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This section covers the approved action labels and idioms for use in the IBM products and documentation. Users rely on consistent labels for common actions to predict how to interact with an interface. Idioms are expressions that have a meaning different from the meaning of each word in the expression.
This section is a living document. When new terms are introduced, they will be added here.


    Common actions


    Adds an existing object to a list, container, or system (for example, adding a document to a folder).

    Combine Add with the object (for example, Add user, Add space, Add role, or Add privileges). Contrast with Insert and New.


    Saves changes without closing the dialog. These properties often affect subsequent system behavior.

    Use instead of Save Changes. Contrast with Save and Save As.


    Indicates the user agrees. In a business process, typically initiates the next step.

    See Reject.


    a la carte

    (adverb) pertaining to separately itemized objects.

    Context: Bluemix provides pay-as-you-go and subscription based pricing, a-la-carte and bundled services availability.


    (noun) a web or mobile device application.

    Spell as shown, all lower case. In the doc, if for some reason it seems more appropriate to use application, use application for the first instance and then use app. Context: It's easy to delete apps to free up some spaces in Bluemix at any time.


    Common actions


    Returns the user to the previous step in a sequence of steps, such as in a wizard.

    Use instead of Previous. See Next and Finish.


    Assists the user in entering a file name or file path (for example, on a button or link next to an entry field). Typically opens a secondary window where the user can locate and select the desired directory and file.



    (noun) a significantly successful product or service in the marketplace.

    Context: Develop software for a cause or your company’s next bestseller.


    (verb) to feel sure about something.

    Context: We bet you have built some sweet apps by now.

    big savings

    (phrase) a significant amount of money saved.

    Context: You get big savings every month.


    Common actions


    Stops the current action and closes the dialog.

    Warn the user of any possible negative consequences of stopping an action from progressing, such as data corruption. See Reset.


    This action clears all the fields or selections. Also deletes the contents of a document, such as a log. Typically the default selection or value is re-established for controls that always have a selection or value, such as Radio Buttons.

    Where appropriate, combine Clear with the object (for example, Clear contents, Clear fields, Clear all). Contrast with Delete and Remove.


    Closes the current page or window (for example, closing a secondary window containing online help).

    Do not use Close together with OK or Cancel actions. Contrast with Done. See Cancel.


    Creates new instances of the selected objects to a specific destination.

    Combine Copy with the object being copied (for example, Copy folder) or the destination (for example, Copy to clipboard) if there are multiple possibilities. Use instead of Create like. Contrast with New.


    Label for a button in a dialog or form that creates a new object. The settings in the dialog are applied to the object when it is created.

    Use New to initiate the action of creating a new object. Use Create to confirm the action after any naming or configuration. Contrast with Add, Copy, and Insert.


    Allow a user to make desired changes.


    cold-blooded cyborg

    (noun) a man-like robot with no feelings (to cloud its judgment) that flawlessly executes its mandate."

    Context: Create apps with the efficiency of a cold-blooded cyborg.


    (noun) congratulations.

    Context: Congrats on creating your new app!


    (noun) the unexpected termination of a software function.

    Context: Add the Mobile Quality Assurance service to your iOS app to view high value quality metrics, including information for crashes, bugs, user feedback, and user sentiment.

    crash (verb)

    of software, to unexpectedly terminate.

    Context: If a service crashes, the app might stop too.


    Common actions


    Destroys an existing object.

    Combine Delete with the object to delete (for example, Delete column or Delete table). Contrast with Clear and Remove.


    Opens a separate window containing the landing page for the Bluemix product documentation.

    Use as link text only for the specific link that points to the Bluemix product documentation from the console menu bar. See Learn More.


    Indicates that the user has finished working in an environment (for example, editing templates) and wants to return to where he or she came from.

    See Finish. Contrast with Close.


    Transfers a file from a remote system to a local system.

    See Upload.


    Use only for dropping a database table.

    In other cases, use Delete, Clear, or Remove.



    (phrase) developer to developer.

    Context: Free support is available in our dev-to-dev forum.


    (noun) documentation.

    Context: View docs.


    (adjective) pertaining to something that is exceptionally gratifying, excellent, or beautiful.

    Context: Build your dream app.


    Common actions


    Allows data or values to be changed.

    Empty trash

    Permanently deletes all files or objects that have been placed into a trash container.

