At several times in the past while writing software documentation -- including user manuals, user stories, bug reports, test cases, and emails to users/colleagues -- I've needed to be able to refer to items inside a menu. Sometimes ones nested several submenus deep.
I've seen and/or used several styles in the past:
- Path-separator-like symbols:
|, as in "Select Tools > Options > Graphics."
- Running menu layers together with commas as in "Select Tools, Options, Graphics," optionally with a sequence word/phrase in between as in "Select Tools, followed by Options, followed by Graphics."
- Inverted, as in "Under Tools, select Options" but it gets awkward if there's another layer of menus: "Under Tools, select Options, and under Options, select Graphics."
- Unicode symbols: • (0x2022 bullet), → (0x2192 right arrow), ⟩ (0x27E9 right angle bracket), ► (0x25BA Black right-pointing pointer), and I'm sure there are others.
- Images containing similar symbols when the medium supports it.
- When writing a list of steps, breaking each menu layer out into a separate step (as below). This adds a lot of noise for what is really a single, logical action.
- Select Tools
- Select Options
- Select Graphics
So, my question: is there an industry standard way to depict the relationship between menu and item/submenu? If not (and I suspect not), is there one convention that is more accepted or frequently used than the others? Is it just not a big deal, and I'm overthinking things?