I am building a software which has a lot of tablets fill out. There are situations where a table row has a lot of settings.

A consistency throughout the software is that there is an action menu on top of the table. When the user selects a row the option buttons appear. The user is also able to directly edit the table. In this case where do you believe is best to position the save/cancel buttons - above in the action menu or below the table.

The blue row represented selected and changed row. enter image description here

Tables can have up to 10 000 entries that will load with infinite lazy scroll. Each table row can have from 1 to up to 9 options such as edit, lint, set password, lock, authorise etc

Save and Cancel buttons will be hidden until a change has been made.

Are there any articles or research in support of either of them?

  • 1
    Can multiple columns be selected? Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 16:14
  • Yes, they can. There are also settings for multiple selected rows as well.
    – Loro
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 6:47

3 Answers 3



If you have a lot of records then probably good pattern is to keep the always header on the top of the screen and records to be scrolled "under" it.


Action bar as a footer

Then good place for actions and well as save/cancel button is bottom of the screen not a bottom of table. When you select item and scroll pane action bar remains.

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Multiple selection

This will work for multiple selections as well (only actions can be applied to multiple items should remain)

enter image description here

Provide Undo Action

For actions good pattern to execute, notify about completion and provide undo action. This allow you to skip confirmation step.

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In-place edit

For actions are required additional user input is good to have them in-place

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Please use high contrast for selection and make it distinguishable from normal rows for people with color blindness. And it will be nice to have both text and icons actions.


When do those buttons (Save and Cancel) appear? If they should appear when the user edits the table directly, then I think it would be a good idea to put buttons in the action menu.

Save and Cancel are actions too, and the user already knows where actions appear. Maybe you can display buttons always in an action menu, but if a particular action isn't available, then the corresponding button can be disabled.

This way, you can show user where they can look for any control element, if they aren't sure how to manage a particular function.


The possibilities that I can think of :

  • You can place all your actions on the fly that is, as and when you select a row or a cell have the actions dialogue box appear on top of the selection.
  • If you have a fixed height for the table then it makes sense to keep all the actions at one place.

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