What Does Cursor Mean?

A cursor is a movable indicator that is used to indicate the current position for any input on a computer interface. The cursor can be moved along the interface or application with the help of various keys on the keyboard or with the help of input or pointing devices such as a mouse. A cursor helps users to select actions such as drag, drop, click and point in specific applications and also helps in text entry in the case of text-based interfaces.


Techopedia Explains Cursor

In the case of text editors or command-line interfaces, the cursor is known as a caret or text cursor. It is usually represented by a vertical line or an underscore which could be either steady or flashing. The mouse cursor is often known as a pointer. If the cursor is placed on a button in an application and the mouse is left clicked, it initiates an action. The pointing cursor turns into a hand image while hovering or moving over specific objects or text in the Microsoft Windows operating system. While loading a webpage requested by the user or while the system is launching the requested application, the cursor changes into hourglass image or some other "waiting" indicator.

Users are allowed to customize the cursor in most operating systems. The speed of the cursor also can be controlled in most operating systems. When a cursor moves to a text editor or a word processing application, it turns into a text cursor.


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Margaret Rouse

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.