Widget

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What Does Widget Mean?

Widget is a broad term that can refer to either any GUI (graphical user interface) element or a tiny application that can display information and/or interact with the user. A widget can be as rudimentary as a button, scroll bar, label, dialog box or check box; or it can be something slightly more sophisticated like a search box, tiny map, clock, visitor counter or unit converter.

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Techopedia Explains Widget

The term widget is understood to include both the graphical portion, with which the user interacts, and the code responsible for the widget’s functionality.

In the field of computing, the term widget first became popular when operating systems started supporting GUIs. It was used to refer to each element that would make up an application’s GUI. A button, scroll bar, label, check box, panel or option button were all known as widgets. In Visual Basic, they were also known as controls.

Today, the term widget is more often used of any small application placed in the sidebar of blogs or websites. They are typically installed by simply copying and pasting a small piece of code from the widget provider’s site to your own site.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret 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 IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.