Updated: 09/12/2023 by Computer Hope
windows icon menu pointing

Short for windows, icons, menus, pointer, WIMP is a term coined by Merzouga Wilberts to describe a GUI (graphical user interface) interaction first used with the Xerox Alto computer. The picture shows a Firefox window with a file menu accessible through the toolbar and is an example of a GUI using WIMP.

Today, computer operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS are interacted with using WIMP. For example, in Microsoft Windows, each program is opened on the computer by double-clicking an icon with your mouse pointer. Once a program is opened (like your browser window), it's in a window. In the open program window, the program's features are accessed through menus.


WIMP is not a synonym for a GUI. WIMP describes a type of GUI, and GUI's such as Android and iOS don't use a WIMP type of interaction.

Computer acronyms, HCI, Icon, Menu, Operating system terms, Pointer, UI, Window