Grayed Out

What Does Grayed Out Mean?

Grayed out is the term used for a disabled graphical control element in a graphical user interface. It is often done with a light shade of gray on the specific element. Grayed-out elements help in minimizing confusion for the user regarding an element’s status and whether or not it is active or available.


Techopedia Explains Grayed Out

Grayed out elements cannot be selected or utilized by the user. Nothing would happen upon trying to perform an action on grayed-out elements. With the help of programming logic or configurations, applications can also gray out certain options on their graphical user interface based on user inputs. There are certain tools available to work in combination with other applications or an operating system to forcefully enable grayed-out elements.

Grayed out is one of the most common options to let the user know of the inactive status of a control element, such as a button. Unlike other options, grayed out does not require an inactive element to be moved from its normal location. Grayed-out options could be useful to an administrator for preventing users from changing configurations or tampering the system. Most demo applications have one or more features grayed out.


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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.