The ArcPad Team Blog

Unofficial stuff from the team behind the World's leading mobile GIS platform

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Large toolbar buttons

A little known feature of ArcPad is the ability to have large buttons - both on existing toolbars and on custom toolbars. I say "little known" as I don't recall seeing a custom ArcPad application that uses large toolbar buttons!

Large toolbar buttons are especially useful when working in the field under conditions when it is difficult to tap a small button, for example when it is cold and windy - and your hands are shivering and shaking! Although one has to be careful with using up too much of the available screen when using large toolbar buttons on quarter VGA screens, this is not an issue when working with larger screens such as on Tablet PCs.
Here is an example of a single toolbar for an application that only needs to add and view data:

So how do you specify large toolbar buttons? The TOOLBAR element, in ArcPad XML, has a buttonsize attribute. The following ArcPad default configuration file (ArcPad.apx) hides the standard toolbar, and creates the toolbar in the above screenshot:

<toolbar name="main" visible="false">
<toolbar name="browse" visible="false">
<toolbar name="draw" visible="false">
<toolbar name="TOOLBAR4" caption="" visible="true" image="" buttonsize="2">
<toolbutton command="openmap">
<toolbutton command="modezoomin">
<toolbutton command="modepan">
<toolbutton command="zoomfullextent">
<toolbutton command="layers">
<toolbutton command="exit">

Note that the default buttonsize is 1. Custom toolbars can be defined in either the default configuration file, or in ArcPad applet files.

The easiest method to create ArcPad XML code for custom toolbars is using ArcPad Studio. However, you can also use your favorite text or XML editor to create new toolbar definitions or to edit existing toolbar definitions.

So, do yourself or your field users a favor and provide them with toolbars with large buttons! Large buttons are much easier to use.


  • At Wednesday, September 20, 2006 4:04:00 am, Blogger Micah Williamson said…

    Hey Shane:
    With us using laptops, big buttons are a must. we use size three. You never know if our field folks are wearing gloves or not. I'm even using some custom pix.

    What would be great is if we could use a bigger image. ArcPAD only uses the top-left 15x15 pixels of any image i point to. those tiny icons look pretty ugly when stretched to a size 3. I can always email you a screen capture if you want.

  • At Friday, September 22, 2006 2:57:00 am, Blogger Shane Clarke said…

    Thanks for the feedback, Micah. We will see if we can address this at a future release.

  • At Tuesday, March 27, 2007 7:56:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You describe larger toolbars, but what about a larger sized mouse cursor for ArcPad? Someone with eyesight issues?

    Denise King


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