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A GUI (pronounced GOO-ee) is a graphical user interface. We use them with almost all computer systems these days. Before the GUI was invented, the way to interact with computer systems was through cryptic commands that were difficult for the ordinary user to remember or even understand. A GUI made life much easier, enabling people to use features like the dragging and dropping of objects with a mouse rather than enter text commands.  A GUI takes advantage of the computer's graphics capabilities and memory capacity to make it easier for the user to interact with the computer program. Well-designed GUIs can free the user from having to learn complex command terms (see CLI) and makes interaction with the computer a multisensory experience by using pleasing images, sound and colour.

Graphical user interfaces make use of some or all the following basic components:

  • cursor that you move to the desired position on screen
  • mouse or trackball, that enables you to move the cursor and 'click' to select objects on the display screen.
  • icons : Small pictures that represent commands, files, or folders. By moving the cursor to the icon and pressing a mouse button, you can execute a command such as opening the icon contents into a new screenshot (window). You can also move the icons around the display screen as if they were real objects on your desk.
  • desktop : The area on the display screen where icons are grouped is often referred to as the desktop because the icons are intended to represent real objects on a real desktop.
  • windows: You can divide the screen into different areas. In each window, you can run a different program or display a different file. You can move windows around the display screen, and change their shape and size at will.
  • menus : Most graphical user interfaces let you execute commands by selecting a choice from a menu.