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Pack/Unpack and Iconify

In Elastic Windows, windows at any level of the hierarchy can be packed by selecting the pack operation from the window menu. Packed windows are shown as thin bars either horizontal or vertical in the same location (Figure gif). Keeping packed windows in the same location may avoid spatial disorientation and helps users to locate them easily.

The pack operation also helps users to filter unnecessary information and use the screen space more efficiently for the current subtask. The unpack operation restores the packed window or hierarchy of windows to their previous sizes by double-clicking on the bar.

Hierarchy of windows can also be collapsed into a single icon using the iconify operation by selecting the operation from the window menu. Opening an icon associated with a hierarchy of windows basically allows the users to reconstruct their previous layout configuration rapidly. Collapsing hierarchy of windows into a simple visual primitive such as an icon allows the users to visually aggregate a hierarchy of information and operate on it efficiently.

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Eser Kandogan
Sun Sep 13 18:34:46 EDT 1998

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