    See Move to trash.


    Saves data in a different format external to the system. Typically opens a secondary window for the user to specify the file type and destination (for example, storing table data as a set of comma-separated values).

    See Import.


    Common actions


    Shortens a list to objects that match the filter criteria.

    Contrast with Find and Search.


    Moves the cursor to the next element matching the specified criteria (for example, view the next occurrence of a specific word within an email message).

    Contrast with (Filter)(#filter) and Search.


    Indicates completion of a series of steps, such as in a wizard.

    See Done.



    (noun) something given away at no cost.

    Context: Enjoy freebies after the trial ends, and pay only for what you use beyond those.


    Common actions

    Get help

    Opens a search field from which the user can search for help information.

    Use only as link text on Support widget from the console menu bar. See Docs and Learn more.


    get in touch

    (verb) to contact someone.

    Context: The page also provides options to post your question to Stack Overflow, or to open a ticket by clicking Get in touch.


    Common actions


    Removes an element that was previously shown.

    Context: Hide descriptions. See Show.



    (noun) an event that brings together developers to work intensively on a software project.

    Context: Run a hackathon.

    have a hand in

    (phrase) to be directly involved in the accomplishment or creation of something.

    Context: If you're a developer, you now have a hand in creating the future.

    hit the ground running

    (phrase) to immediately accomplish something when just starting to learn how to do it.

    Context: Whatever your task, Bluemix contains everything you need to hit the ground running.


    Common actions


    Transforms data or objects from an external source. Typically opens a secondary window for the user to locate the external source.

    Context: Creating a new table based on comma-separated values contained in a separate file. See Export.


    Adds an element at a particular position in an ordered view.

    Context: Adding a picture to the body of a document or inserting a record into a table. Contrast with Add and New.


    in a flash

    (phrase) quickly, immediately.

    Context: Deploy and test your app in a flash.


    Common actions


    Do not use.

    Use Start.

    Learn more

    Opens additional, highly contextual information. Insert at the end of inline text or hover text where more information follows but does not fit in the current context.

    If space permits, combine Learn more with meaningful text that describes the content you're pointing to. For example, if your user needs some best practices to manage apps in multiple regions, you could use Learn more about regions.

    Log in

    Enters a site or application. This choice typically opens a form for entry of credentials. Also used on the submission button after users enter their credentials.

    Use instead of Sign in. See Log out.

    Log out

    Exits an application or site.

    Use instead of Sign out. See Log in.


    lost in space

    (phrase) to be hopelessly adrift with no chance of return, unlocatable, lost to the world.

    Context: This page seems to be lost in space.


    Common actions


    Transfers an object from one container (for example, folder, activity, or page) to another.

    Move to trash

    A soft delete. Moves a file or object to an area from where it can later be permanently deleted or recovered.

    Use instead of Delete or Recycle bin. See Empty trash.



    (noun) an informal gathering.

    Context: Plan anything, even the monthly meetup.


    (noun) the metaphorical strength or physical power of something.

    Context: Whether startup or enterprise, your apps are supported by the muscle of an enterprise-ready cloud.


    Common actions


    Starts the creation of a new object. New either creates the object immediately or opens a dialog or set of fields where the user can enter properties.

    Combine New with the object to create (for example, New user or New column). See Create. Contrast with Add, Copy, and Insert.



    (adjective) not applicable, not available.

    Spell as shown, all upper case.


    Common actions


    Completes the current task.

    The best practice is to use a label corresponding to the requested action, such as Save or Create. Use OK only when such a label is not available.


    oh no!

    (phrase) used to indicate shock.

    Context: Oh no! The free trial expired.


    (adjective) on-premises.

    Context: Incrementally port application features across on-prem platforms and clouds with consistent services.


    (expression) used to indicate an accident or a mistake.

    Context: Oops, sorry, the HTML5 File APIs are not fully supported in this browser.


    (noun) operations.

    Context: Bluemix mobile cloud services help developers minimize ops and maintenance cost.


    (noun) organization.

    Context: Change to a different org.


    Common actions


    Starts audio, video, or an animation.


    Adds a new comment to an online community or adds status to a log or record.

    If you are editing an existing comment, use Save instead.


    Shows how an object or content will appear with formatting applied before the content is published or distributed. Alternatively, provides an incomplete display of an existing object without leaving the current context.


