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Making MUI Dialogs Easier

November 8, 2001
by Will Turnage

Hi Mr. Multimedia Handyman,

I would like to use a dialog box with 2 other buttons instead of Yes/No. Do I have to create a whole general-purpose dialog box, or is there a simple way to modify the buttons in the standard box? Thank you.



Dear Mai-Kee,

The short answer to your question is no, you can't modify the text in the Yes/No alert dialog boxes. With alert boxes and the MUI Xtra, you're limited to only the predefined options available through the Xtra. To achieve the effect you want, you will have to create a general-purpose dialog box.

I'm sure the reason that you asked this question was that if you've ever tried to create a general purpose dialog box using the MUI Xtra, then you know what a horribly tedious and complicated process it can be. Luckily, there are several software packages out there that are designed to make MUI creation a much easier job. The following is a description of a few of the software packages available that take away some of the burden of writing MUI Lingo code.

MUI Builder

The first product you should know about is the MUI Builder. This isn't available anywhere on the Internet, but is located in the Goodies folder on the Director 8.5 CD. This application was created by a developer at Macromedia, and the best part about it is that it's free. The downside is that it comes with the disclaimer that the product "...was built solely as a proof of concept and is offered as is and unsupported."

The documentation that comes with the MUI Builder is pretty straightforward and walks you step by step through the process of creating your own custom MUI Dialog box. Once you've created how your dialog box will look, then all you do is click a single tab, and you can view all of the Lingo code necessary to create this dialog box in Director.

Unfortunately, the MUI Builder doesn't offer every single feature available to you in the MUI Xtra; it's designed more as an educational tool that helps you learn how to code the MUI Xtra yourself.

MUI Maker

The MUI Maker is a utility available from for only $99. This editor uses an intuitive drag-and-drop interface to let you create any kind of MUI Dialog box you want. Then, just by clicking on the different tabs, you can view all the Lingo code necessary to create that dialog box in Director.

The MUI Maker is fully-featured and offers every dialog box option available to you. All you have to do is just cut and paste the Lingo from the MUI Maker to your project and that's it.

The two biggest strikes against MUI Maker are the fact that it's Windows-only, and that its $99 price tag makes it much more expensive than any of the other options here. But keep in mind that this price tag also includes tech support, which is something the other MUI helpers don't offer.


The MUI-GUI is a protected Director movie that fits inside your Xtras folder, thus making it easily accessible from within Director. You can download a limited demo version of the Xtra, but to unlock the full power of the software you have to register it, which only costs $35.

The interface is very subtle and has a nice feel to it, although it doesn't use tabs like MUI Builder or MUI Maker which can make it difficult sometimes to change different settings for your dialog boxes.

But the best things about MUI-GUI by far is that it's just a Shockwave movie. That means that it can play back inside Director on both Windows and Macintosh. And it's expandable too. This software is offered in five different languages: Dutch, English, French, German, and Italian, so if English isn't your first language then you still have other options available to you.

All of these software packages have free demos you can play around with, so the best way to decide which one you should use is try them all out for yourself. Regardless of which option you choose, it will definitely save you much more time than if you had to code the entire dialog box from scratch.

Will Turnage is a multimedia programmer based in New York City. In addition to his weekly role as Director Online's Multimedia Handyman, he is also the Technology Director for Sony Music's Client Side Technologies Group. You can read more about his work at

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