What Is a Dialog Box Launcher?

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A dialog box launcher is an iconic arrow that activates various options in the ribbon menu of Microsoft Office products. The dialog box launcher brings up different options depending on the menu being used.

In the spreadsheet application Excel, dialog boxes let users enter information and select options regarding various components of a worksheet. Clicking on a dialog box launcher opens a dialog box related to the choices in the menu group.

In Excel, Word, PowerPoint and other Microsoft applications, users may add a launcher for a dialog box to any group of menu options in the ribbon menu. Microsoft Office applications have used the ribbon interface since 2007, guiding users to click on a variety of toolbars and graphical elements grouped by purpose. Some menus appear only when they are needed for particular functions. Microsoft named its ribbon toolbar the Fluent User Interface. It was intended to alleviate the problem of users not being able to find certain controls in the software when they needed them.

In the 2007 Microsoft Office suite, only the applications Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access included the ribbon. By the 2010 version, all Office components used a ribbon. Microsoft has gradually introduced the ribbon in its other software, including Windows 7, Paint and WordPad.