What’s that icon Dad?

imageBoth of my children (9 & 13) are fluent with technology – it is simply a part of their life, in the way that TV was a part of mine. It is often a challenge to keep up – they were into interactive online communities before I got truly understood their value.

Last month, when my youngest daughter was doing a PowerPoint for school, her first question to me was “Dad, can I borrow a memory stick?”. She knew that was the way that you carry files around.

Neither of my children have ever seen a floppy disk. And I realised this last week, when one of them pointed to the icons in Word and said “What’s that icon Dad?”. Good question, which turned into a history lesson!

What should we change the icon to? An memory stick?

Comments (7)
  1. arichards says:

    We are just about to order our latest batch of PC’s – all minus the floppy drive. All they are now is somewhere for students to hide sweet wrappers !!!

    You could start a ‘demand for change’ movement to have the floppy icon removed from ALL Microsoft software and a competition to create a new Save icon.

  2. ThomMck says:

    I was only just thinking about exactly this the other day, spooky.

    I don’t think you can replace it. It is pretty much the definitive picture for saving in every program that includes that feature.

    Changing it to a USB drive would mean that it would need to be replaced again when USB drives are deemed redundant and everyone saves stuff online (already happening). Perhaps it should be a cloud? Or more logically the same as the "open" icon but with the arrow going in the other direction?

    I feel the floppy disk should definitely stay. USB drives could have a picture of a floppy disk on to help people understand maybe 😉

  3. I suspect it’s now such a ubiquitous symbol that it will persist long after the floppy disk is entirely relegated to history. Then again, even if it was changed, how long before the USB stick goes the same way?

    A generic symbol could be found in the symbol used for a backing store in ICT and Computer Science theory (a cylinder), but it doesn’t have the associative meaning to most people that makes (made?) the floppy disk icon so intuitive.

  4. Ray Fleming says:

    I like the idea of adding a picture of a floppy disk to USB sticks – so that it makes a link.

    Perhaps we need a different visual metaphor linked to the word "Save". Some of the synonyms in Word for "Save" are:

    – put aside

    – put away

    – keep

    – hoard

    – set aside

    – bank

    – salt away

    – store

    – conserve

    So a picture of a jam jar (conserve) or a bank. Hmm, maybe not 😉


  5. Jon Nowicki says:

    Some of us were around when the disc was floppy and a lot bigger ? It was in cardboard not plastic.

    I bet there is some teckie with a box full, just in case, you never know when you might need them!!!!!

    Who needs more than 512kb ?

  6. Ray Fleming says:


    You must be younger than you look. 512KB. That was luxury. I remember my first floppy had 72K space – but it could manage 144KB if you had one of those hole punches that could put a hole on the opposite side (remember that – hole punch to make it R/W, and Sellotape to make it R/O)

    Oh, those were the days

  7. arichards says:

    72K – My word files are bigger than that.

    We seem to be starting a nostalgia moment –

    My first ‘computer’ was an Amstrad with the green screen and I paid extra so that it had 2 floppy drives. I then progressed to a ZX 81 with the expansion block so you could ‘write’ the programs you found in magazines.

    Oh for the simple days !!!!

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