Translating menu commands

The strings for menu commands have three parts:

·         The command name with an optional shortcut key preceded by “&”.

·         A second optional shortcut key (accelerator key) shown to the right of the menu item.

·         The prompt string (tool tip or balloon help) for the command.

These three parts are stored in two strings.  The first string consists of the command and shortcut key (accelerator key) separated by a tab:


The second string is the prompt string:

prompt string

For example (from the German language file):




&New project\tCtrl+N

&Neues project\tCtrl+N

label and optional shortcut

Open an existing project

Ein vorhandenes Projekt öffnen


The shortcut key (accelerator key) should be omitted for commands that do not have one:




&Import images...

Bilder &importieren...

label and optional shortcut

Import new images

Neue Bilder importieren


To choose a shortcut key for the menu command that’s shown as an underlined character on the menu command, you should place the "&" character before a letter in the menu command.  You may select a letter that makes sense in your local language--you do not have to use the same letter as the English command.

To display a "&" character in the menu command (e.g. License & Registration), double the character:




&License && Registration...

Lizenz und Registrierung...

label and optional shortcut

View license and enter registration code

Lizenz ansehen und Registrierungsschlüssel eingeben


If the shortcut key uses a special key (e.g. Ctrl+N, Alt+Right, etc.), you enter it after a tab character.  You may translate the name of the modifier key (Ctrl, Alt, etc.), but only if you also separately include a translation for the modifier itself:




&New project\tCtrl+N

&Neues project\tStrg+N

label and optional shortcut



Modifier – must be lower case!

You must type the translation of the modifier key in lower case.  However, when you use it in a menu entry, case is not significant.  For example, you may type “Strg+N” or “STRG+n”.

 On Mac, the CTRL modifier is automatically converted to the COMMAND modifier.

You may select a letter that makes sense in your local language--you do not have to use the same letter as the English command:






label and optional shortcut

Special keys (e.g. Home, End, Enter) must not be translated.   You must use the following names when referring to special keys in menu items:

Key name


DEL, Del, DELETE or Delete

Delete key

INS, Ins, INSERT or Insert

Insert key

ENTER, Enter, RETURN or Return

Enter key

LEFT or Left

Left cursor arrow key

RIGHT or Right

Right cursor arrow key

UP or Up

Up cursor arrow key

DOWN or Down

Down cursor arrow key

HOME or Home

Home key

END or End

End key

SPACE or Space

Space bar

TAB or Tab

Tab key

ESC, Esc, ESCAPE or Escape

DO NOT USE  (available only on Windows)


© 2006-2007, Smoky City Design, LLC
Updated: May 16, 2007