Visual Studio 2013 uses the 'Save to multiple floppy disks' icon from long ago to represent 'Save All'

I am working on an application where I need to represent 'Save All' with an understood icon. What is a better method for representing it without losing the understanding of the difference between save and save all?

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The context of the save is as such -

There are widgets within a page that each have their own ability to progressively 'save' information. At the top of the page there is a 'Save everything' button that should save all of the changes in the whole page.


2 Answers 2


Sometimes there is no substitute for words.

When you have an action with potential confusion words are hard to beat.

Icons exist for this purpose, as you mentioned. It's typically some multiple representation of the app's save icon. I think it usually falls short of the user's needs for clarity.

Ask yourself this: Will your audience stick around for the learning curve? If they're regular users, they may prefer a key sequence anyway. For the rest, words avoid confusion.

  • 1
    Their initial problem was teaching people (MILLIONS) how to use a touch screen smart device. And I think they need to be commended for having done that right. I can't think of too many other companies that would have gotten that task done in the near complete manner they have. Certainly not Microsoft. And definitely not google. Palm is the only other that might have been able to do it but lacked the money and resources to go into fullscreen touch devices fast enough and hard enough.
    – Confused
    Feb 21, 2014 at 22:02

The answer is yes, but... it depends on the experience of your users and anticipated users, the nature of the platform you're aiming at and the space and technologies you have to portray that icon."

And, further, this is an EVER evolving thing. So at no point in time is the answer going to be the same.

To all programmers having anything to do with this... the evolvement of the "zeitgeist of NOW" is something that's at the forefront of design. [all puns intended] If programmers cannot accept this inherent evolvement, the intuitive talents (magic) that make designing for the future an art form and the very nature of design and those attracted to it, then they should back off and leave the designers to chat amongst themselves.


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