Talk:Cursor (user interface)

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History of the cursor[edit]

Who invented the cursor? When was the first time someone programmed it to blink? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 21:32, 15 November 2006‎ With regard to early use of the term, "cursor", the Operator's manual for the Sperry Uniscope 300 (1968) makes many references to "Cursor Control Keys"

The reference manual for the Datapoint 2200 describes under general features of the "CRT DISPLAY" the following: "... 5 x 7 solid, blinking cursor, alternates with character, nondestructive;..." [1]Db3593 (talk) 04:49, 20 September 2016 (UTC). Perhaps the reference manual was issued with the introduction of the Datapoint 2200 itself - as early as 1970.

Cursor on early Windows versions[edit]

Although I've only used Windows 1 a couple of times, the mouse pointer appeared to be the same as the one used now (an arrow) - you can see it on screenshots like this: I've replaced "early versions of Microsoft Windows" with the generic "many DOS programs", though I'm sure someone else can think of a better example (QBasic, maybe?) --Alex Whittaker 14:02, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

In QBasic, the default shape of the mouse pointer in graphical modes was similar to the default Windows one, but not quite identical. Its tip was two pixels wide. I don't know if this was a driver dependent thing or specific for QBasic though. Shinobu (talk) 10:52, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

wikipedia text cursor[edit]

I've noticed that the vertical line text cursor on wikipedia's opening page has a small horizontal line in the upper right corner of the vertical line. IMHO it looks like miniature tilde. WTFlip is up with that? What's the purpose of that, does that have a name? Update: it only appears on my FireFox browser. 04:40, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

In web pages with bidirectional fonts (such as Wikipedia's front page, that has both hebraic and latin characters), the little line indicates the driection of writing. 10:34, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Windows vs. Mac OS cursors: Black or white?[edit]

Why is it that Windows uses a white cursor while Mac OS uses a black one? 19:13, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

  • I can inform you that the older Amiga computers used a red mouse pointer, and KDE 3.x (Linux/Unix) uses a black one. My guess is that you want a color that is different from the most commonly used background color. Mac computers have historically been very common among DtP graphics artists who use white background the most, whereas Amigas were used for TV graphics where the background is usually dark. This is also the reason there is an outline around the pointer. JoaCHIP (talk) 08:22, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
    • Sounds like a good guess, although nowadays it matters less due to the prevalence of light-grey backgrounds. And I guess that aestethic considerations may also enter the equation. When you look for custom cursors, you can find almost anything, including Mac-like cursors for Windows, retro cursors, silver, gold cursors, and custom shapes... I guess even such a little thing can be very personal. Shinobu (talk) 10:55, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Similarly, it cannot have passed most people's notice that the Windows and Mac arrow cursors are (but for the inverted colours) IDENTICAL. Is this a further example of Microsoft's idea pipeline gushing straight from Apple, or are both based on some earlier GUI system? Apple's System 1 used the same cursor, and there aren't many GUI systems that predate it - the Xerox Star had arrows, but they looked quite different (see Copying a general idea is one thing, but actually copying an image pixel for pixel is quite another. (talk) 12:19, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

What is this called??[edit]

I know this question is probably in the wrong place, but I don't know where else to ask, but, what is it called when you hover your cursor over a link and a little box appears with some text? (I'm still new with computer words and how to ask questions.) Oslogirl5 21:18, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Tool tip? — Tobias Bergemann 08:21, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

At your service. I'm not sure what the name is but I can tell you the code:

<html> <head> <title>title goes here</title> </head> <style type="text/css"> <style type="text/css"> a:link { color:white;background:blue;font size:20pt } a:alink { color:white;background:blue;font size:20pt } vlink { color:white;background:blue;font size:20pt } a:hover { color:blue;background:white;outset:1;width:200;height:20;border:black;font size:30pt } a:link,a:alink,a:vlink, { color:white;background:black:font size:10pt;border:black } table {color:white;background:blue } </style>

A:hover is what I think Is the name. --LCondolence_ 19:20, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Cursor or Pointer?[edit]

The article suggests that the "arrow shape on some systems" is why it's called a "pointer". Now as far as I know, most systems used by end-users (Windows/Mac/Amiga) are all using an arrow. But the explanation given does not explain why the mouse arrow is somethimes called a "cursor" instead of a "pointer".

