Is it correct to call the mouse pointer a cursor?

I call the mouse pointer a pointer. The blinking line or box in a text field is a cursor.

Some people call the mouse pointer a cursor. Wikipedia seems to presume this as the majority view, as it doesn’t even mention the pointer alternative.

But in the Discussion on Wikipedia’s page, there is mention that Microsoft’s Manual of Style for Technical Publications says the arrow is the pointer. While the Windows documentation refers to the mouse pointer as the cursor, and calling the text cursor the caret.

I think having two different computer features, especially ones so closely connected, with the same name just adds unnecessary confusion and complication.

What’s the proper name for the mouse pointer?

Who cares what johnny-come-lately Microsoft / Windows think it should be called?

The Mac Folklore site as searched by Google indicates that on the platform that HAD mice back when the PC had just an amber A:> prompt, it was called a cursor.

There is no one ultimate, proper, universally agreed-up name for it.

“Cursor” can mean just about anything that indicates a position; that’s what they called the glass slider on a slide rule with a hairline on it to locate a position on the scale.

So the little arrow can be called a cursor; it’s also certainly a pointer. It’s also a “little arrow.” The symbol showing the text position is just as much of a cursor. Or pointer.

I will say, though, that I’ve never heard “caret” used this way. The caret is the symbol above the 6 on a keyboard.

Pointer to me makes no sense, as the cursor doesn’t always point at anything. (See the I-beam cursor when you hover over type.)

I just use mouse cursor and keyboard cursor if there is any perceived ambiguity.

It’s not called a pointer because of its arrow or hand icon shape or because it points at things, it’s called a pointer because it shows the location of your mouse, like the end of a pointing stick.

That is ‘pointing at things’.

I vote for “mouse cursor” vs “cursor.”

No, it’s the symbolic end of a pointing thing, not the act of pointing at things. At least in so far as the “icon changes to text indicator” that BigT was referring to.

Cursor is the technical term for a thing that indicates where an action should be taking place. Compare the mouse cursor to the command-line cursor to the database cursor. Cursor is the right term.

Cursor means “runner”. With your mouse your make it move or “run” (not curse :)).