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Go backDefining terms

A sidebar to the article “Of mice and menus,” published in IEEE Spectrum, September 1989, pp. 46.

Bit map: the pixel pattern that makes up the graphic display on a computer screen.

Clicking: the motion of pressing a mouse button to initiate an action by software; some actions require double-clicking.

Graphical user interface: the combination of windowing displays, menus, icons, and a mouse that is increasingly used on personal computers and workstations.

Icon: an onscreen drawing that represents programs or data.

Menu: a list of command options currently available to the computer user; some stay onscreen, while pop-up or pull-down menus are requested by the user.

Mouse: a device whose motion across a desktop or other surface causes an onscreen cursor to move commensurately; today’s mice move on a ball and have one, two, or three buttons.

Raster display: a cathode ray tube on which images are displayed as patterns of dots, scanned onto the screen sequentially in a predetermined pattern of lines.

Vector display: a cathode ray tube whose gun scans lines, or vectors, onto the screen phosphor.

Window: an area of a computer display, usually one of several, in which a particular program is executing.

Page added on 25th August 2005.

Copyright © 2002-2006 Marcin Wichary, unless stated otherwise.