    Sends a copy of the currently selected object or the object in view to the printer.


    Common actions


    Redoes an undo action.

    Likely used only as a Tooltip on an icon button. See Undo.


    Reloads the view of an object when the displayed view has become unsynchronized with the source.

    Likely used only as a tooltip on an icon button.


    Indicates the user does not approve. In a business process, typically blocks the process from proceeding to the next step.

    See Approve.


    Indicates or completes a response to an email or a comment.


    Removes an object from a list or container but the object is not destroyed as a result of the action. Often requires one or more objects to be selected.

    Where appropriate, combine Remove with the object that will be removed (for example, Remove user, Remove role, Remove privileges). Contrast with Delete and Clear.


    Reverts values back to their last saved state. The last saved state includes the values stored the last time the user clicked Apply. Does not close the dialog or window.

    See Restore defaults, Undo, and Cancel. Contrast with Restore.


    Brings a file back after deletion, corruption, or similar event.

    Contrast with Reset.

    Restore all

    Completes a restore operation on all files or objects in a given system or container.

    Contrast with Restore.

    Restore defaults

    Sets form values to the default settings.

    See Reset and Undo.


    Sets form values to the default settings.

    Use instead of Execute.


    ready for takeoff

    (phrase) prepared for use.

    Context: Your app is ready for takeoff!


    Common actions


    Saves pending modifications made to a file or document. Does not close the window or panel.

    Contrast with Apply.

    Save as

    Creates a new object based on the state of the object currently being viewed. The user names the new object and typically identifies its location.


    Returns all objects (for example, files, names, or documents) within a defined set (for example, in a folder, directory, database, or the internet) that match some specified criteria.

    Contrast with Find and Filter.


    Selects data from a table.

    Select all

    Adds all objects in the view to the selection set or checks all Checkboxes.

    Contrast with Clear.


    Transfers an email or other information to the recipient.


    Reveals an object that was previously hidden.

    Context: Show descriptions. See Hide.

    Sign up

    Creates a user account or registers a user in a system.

    Use instead of Register.


    Deploy an app or service to its development or production environment so that it can be used.

    Use instead of Launch.


    Sorts a list or table column.

    Likely used only as a tooltip on an icon button. Can be used without 'Ascending' or 'Descending' only if the order can be provided to a screen reader in the code for accessibility.

    Submit an idea

    Opens a separate window containing the IBM Cloud Ideas portal.

    Use only as link text on Support widget from the console menu bar.



    (noun) a high priority, often secret, project taken on by a small team without constraints from management.

    Context: Start a skunkworks.


    (noun) a newly established business.

    Context: Whether startup or enterprise, your apps are supported by the muscle of an enterprise-ready cloud.

    start from scratch

    (phrase) to start from the beginning, to start from nothing.

    Context: Choose a package of sample code and services, or start from scratch.


    (adjective) pertaining to something that is considered excellent, awesome, or cool.

    Context: We bet you have built some sweet apps by now.


    (noun) synchronize.

    Spell as shown (not synch). Context: Download this .zip file template application or sync with the template source repository by copying and pasting the Git URL to a command line.


    Common actions


    Returns to the top of the page.

    Use instead of Back to top.


    test drive

    (noun) a test or evaluation of a piece of software for a specified amount of time.

    Context: You have 1 day left in your Bluemix test drive.

    time flies

    (phrase) time passes quickly.

    Context: Wow, time flies!


    Common actions


    Reverts to the state before the most recent changes made by the user. Repeated use successively reverts to prior states in reverse chronological order. Applies to changes in data and not to changes made to the view.

    Not all actions, such as Save, can be undone. See Redo, Reset, and Restore defaults.


    Label for a button in a dialog or form for editing an object. The settings in the dialog are applied to the object when it is updated.

    See Edit.


    Transfers a file from a local system to a remote system.

    See Download.



    (verb) to change the status of an item that was previously marked as a favorite. (adjective) an item that is not a favorite.


    Common actions

    View details

    Presents additional information or properties for the object.



    (expression) draws attention to something that has been accomplished or gained.

    Context: Runtime and container usage is charged based on two things. One, how much memory your runtime or container uses, and two, the duration that memory is used. Multiply the two together, and voila! The GB-hour.




    (expression) used to show astonishment, delight, or admiration.

    Context: Wow, time flies!