Active window

Active window

An active window is the currently focused window in the current window manager or explorer. Different window managers indicate the currently-active window in different ways and allow the user to switch between windows in different ways. For example, in Microsoft Windows, if both Notepad and Microsoft Paint are open, clicking in the Notepad window will cause that window to become active. In Windows, the active window is indicated by having a different coloured title bar. Clicking is not the only way of selecting an active window, however: some window managers (such as FVWM) make the window under the mouse pointer active—simply moving the mouse is sufficient to switch windows; a click is not needed.

Window managers often provide a way to select the active window using the keyboard as an alternative to the mouse. One typical key combination is Alt+Tab, used by Windows and KDE (by default, though this is user-configurable); another is Function-Tab, used by Macintosh. Pressing the appropriate key combination typically cycles through all visible windows in some order, though other actions are possible.

Many, though not all, window managers provide a region of the screen containing some kind of visual control (often a button) for each window on the screen. Each button typically contains the title of the window and may also contain an icon. This area of the screen generally provides some kind of visual indication of which window is active—for example, the active window's button may appear “pushed in”. It is also usually possible to switch the active window by clicking on the appropriate button. In Microsoft Windows, this area of the screen is called the "taskbar"; in Apple Macintosh systems this are of the screen is called the dock.

It is important to note that the active window may not always lie in front of all other windows on the screen. The active window is simply the window to which keys typed on the keyboard are sent; it may be visually obscured by other windows. This is especially true in window managers which do not require a click to change active windows: FVWM, for example, makes active the window under the mouse cursor but does not change its Z-order (the order in which windows appear, measured from background to foreground). Instead, it is necessary to click on the border of the window to bring it to the foreground. There are also situations in click-to-focus window managers such as Microsoft Windows where the active window may be obscured; however, this is much less common.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • active window — UK US noun [countable] [singular active window plural active windows] computing an area on a computer screen showing the program that you are using at a particular time Thesaurus: on the computer screen …   Useful english dictionary

  • Active Window —   [engl.], aktives Fenster …   Universal-Lexikon

  • active window — noun count COMPUTING an area on a computer screen showing the program that you are using at a particular time …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • active window — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms active window : singular active window plural active windows computing an area on a computer screen showing the program that you are using at a particular time …   English dictionary

  • active window —    The window currently accepting mouse clicks and keyboard input. The title bar of the active window is always a different color from that of the other open windows …   Dictionary of networking

  • active window — veikiamasis langas statusas T sritis informatika apibrėžtis ↑Langas, kuriame galima atlikti veiksmus (rinkti tekstą, pažymėti objektus ir pan.). Jeigu langai užkloti vienas virš kito, tai veikiamasis langas yra viršuje ir dengia kitus. Norint… …   Enciklopedinis kompiuterijos žodynas

  • active window — current window in a graphical operating environment …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Active — A market in which there is much trading. The New York Times Financial Glossary * * * active ac‧tive [ˈæktɪv] adjective 1. FINANCE if trading or a market is active, there is a lot of buying and selling: • Hong Kong shares advanced in active… …   Financial and business terms

  • active — A market in which there is frequent trading. Bloomberg Financial Dictionary Trading in the security has commenced or the security has been re activated after a suspension in trading. Euroclear Clearing and Settlement glossary * * * active ac‧tive …   Financial and business terms

  • Active Directory — (AD) is a directory service created by Microsoft for Windows domain networks. It is included in most Windows Server operating systems. Server computers on which Active Directory is running are called domain controllers. Active Directory serves as …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.