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Drag and Drop

Drag and drop (also "drag-and-drop") is a common action performed within a graphical user interface. It involves moving the cursor over an object, selecting it, and moving it to a new location.

If you are using a mouse, you can drag and drop an object by clicking the mouse button to select an object, then moving the mouse while keeping the mouse button pushed down. This is called "dragging" the object. Once you have moved the object where you want to place it, you can lift up the mouse button to "drop" the object in the new location. If you are using a touchscreen device, you can select an item by simply touching it with your finger. (Some interfaces may require you to hold your finger on the object for a second or two to select it.) Then you drag the item by moving your finger across the screen to the location where you want to place it. To drop the object, simply lift your finger off the screen.

Drag and drop can be used for multiple purposes. For example, you can drag and drop an icon on the desktop to move it to a folder. You can drag and drop an open window by clicking the title bar and moving it to a new location. Some programs allow you to open files by dragging and dropping file icons directly onto the application icon. Many programs allow you to customize the workspace by dragging and dropping interface elements in different locations on the screen. Computer games, like chess, typically allow you to move objects in the game using a drag and drop action.

NOTE: Since drag and drop is a simple and intuitive way to work with objects, software programs often promote "drag and drop editing" capability, which implies the software is easy to use.

Updated: September 13, 2011

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