I've always called it a "pointer" if controlled by a pointing device (mouse/joystick/trackball/eyetracking/etc) and a "cursor" if controlled by a text input device such as a keyboard. What is the correct labeling? Is there any "correct" way to name things at all? Which came first? - JoaCHIP (talk) 20:58, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

The thing that you move around with the mouse is called a cursor. However, the world won't end if you called it a pointer. Most people will know what you mean, however, some circles of computer nerds might laugh and make fun of you. :P
However, I didn't think the prompt to input text in a word processor or other programs was called a cursor. I've always called it a text prompt. I suppose text cursor or caret is okay, but I'd be a lot happier calling them text prompts than simply cursors, because a cursor is what you move around with the mouse, like I said. (talk) 19:13, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
The Windows documentation and function names usually refer to the mouse pointer as the cursor, while calling the text cursor the caret. Interestingly, there are a few mentions of mouse pointer in the Windows documentation, from a quick search these appear to be relatively recent additions. However, in common parlance, the cursor is always taken to mean the text cursor, while people call the mouse pointer the mouse pointer. Also, some newer Microsoft software, like the Visual Basic Forms and Controls library uses mouse pointer. What to make of this? Hard to say. Of course the Windows documentation is notorious for calling things by unusual names, usually due to historical reasons. Maybe common usage just changed over time. As for me, I prefer not to use the word cursor, as it can cause confusion with the text cursor. BUt if you'd explicitly say mouse cursor, then that wouldn't be an issue. Shinobu (talk) 11:08, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Microsoft's Manual of Style for Technical Publications 3rd Ed. says to call the arrow the "pointer" (not "arrow", "mouse pointer", "mouse cursor", etc.). Apple in the past has used both "cursor" and "pointer". The MS style guide and Apple's Human Interface Guidelines both say to refer to the blinking line in text as the "insertion point". I personally prefer to use "pointer" and "insertion point" because "cursor" is just too ambiguous. -- tooki (talk) 14:29, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
On Linux systems the "insertion point" is often refered as caret RIMOLA (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 14:53, 10 August 2010 (UTC).
Interestingly, although the widespread Windows documentation calls the pointer 'cursor', Google states seven times more results for "mouse pointer" than for "mouse cursor". In view of the current 'swing' of Microsoft, the article should not be suggestive of "mouse cursor" being more correct than "mouse pointer". -- Rainald62 (talk) 11:38, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
VGA programming documentation refers to the text-entry object as a 'cursor', and the Commodore Business Machines Amiga Intuition Programming Manual refers to the text thing as a 'cursor' as well. It also uses 'pointer' to describe the mouse pointer. Renegrade (talk) 05:57, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Hotspot outside of a cursor[edit]

I just tried what would happen if you placed the hotspot outside of the cursor, and it did pretty much what you'd expect. But that does mean that the article is slightly wrong in that it implies that the hotspot needs to be located inside the cursor. :-) Shinobu (talk) 11:10, 18 December 2008 (UTC)


A database' CURrent Set Of Records is also called a cursor RIMOLA (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 14:50, 10 August 2010 (UTC).


Why was the article moved and then the move reverted? —danhash (talk) 15:50, 15 December 2011 (UTC)


I've cut the meaningless sentence "Some details of the vertical bar's origins have been described in Bill Moggridge's Designing Interactions (ISBN 0262134748)." from the article, and don't know if it's significant enough for a "further reading" section. If anyone has a copy and wants to tell the reader what those details actually are, then feel free. --McGeddon (talk) 10:35, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Cursor vs pointer vs caret[edit], while I agree with the need to provide a more careful definition of the terms, your edit was a bit hasteful. The reference for the very first definition in fact uses "cursor" to mean "pointer", and the "3D cursor" section still refers to the mouse pointer with that word. "Cursor" is interchangeably used to refer to both the pointer and the caret by different sources, and the article should reflect that; what both uses have in common is signalling the entry point of user interaction, as the stable version explains. Maybe we shoud clarify that "cursor" is more common for the text insertion point, but it's not OK to remove all usages of "cursor" as the pointer. Diego (talk) 13:07, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

In my experience, this is not true, the term cursor is used differently, the present article text is wrong, and must be corrected. In GUI interfaces with a mouse pointer, the cursor (or sometimes pointer) is the shape on the screen that indicates where the mouse (or other pointing device) is pointing, while the caret (also called insertion point) is the shape on the screen indicating where text will be inserted upon typing. They are generally a different shape and are generally at different locations on the screen. This terminology has been used for Macs, the X Window System, etcetera, since the 1980s. Rp (talk) 11:12, 18 November 2015 (UTC)