Pointing device

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Any hardware component that allows a user to input spatial data to a computer as part of a WIMP interface. CAD systems and Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) allow the user to control and provide data to the computer using physical "gestures" - point, click, and drag - typically by moving a hand-held mouse across the surface of the physical desktop and activating switches on the mouse. Movements of the pointing device are echoed on a graphical representation of a desktop on the screen by movements of the mouse pointer and other visual changes.

While the most common pointing device by far is a mouse, other kinds include trackball, trackpad, lightpen, various kinds of digitising tablets which use a stylus, and even a special "data glove" that translates the user's movements to computer gestures.


This article (or an earlier version of it) contains material from FOLDOC, used with permission.