Updated: 07/06/2021 by Computer Hope

Input may refer to any of the following:

Input and Output example

1. Any information or data sent to a computer for processing is considered input. Input or user input is sent to a computer using an input device. The picture is an illustration of the difference between input and output. The input example (top) shows data sent from a keyboard to a computer.

Input device examples

Devices commonly used to provide input to a computer include:


See our input device page for a full list of input devices used with a computer.

In addition to computers, input can be collected from any electronic device. For example, a water heater may receive input from a temperature sensor. The output would be a signal that turns on a pilot light or gas burner to heat the water to the desired temperature.

Input technical information

Computer software can receive data as an input stream, a flowing sequence of data that can be directed to specific functions. The directed channel that the data stream flows is known as a pipeline, and changing its direction is known as piping.

In Unix-like operating systems such as Linux or BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution), the input stream is one of the three standard data streams. It's known as the "standard input" stream and is often abbreviated as stdin.

2. With HTML (hypertext markup language), the <input> tag creates input fields and interactive controls for web-based forms.

3. With a TV remote, the input button is a button that switches the input device shown on a TV. For example, a TV may have a cable box, DVR (digital video recorder), DVD (digital versatile disc) player, and game console connected to a TV. To switch between these devices, press the input button one or more times. As you press the input button, most TVs display the name of the selected input device, and if that device is off or doesn't exist, the TV shows nothing. Keep pressing the input button until the correct input device is selected.

4. In general, input can also refer to a contribution of feedback, information, or work. For example, someone may ask you for input about a school or work project.

Control unit, Enter, Hardware terms, HTML, Input device, Insert, IO, Output, Stdin, Switch