WIMP

Stands for "Windows, Icons, Menus, Pointer." WIMP is an acronym that emerged in the 1980s and describes the graphical user interface (GUI) of personal computers. It includes both Windows and Macintosh interfaces, as well as other less common operating systems, such as Linux and NeXT.

While the terms GUI and WIMP are sometimes used interchangeably, WIMP is technically a subset of GUIs. This means all WIMP interfaces are GUIs, but not all GUIs are WIMPs. WIMP-based systems are designed to be used with a keyboard and mouse, since the mouse controls the pointer (or cursor) and the keyboard is used to enter data. Other GUIs may support different types of input, such as a touchscreen display.

Modern GUIs, many of which have a touchscreen interface, are sometimes referred to as "post-WIMP" interfaces. Examples include iOS and Android, which are popular smartphone and tablet operating systems. These interfaces include icons, but often lack windows and menus. Since no mouse is required for a touchscreen interface, there is no pointer.

NOTE: WIMP also stands for "Windows, IIS, MySQL, and PHP," which is variation of WAMP. It is a software package commonly installed on Windows-based web servers.

Updated November 7, 2014

Definitions by TechTerms.com

The definition of WIMP on this page is an original TechTerms.com definition. If you would like to reference this page or cite this definition, you can use the green citation links above.

The goal of TechTerms.com is to explain computer terminology in a way that is easy to understand. We strive for simplicity and accuracy with every definition we publish. If you have feedback about the WIMP definition or would like to suggest a new technical term, please contact us.

Want to learn more tech terms? Subscribe to the daily or weekly newsletter and get featured terms and quizzes delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe or change your frequency setting at any time using the links available in each email.

Questions? Please contact us.