The Difference Between Apply and OK

If you make any changes to settings in Windows you’ll have seen three buttons at the bottom.

OK, CANCEL, APPLY

OK, CANCEL, APPLY

I’ve been asked a couple of times recently about difference between the ok and apply buttons so thought that I thought it was worth posting about!

It’s not all that complicated.

If you make any changes and press the APPLY button the settings are put into place and the window stays open.

If you make any changes and press the OK button the settings are put into place and the window is then closed.

That’s it!

Both are supposed to be time saving functions depending on what you are doing. If you are making multiple changes but want to see what effect it has as you are working the apply button means you don’t have to constantly reopen the settings window each time.

The OK button is there for one off operations and means you don’t need an extra click to close the window manually.

I very often see people who click the Apply button and then immediately click the OK button which says to me it’s not obvious what the difference is.

I’m hoping it’s obvious what the cancel button is for.  Smile

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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