What should File > Close do?

Geert Janssens geert.gnucash at kobaltwit.be
Mon May 18 11:09:06 EDT 2015

On Monday 18 May 2015 15:50:44 Colin Law wrote:
> When I click menu item File > Close (GnC 2.6.4 on Ubuntu 15.04) I find
> that it closes the current tab.  I had expected it to close the
> accounts file (cf File > Open).  What should it do?
> Colin

That's a good question.

>From a user interface point of view I'd agree with you that File->Close 
should be the opposite action of File->Open.

These commands come from a design idea that a program can have multiple 
files open at once. Using File->Open you could open additional files and 
with File->Close you could close each individual file.

GnuCash follows a different design principle however: each instance of 
GnuCash can only have one file open at once. If you choose another file 
via File->Open the currently open file will be closed automatically. So 
you'd never need a File->Close command in gnucash.

Unrelated to all this gnucash allows you to open many tabs. The typical 
way to close a tab again is by clicking the close button on the tab 
itself - at least that's the way I close them. I did notice though that 
that close button is not necessarily available on all operating systems 
or themes gnucash is used under. Additionally some users may find this 
button rather small. And maybe even when the close buttons were first 
introduced in gnucash the very concept of a close button on a tab was 
still uncommon.

Whatever the reason, it was decided that other than a close button on 
each tab there should also be a close command in the menus somewhere 
(and on the toolbar) to close tabs. It turns out this was eventually 
added to the File menu. Someone else may have an explanation for that 
particular choice.

I agree it is confusing. And I remember others have made remarks on this 
in the past.

Some potential solutions would be:

1. rename File->Close to File->Close Tab
2. and/or move the command to the another menu. I'm still pondering 
which one would be best though.
3. Remove the command completely. That's the firefox approach to it.

I'm not sure which one would be the best.


More information about the gnucash-user mailing list