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View Full Version : Save As... Dialog Quirk (Is this known?)


Lead Belly
Feb 5, 2004, 01:03 PM
We recently upgraded to Panther and came across this behavior in the Save and Save As dialogs that seems bad. If it's a known quirk, I apologize for bringing it up again. I could not find it the answer anywhere on the web.

Try the following:
1. Create a document in any app and select File->Save As...

2. The goal is to save in a particular directory. The arrow button next to the Save As input field should be clicked so column or list view is shown. The problem is best seen in a directory with a mix of files and folders.

3. Folders can be navigated and existing files are dimmed out (as it should be), but if you click on an existing file accidentally, the name of the file you are trying to save changes to the name of the file you've just clicked on.

If you click the Save As button, you'll be warned that you're replacing a file that already exists. This might be useful 1 percent of the time, but the other 99 percent is spent potentially overwriting files unintentionally. OS 9 handles this correctly. Dimmed dialog options should not respond to mouse clicks, otherwise why dim them out. That kind of interface behavior is expressed throughout OS X correctly, but the Save As dialog is different.

Anyone else find this to be a bad or, at worst, extremely annoying behavior? Did this exist in Jaguar?

JackRipper
Feb 5, 2004, 01:49 PM
Windows does the same thing and actually it has come in handy a few times.

My guess is it's supposed to be that way.

ebow
Feb 5, 2004, 02:10 PM
This is new with Panther, and I'm glad it's there. It's a time saver: if I'm saving a new file with a similar long name to an old file, I just click on that old file in the column view, edit the current name in the text field, and save it. Hey presto. The fact that they warn you before you save a file with the SAME name as an older one is supposed to prevent you from destoying it. It's a warning--heed it.

Lead Belly
Feb 5, 2004, 03:17 PM
ebow,

I think I overstressed the wrong problem. Overwriting a file unintentionally would be difficult if one is paying attention (and I can think of scenarios where Apple warnings are as much an excercise in the obvious and understandably ignored - "Are you sure you want to throw that away. Are you really, really sure...YES!!!").

My point wasn't that this feature is never, ever useful. The point is:

1. It's far too easy to click on a dimmed file and lose the original name of the file, then have to retype the name you originally had.

2. Dimmed items are inaccessible items according to Apple's own interface guidelines and every OS manual out there. Even Apple's own Help Viewer knows this. It's a behavior carried out throughout OS X, except in this one instance.

3. It's usefulness is the exception rather than the rule. It seems rare someone would create a file or modifiy an existing file and use it to replace a different exisiting file. Why wouldn't you just open the exisiting file, modify it and save over it. The instances where it's useful could be handled through a right-click or control-click.

It's great that Apple throws up a warning. The problem is what's going on before the warning.

ebow
Feb 5, 2004, 07:17 PM
Lead Belly,

Yeah, I agree with your points. I wonder, then, how the situation could be improved. Perhaps the filenames should *not* be grayed out, so that they appear as regular text, which would suggest that they are selectable (in some manner, at least). Of course, that still allows your custom-typed filename to be replaced with one errant click. Maybe control/right-clicking on filenames in the Save dialog could result in a contextual menu (keeping it consistent with behavior elsewhere), with the option to "use this filename."

Interesting ideas... of course they don't do OS X much good in this form (there's always the feedback page). But I do bits of interface design at work so I find these kinds of discussions interesting.

iMeowbot
Feb 5, 2004, 08:42 PM
This is really the second place I've seen this unusual grayed-out behavior in OS X. The other place is in the Finder, When you pick "Open With->Other..."

In that case, non-recommended programs are grayed out, and stay that way even if you toggle the Enable to "All Applications."

Apparently gray now means not only "You're not allowed to touch this" but also sometimes "You're not allowed to touch this, but I won't stop you if you insist."

Rincewind42
Feb 5, 2004, 08:46 PM
Personally I think the solution would be simple - support Cmd-Z to undo the filename change. If Undo were supported in this context then it'd be a simple matter to revert your file name, or do other file name changes you accidently made.