What Does Throbber Mean?

A throbber is a kind of animation that shows an end user that a program is working on a task. These animated graphics are often composed of simple asterisks or shapes, where the moving parts act as the representation of the computer’s progress.


A throbber may also be known as a spinner, although some sources say that spinners are used specifically to refer to graphics that spin.

Techopedia Explains Throbber

Throbbers were built into early browsers. Netscape’s moving "N" logo is often credited for giving this term its name, because it expanded and contracted – or throbbed – as processing occurred. The whirling rainbow symbol on the Macintosh computer is another familiar example of this kind of tool.

One challenge in developing throbbers is converting bitmaps and other graphics into AVI files. This multimedia container is a common format for throbbers, which may be part of various software applications and tools for devices.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…