Original Publication Date: 2003-Dec-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Dec-31
Often times there is not enough room within a window to display the entire length of a docked toolbar. The most useful way that this is currently over come is that a pull-down marker is added to the end of a truncated toolbar. This marker can be clicked and the remaining buttons on the toolbar will be revealed in a menu. This can be a pain if the buttons the user plans to use most are at the end of the toolbar. Further, the user has to move their mouse all the way over to the right side of the window to discover the hidden content. Proposed here are embodiments for more convenient mechanisms that would allow the user to discover and use the buttons that are at the end of the toolbar and do not fit within the window. By allowing toolbars that are larger than their host windows to have their contents scroll back and forth while the toolbar length remains constant, the visible content of the given toolbar can be navigated quickly and conveniently. Note that this differs from the toolbars in XP that have toolbars that slide in and out of place, causing their length to change.
The preferred embodiment of this invention would have the toolbar listening for events from a mouse wheel. Hovering the mouse over any section of the toolbar and then scrolling the mouse wheel would cause the contents of the toolbar to scroll to either the left or the right, depending on the direction of the user's wheel action. In this way, the user could navigate through their available buttons much more easily.
An alternate embodiment of this invention would be that the tool bar could have "grapple points" located on separators between buttons, etc. When the mouse is hovered over one of these points, the mouse pointer could turn into a hand indicating to the user that they are over a "grapple point." The user could then perform a click and drag operation that would pull the toolbar in the direction they would like to view. This embodiment would accomplish the same goal, but would be slightly less convenient than the preferred embodiment in that grapple points must be used rather than merely hovering over any portion of the toolbar.