Thursday, February 14, 2008

GUI blooper: Adobe Reader print dialog

This GUI blooper has been annoying me for quite some time. If you want to print something from Adobe Reader 8, you are presented with a print dialog box shown below:

Notice that I selected to print 3 copies of the current page.

Now if I later decide to print something else, the print dialog box has reset the print range selection to All. This is a good thing since I typically want to print the entire document, and this is the standard behavior of other applications.

But there's something on the dialog box that was not reset back to its default... can you tell what it is?

That's right, the number of copies is still set to 3. In fact, every item in the Page Handling area is "sticky", but items under Print Range are not. I did a similar experiment with several applications, and they all reset the number of copies to 1.

This mistake may not seem like a big deal, but it is. If the document is a large one, say a 150 page dissertation, and you are not very careful to reset the number of copies to 1, you will get 300 pages of stuff you don't want. That can be very expensive when printing to 100% cotton paper.

Adobe: Either make all the items remember their state (something I don't recommend), or none of them. Using a hybrid and inconsistent approach is a GUI blooper.