Short for Graphical User Interface, a GUI (pronounced as either G-U-I or gooey) allows the use of icons or other visual indicators to interact with electronic devices; rather than using only text via the command line. For example, all versions of Microsoft Windows utilize a GUI whereas MS-DOS does not. The GUI was first developed at Xerox PARC by Alan Kay, Douglas Engelbart, and a group of other researchers in 1981. Later, Apple introduced the Lisa computer, the first commercially available computer, on January 19, 1983.
How does it work?
A GUI uses windows, icons, and menus to carry out commands, such as opening, deleting, and moving files. Although many GUI operating systems are through the use of a mouse, the keyboard can also be utilized by using keyboard shortcuts or arrow keys.
What are the benefits of GUI?
Unlike a command line operating system or CUI like Unix or MS-DOS, GUI operating systems are much easier to learn and use because commands do not need memorized. Additionally, users do not need to know any programming languages. Because of their ease of use, GUI operating systems have become the dominant operating system today's end-users.
A few examples of a GUI operating system
- Microsoft Windows
- Apple System 7 and Mac OS X
- Chrome OS
A few examples of a GUI interface
- Any Microsoft program (i.e. Word, Excel, Outlook)
- Internet browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox)