A text box is a rectangular area on the screen where you can enter text. It is a common user interface element found in many types of software programs, such as web browsers, email clients, and word processors. When you click in a text box, a flashing cursor is displayed, indicating you can begin typing. If you are using a tablet, tapping inside a text box may automatically display the on-screen keyboard.
There are two different types of text boxes — text fields and text areas. A text field is small box that allows you to enter a single line of text. It is used for entering basic values, such as a name, number, or short phrase. A text area is a larger box that allows you to enter multiple lines of text. Generally, pressing Enter in a text area will enter a newline character, creating a line break. When you press Enter while typing in a text field, either the cursor will jump to the next field or the value will be submitted.
In HTML, a text field is defined by an <input> tag with the type "text." A text area is defined by a <textarea> tag. Text fields are the most common, as they are used for entering queries in search engines and website search boxes. However, many Web forms, such as user registration and website contact pages often contain both types of text boxes. Regardless of what text boxes an online form contains, you can jump from one to the next by pressing the Tab key.
Updated: December 26, 2012