Menu Simulator

Capture all of the application's menus

I capture all of the application's menus using PaintShop Pro. Other graphics capture programs can also do this, but I've found PSP to be among the most versatile. All menu captures have the following in common:

Used same size window for all captures

Reduced to the standard Windows 16-colors

Used a consistent naming scheme

In this example, I picked a small app with only four main menu items - our old friend Notepad. I captured five windows. The first window, which I saved as "Step1-0", contains the menu with no items selected. The other four bitmaps (1 to 4) contain the same shot, except each menu bar item has been selected to drop down. The five bitmaps (well, GIF versions) are shown here:

Notepad with no menus selected

This will form the main entry point to the menu simulator.

Notepad with File menu selected

Notepad with Edit menu selected

Notepad with Search menu selected

Notepad with Help menu selected

The reason the word "text" is highlighted is because some menu items were grayed out if there was nothing selected. If you can't enable all of the menu items in your application, take a few minutes with a pixel editor and change the dark gray to black so they look like the other menu items. You'll have to find a way to enable any menu items that have submenus so you can capture the submenus.

Copyright © 2009 by Dana Cline
Last Updated  Monday, April 06, 2009
Website hosted by 1and1