The Microsoft Manual of Style: The User Interface

  • 1/15/2012

Control Panel

With Control Panel, users can configure system-level features and perform related tasks. Examples of system-level feature configuration include hardware and software setup and configuration, security, system maintenance, and user account management.

The term Control Panel refers to the entire Windows Control Panel feature. Individual control panels are referred to as control panel items. A control panel item is considered top-level when it is directly accessible from the control panel home page or a category page.

The control panel home page is the main entry point for all control panel items. It lists the items by their category, along with the most common tasks. It is displayed when users click Control Panel on the Start menu.

A control panel category page lists the items within a single category, along with the most common tasks. It is displayed when users click a category name on the home page.

Control Panel contains icons that represent different control panel items. Do not use applets, programs, tools, or control panels to refer to either the icons or the items. Use bold formatting for the names of the icons and items.

If you must identify Control Panel by a category, use the Control Panel application in content for a technical audience, or the Control Panel program in content for a general audience. For a mixed audience, use program.

When documenting an alternate path to control panel items, use “To open <name of item>”, and use bold formatting for the name of the item.

When referring to Control Panel itself, use regular type except when you are referring to the command on the Start menu. In that case, use bold formatting.

In documentation for a technical audience, refer to control panel home page and control panel category page, without capitalizing any of the words. A preceding definite article is optional.

When referring to a control panel item’s hub page, use “main <control panel item name> page”.

Do not use the when referring to Control Panel.

Microsoft style

In Control Panel, click Network and Internet, and then click Internet Options.

To open Internet Options, click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Network and Internet.


For more information about Control Panel, see the Control Panels section of the Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines on MSDN.