drag and drop

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drag and drop

[¦drag ən ′dräp]
(computer science)
A feature whereby operations are performed on objects, such as icons or blocks of text, by dragging them across the screen with a mouse.

drag and drop

A common method for manipulating files (and sometimes text) under a graphical user interface or WIMP environment. The user moves the pointer over an icon representing a file and presses a mouse button. He holds the button down while moving the pointer (dragging the file) to another place, usually a directory viewer or an icon for some application program, and then releases the button (dropping the file). The meaning of this action can often be modified by holding certain keys on the keyboard at the same time.

Some systems also use this technique for objects other than files, e.g. portions of text in a word processor.

The biggest problem with drag and drop is does it mean "copy" or "move"? The answer to this question is not intuitively evident, and there is no consensus for which is the right answer. The same vendor even makes it move in some cases and copy in others. Not being sure whether an operation is copy or move will cause you to check very often, perhaps every time if you need to be certain. Mistakes can be costly. People make mistakes all the time with drag and drop. Human computer interaction studies show a higher failure rate for such operations, but also a higher "forgiveness rate" (users think "silly me") than failures with commands (users think "stupid machine"). Overall, drag and drop took some 40 times longer to do than single-key commands.

[Erik Naggum <erik@naggum.no>]

drag and drop

A graphical user interface (GUI) capability that lets a user perform operations by moving the screen icon of an object into another window or onto another icon. On a regular screen, the icon is clicked with the mouse, and the button is held down while dragging. On a touchscreen, the icon is long tapped and held down while dragging.

Copy and Move
Files can be copied or moved by dragging their icons from one folder and dropping them on another folder's icon. Drag and drop also lets users position images on a page. In some cases, a document can be printed by dragging its icon to the printer icon.

Rearrange and Delete
Icons can be rearranged on the screen or dragged to the trash can. In a smartphone or tablet, a long tap and drag and drop is used to rearrange and remove icons on the home screens. See icon, Win Drag and drop and long press.