Attachment icon

(Stuart Alexander) #1

Recommend using a paperclip icon for attaching files to a post (pretty much standard over the web). I had to mouseover each icon to figure out how to add a file

(Homebrew Hops) #2

A few others have mentioned this to, did you review those discussions?


I disagree, paperclips are quite old school. I don’t know if younger generations would understand it.

The image of a “hard disk and an up arrow” immediately made me realise that was the upload button, but that’s just my experience.

I find it quite intuitive.

(Michael Downey) #4

The up arrow is pretty much a standard for “upload” but the paper clip is just as much a standard for “attachment”. It comes down to semantics.

Personally, I think the “attach” verb is probably better for a message, because it has parallels in email, instant messages, etc. (whose clients all also use paperclip icons).


I agree, if it this was private messaging, I’d be more inclined to think of it as an attachment, but the context doesn’t seem correct in a public forum.

(Rikki Tooley) #6

I think we understand :floppy_disk: fine - and they are much less used than paperclips!

Admittedly, my year was probably the last to use them at school… but still.

Doing a bit of quick research:

  • Outlook uses
  • Trello uses
  • Windows apps use for ‘attach’
  • Facebook uses
  • Twitter uses
  • NodeBB uses
  • phpBB uses
  • imgur uses
  • Windows apps use for ‘upload’

The differences from theses services seems to be distinguishing between “message including picture”, “the picture is a message”, and “the picture is just a file.” From that angle I think :paperclip: makes more sense for Discourse… unless we start distinguishing between types of upload, like a different button for video, or a file.

That said, this discussion reminds me of the share icon:

What do each of these symbols have in common? They are all trying to convey the exact same action - share! Sharing to a social network or via email is a ubiquitous action nowadays but designers have still not been able to reach a consensus on what symbol to use to represent it. Not only does each major platform use a different icon, but they’ve each witnessed changes over the years.

The best icon is not the one that is the simplest, nor the one that makes the most sense. Instead, the best icon is one with which most users are already familiar.

(Homebrew Hops) #7

A paperclip icon with an up arrow over the top of a picture of a camera!

(Jeff Atwood) #8

Just to be clear. There are two possible icons in Discourse:

  1. The default image icon (when allowed filetypes are only images)

  2. The generic upload icon (when allowed filetypes include something other than images)

What you see depends on what the settings are for that site.

(Régis Hanol) #9

The default image icon will be displayed when the list of authorized extensions is only composed of image extensions. This is not tied to the default value.