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2.1.3 Panels

Panels are used to perform more complicated input tasks. Similar to a dialog box, a panel is displayed in a separate window, but working with a panel is more akin to filling out a form. Each panel is unique and employs various types of input controls that make up the form. The types of controls you will see are described further in this section.

When you have finished entering data in a panel's controls, you will need to apply the changes you have made, or cancel the changes, if desired. For this task, each panel falls into one of two behavioral categories, depending on how it was designed.

The first category of panels is used in situations where it is desirable to apply the changes and immediately close the panel. This type of panel includes two button controls as described below:

OK   applies any changes you have made to the panel, then closes the panel.

Cancel   closes the panel, ignoring any changes you have made.
An example of this type of panel is shown in the following figure:

figure

The other category of panels is used in situations where it is desirable to keep the panel displayed on the screen after changes have been applied. This makes it easy to quickly go back to that panel and make more changes. Panels used for postprocessing and grid adaption often fall into this category. This type of panel includes two button controls as described below:
Apply   applies any changes you have made to the panel, but does not close the panel. The name of this button is often changed to something more descriptive. For example, many of the postprocessing panels use the name Display for this button, and the adaption panels use the name Adapt.

Close   closes the panel.
An example of this type of panel is shown in the following figure:

figure

All panels include the following button used to access on-line help:
Help   displays information about the controls in the panel. The help information will appear in your web browser.
Each type of input control utilized by the panels is described below. Note that the examples shown here are for a UNIX system; if you are working on a Windows system, your panel controls may look slightly different, but they will work exactly as described here.

Tab

figure

Much like the tabs on a notebook divider, tabs in panels are used to mark the different sections into which a panel is divided. A panel that contains many controls may be divided into different sections to reduce the amount of screen space it occupies. You can access each section of the panel by "clicking'' the left mouse button on the corresponding tab. A click is one press and release of the mouse button.

Button

figure

A button, also referred to as a push button, is used to perform a function indicated by the button label. To activate a button, place the pointer over the button and click the left mouse button.

Check Box

figure

A check box, also referred to as a check button, is used to turn on/off an item or action indicated by the check box label. Click the left mouse button on the check box to toggle the state.

Radio Buttons

figure

Radio buttons are a set of check boxes with the condition that only one can be set in the "on'' position at a time. When you click the left mouse button on a radio button, it will be turned on, and all others will be turned off. Radio buttons appear either as diamonds (as shown above) or as circles.

Text Entry

figure

A text entry lets you type text input. It will often have a label associated with it to indicate the purpose of the entry.

Integer Number Entry

figure

An integer number entry is similar to a text entry except it allows only integer numbers to be entered (e.g., 10, -10, 50000 and 5E4). You may find it easier to enter large integer numbers using scientific notation. For example, you could enter 350000 or 3.5E5.

The integer number entry also has arrow buttons that allow you to easily increase or decrease its value. For most integer number entry controls, the value will be increased (or decreased) by one when you click an arrow button. You can increase the size of the increment by holding down a keyboard key while clicking the arrow button. The keys used are shown below:

Key Factor of Increase  
Shift 10  
Ctrl 100  

Real Number Entry

figure

A real number entry is similar to a text entry, except it allows only real numbers to be entered (e.g., 10, -10.538, 50000.45 and 5.72E-4). In most cases, the label will show the units associated with the real number entry.

Single-Selection List

figure

A single-selection list contains zero or more items. Each item is printed on a separate line in the list. You can select an item by placing the pointer over the item line and clicking with the left mouse button. The selected item will become highlighted. Selecting another item will deselect the previously selected item in the list.

Many panels will also accept a double-click in order to invoke the panel action that is associated with the list selection (see information on the panel of interest for more details).

Multiple-Selection List

figure

A multiple-selection list is similar to a single-selection list, except it allows for more than one selected item at a time. When you click the left mouse button on an item, its selection state will toggle. Clicking on an unselected item will select it. Clicking on a selected item will deselect it.

To select a range of items in a multiple-selection list, you can select the first desired item, and then select the last desired item while holding down the <Shift> key. The first and last items, and all the items between them, will be selected. You can also click and drag the left mouse button to select multiple items.

There are two small buttons in the upper right corner of the multiple selection list that accelerate the task of selecting or deselecting all the items in the list. Clicking on the first button will select all items. Clicking on the second button will deselect all items.

Drop-Down List

figure

figure

A drop-down list is a hidden single-selection list that shows only the current selection to save space.

When you want to change the selection, follow the steps below:
  

1.   Click the arrow button to display the list.

2.   Place the pointer over the new list item.

3.   Click the left mouse button on the item to make the selection and close the list.
If you wish to abort the selection operation while the list is displayed, you can move the pointer anywhere outside the list and click the left mouse button.

Scale

figure

The scale is used to select a value from a predefined range by moving a slider. The number shows the current value. To change the value, follow one of the procedures below:
  

1.   Place the pointer over the slider.

2.   Press and hold down the left mouse button.

3.   Move the pointer along the slider bar to change the value.

4.   Release the left mouse button.
or
  

1.   Place the pointer over the slider and click the left mouse button.

2.   Using the arrow keys on the keyboard, move the slider bar left or right to change the value.


next up previous contents index Previous: 2.1.2 Dialog Boxes
Up: 2.1 GUI Components
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