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A status bar is a graphical control element used to display certain status information depending upon the application or device. It is usually displayed as a horizontal bar at the bottom of the application window on computers, or along the top of the screen for tablets and smartphones. The status bar can also be divided into sections of information and sometimes has extra functionalities such as access to tools and shortcuts. In the case of text-based or console applications, the status bar may be replaced with a status line.
A status bar is a graphical control that is usually included as a default part of the graphical user interface design of many applications. Its main purpose is to display status information and short messages regarding the application or device’s status. The information displayed depends upon the application.
For instance, the status bar of a word processing application can give information on the number of words, cursor position and added functionality like the quick access toolbar. In the case of Web browsers, the status bar displays information about a webpage’s loading progress status or the actions happening after clicking on a hyperlink. A file manager may have a status bar that gives details on the count of items, current directory, total size, number of items selected and many more.
Mobile applications also make use of status bars to display certain information, such as unread emails or text messages, and notifications of application updates.
Status bars are helpful in displaying small error or warning messages and reporting the progress of an action to the user rather than interrupting their operations by using a popup message box. However, the messages displayed in a status bar are restricted in size, as they must be only one line.
Many applications allow users to change the criteria of information shown on the status bar. Some applications may also allow for customizing the appearance of the status bar or allow users to hide it from normal view. There are also certain plugins available that are used to add status bar functionality or to change the style and color of status bars in an application.