Pointer, cursor, caret. What are they called?

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What do you call them?

Keyboard controls the "cursor", mouse controls the "pointer".
11
73%
Keyboard controls the "cursor", mouse controls the "cursor".
2
13%
Keyboard controls the "caret", mouse controls the "cursor".
2
13%
Other (please explain)
0
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Total votes: 15

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Joachip
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Pointer, cursor, caret. What are they called?

Post by Joachip »

Back when I started using Commodore computers, the naming of these two well known items were very consistent, but then I ran into Windows, where the naming convention seems way less consistent.

What do you prefer to call these two user input items on a classical desktop computer?

zeffii
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Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2011 8:15 pm

Re: Pointer, cursor, caret. What are they called?

Post by zeffii »

In haste/lazyness i'll call a caret a cursor. A block/indicator in a text field is, by convention, called a caret. Caret seems to be a word that's not in the common vocabulary.

An argument for the use of Cursor is that the cursor keys up/down/left/right are the keys that move the this screen object, why not call this object the cursor.

'mouse-pointer' or 'pointer' definitely isn't a word I use much, but it should be clear to all what it refers to.

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Joachip
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Re: Pointer, cursor, caret. What are they called?

Post by Joachip »

I just brought this up because I come from an OS where "pointer" always refered to the mouse, and "cursor" always refered to the keyboard text input (regardless of it being a block or a thin line). They were 100% consistent, which was very nice.

But then Microsoft took over the world, and everything was chaos. It still is. And I still get distracted by their odd and inconsistent naming of these two simple screen objects.

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zephiris
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Re: Pointer, cursor, caret. What are they called?

Post by zephiris »

Joachip wrote:But then Microsoft took over the world, and everything was chaos. It still is. And I still get distracted by their odd and inconsistent naming of these two simple screen objects.
are you sure? i don't remember it ever being called any other than

mouse > pointer
keyboard (normal mode, i.e. adds characters before others) > cursor
keyboard (insert mode, i.e. replaces characters the caret is marking) > caret

althought caret i rarely hear/see mentioned, as most people these days don't even know that mode exists, they even get angry when they have that mode on and it "fucks up their workflow"... :P

everyone i showed the caret mode always was either "cool!" or "that's bullshit!"... but as their supporter i always smiled at them and walked away...

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Joachip
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Re: Pointer, cursor, caret. What are they called?

Post by Joachip »

Oh believe me, Windows is a mess when it comes to this. For example, you'll see lots of odd naming when using Visual Studio and such developer related software from MS. If you put the cursor in a comment in C# and press F12, you'll get "Cannot navigate to the symbol under the caret".

It's a huge mess. And the best way to prevent the mess from spreading is to always refer to the mouse arrow as "the pointer", and slap whoever gets it wrong. But I guess this settles it:

romanb: This is a caret ^ as you can see here.

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The final verdict

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