In any tool, there are a number of operations that you can always perform on the selected objects, irrespective of the type of objects you have selected. This allows you to perform some powerful operations and also ensures a consistent feel to every tool in the environment.
In this context the term "selected objects" is meant in the widest sense, and can refer to any items selected anywhere in a tool, be it in a list of items, or a graph. It can also refer to the tool's current object : that is, the object which is currently being examined.
These operations are available throughout the environment, and are referred to as standard action commands. As with other commands that are specific to the active window, standard action commands are usually available from menus on the main menu bar of the tool you are using. The objects which are operated on by a given standard action command depend on the menu from which you chose the command.
As an example, consider examining the contents of Common Lisp objects using the Inspector.
The standard action commands for the Inspector are present in two places: the Object menu, and the Slots menu.
Notice that in the first case, the object operated on is the tool's current object: you do not have to take any further action before performing the operation.
In the second case, the objects examined represent more specific pieces of information: you need to select them before you can perform the operation. This, therefore, examines more discrete pieces of information about the current object.
Many tools have one or more submenus like those described above. The first operates on the current object. What that object is, and hence the name of the submenu in which the commands are to be found, depends on the tool you are using. For instance, if you are examining classes, the commands can be found in a Classes menu. If you are examining methods, they can be found in a Methods menu.
Some tools contain two or more such menus; precise details are given in the relevant chapters.
As a guide, if a menu has a plural for a name, the commands in that menu can be performed on multiple selections. If the menu name is not pluralized, commands only affect a single selection.
LispWorks IDE User Guide (Macintosh version) - 25 Nov 2011