Drag and Drop


Drag and Drop is a capability that lets the user to move graphical user interface (GUI) objects such as icons, windows, and menus on some programs etc. by manipulating a mouse or other tracking device like trackball, touchpad or pointing stick.

For example, files can be copied or moved by dragging them from one folder to another folder. Also, to print a document, an icon of the document can be dragged on top of the icon for the printer etc.

The basic sequence involved in a drag-and-drop operation is as listed below:

  • Move the mouse pointer over the object that is to be moved
  • Hold down the left mouse button to select the object
  • By holding the mouse button move the mouse to the location where the object has to be dropped
  • Then drop the object at the correct location by releasing the left mouse button

Uses of Drag and Drop

Drag and drop is an important capability for graphics applications which needs to position the text and images on any page or on top of each other. It can be used for multiple purposes like to move objects, position text, execute programs and many more. Some of the applications and uses of Drag and drop feature are:

  • To move an icon on the desktop to a folder
  • Drag and drop an open window by clicking the title bar and moving it to a new location
  • Some programs let the user to open the files by dragging and dropping file icons directly onto the application icon
  • Can customize the workspace of the programs by dragging and dropping its interface elements on different locations of the screen
  • Computer games like chess, usually facilitate the user to move objects in the game using a drag and drop action

These are some of the uses, there are many such applications like a file can be dragged to the Recycle Bin to delete it, or can be dragged to a folder to copy or move it to that location etc. Drag and drop is a simple and intuitive way to work with objects, hence most software programs often promote “drag and drop editing” capability, which in turn makes the software easy to use.

Significance of Drag and Drop

Drag-and-drop is a major feature of modern GUIs, in addition to other mouse operations such as point-and-click and cut-and-paste. It is a very intuitive operation and has helped make computers easier to use for large numbers of people.

When this drag-and-drop functionality is implemented well, it is both faster and more intuitive than its other alternatives, such as selecting options from a menu or typing in commands.

Modern operating systems, including Windows and the Mac OS, let their users to perform drag and drop between the applications. In addition, it even allows creating a picture with a draw program, selecting it, and then dragging it into a document that you are editing with a word processor.

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