Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

1) A cursor is the position indicator on a computer display screen where a user can enter text. In an operating system with a graphical user interface (GUI), the cursor is also a visible and moving pointer that the user controls with a mouse, touch pad, or similar input device. The user uses the pointing cursor and special input buttons to establish where the position indicator cursor will be or to select a particular program to run or file to view. Typically, the pointing cursor is an arrow and the text entry position cursor is a blinking underscore or vertical bar. Most operating systems allow the user to choose another appearance for the cursor.

In the Windows operating system, the pointing cursor turns into a small pointing-hand image when it moves or hovers over a specific object. This is commonly the case when the cursor passes over a text or image link on a Web page. The cursor changes into an hourglass image while the system is launching a requested program, or while a Web page is loading after the user has clicked on a link.

2) In some database programs, the term cursor is an acronym that stands for current set of records. When a group of records is selected, that group is called the current set. Selection is usually done using the pointing device, although the keyboard shift and arrow keys can also be used in some programs.

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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