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Links and Buttons

This is basic content only. Please convert to the Template file for adding to the UI Best Practices and fill in more complete information.

Establish guidelines for use of hyperlinks.

Offer guidance on when to use links and when to use command buttons.


Primary & secondary commands (within same page)

Use command buttons for:

  • Primary actions, such as Print in a print dialog
  • Secondary commands where it make sense to use a button instead of a link, such in a group of buttons where primary actions are shown first, and the secondary command follows


Use links for:

  • Navigation to another page, window, or Help topic
  • Secondary actions, such as in dialogs or wizards (a button or link could be used; consider other factors noted here). This is a visual affordance that de-emphasizes secondary commands.
  • Long text strings, consisting of 5 or more words, look less awkward as links than as command buttons, whether for actions or navigation
  • Commands embedded in a body of text, as in forms
  • Command is part of a menu or group of related links


Other factors that influence use of a link or a command button:

  • Visual affordance
  • Consider using links to deemphasize secondary commands
  • Context is relevant whether is primary or secondary, e.g. print in print dialog is primary (use Command Button), whereas print in web page is secondary (use Link)
  • UI environment
  • Some actions are available only on demand


Any use cases for Command Links in Eclipse?