that lower conversions could be a strong part of it. Never seen anything written on it though. Going to let this one stew for a bit before I give you the checkmark. Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 1:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.