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(operating system)
The facility where the user can type more characters before the system has fully responded to those already typed. Type-ahead is common on most current systems. It allows the user to type without worrying that the computer may miss input because it is temporarily busy, e.g. reformating a page, checking spelling, or simply suffering from network latency. There is usually some limit to the amount of input the system can buffer, beyond which it __will__ lose input.

This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)


A feature in many applications that offers to complete a word or address that is only partially typed in. In word processors, the function often completes common words such as months of the year, while applications such as email use their name/address books to match the text as it is being typed character by character. Also called "type-ahead," autocomplete is especially helpful with Web browsers, eliminating the typing of long Web addresses (URLs) that have been previously entered.

Autocomplete vs. Autofill
Autocomplete works by matching typed-in text character by character, whereas "autofill" detects field types in a form (name, company, etc.) and fills them in with predefined text (see autofill). See predictive text, Smart Compose and incremental find.

Completing the Name
Typing the letters "ro" in the "To" field of this email program is immediately matched to the names that start with "ro" in the address book. The user can select from the list or type in an entirely different email address.

incremental find

Moving an index character by character when searching for information. Incremental find enables finding a result with fewer keystrokes, because the user is watching the index move keystroke by keystroke. Also called a "type-ahead index." See autocomplete.

Incremental Find
In this encyclopedia lookup example, typing "i p h" is sufficient to find all the terms that begin with "iPhone." As each character is typed, the matching term in the index scrolls to the top.

keyboard buffer

A memory bank or reserved memory area that stores keystrokes until the program can accept them. It lets fast typists continue typing while the program catches up. Also called a "type-ahead buffer."
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