What are the Different Types of Pointing Devices

pointing devices9 Types of Pointing Devices

In this article, we are going to discuss on the 9 types of pointing devices used in a computer system with its functions, applications, and uses.

We are also going to see what are the advantages and disadvantages of using these devices with a definition and complete explanation.
Let’s start!!!

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What is a Pointing Device in a Computer?

The pointing devices are used to point or select anything on the screen using devices such as a mouse. These pointing devices are also called as Input devices.

The pointer which appears on the screen is called a cursor which is a symbolic representation of the mouse and it is used for selecting, dragging elements from one location to another.

These devices are used to accept information and data from outside the world and after receiving they tend to translate this data and information into a human-readable form which can be understood easily and later sent for further processing.

The pointing devices are used in the GUI interface [Graphical User Interface] where a user gets a graphical environment to use such pointing devices or input devices like mouse and keyboards.

The mouse is a very famous pointing, as well as input devices they are extremely easy to use and the operations and task performed by them, have great consistency, accuracy, and speed.

For Example, to copy a file/folder from one location to another location is very simple using a mouse but if you use a keyboard it can be a very difficult task for new users for the pro ones who are more familiar with the shortcuts available for performing some specific tasks can be done easily

What are The Different Types of Pointing Devices Include?

In this section, we are going to discuss and explain 9 types of pointing devices with their functions and uses. In a computer system, there are input devices as well as output devices which are an integral part of the PC.

Using these devices the system performs input as well as output functions which are the most important function of any system available around the world. Now let’s talk about input devices.

  • The input devices are used to convert the digital signal or binary signals into logical signals or in binary form that is 0s and 1s.
  • This binary language can be properly understood by a computer system and further processing and handling.
  • The pointing or input devices act as the intermediate between outside the world and our own computer or device.
  • The prime examples of pointing devices are mouse, keyboard, scanner, etc.

Output Devices

The output devices are electromagnetic gadgets that sent output data or information into a human-readable form which can be properly understood by humans. This output can be in the form of softcopy or hardcopy.

Softcopy can be viewed on the screen (VDU) [Visual Display Screen] in the form of text, image, and graphics which cannot be touched or feel. The output devices act as an intermediate between outside the world and the computer. Hardcopy can be obtained on paper, cloths, etc. these outputs can be touched and feel. The prime example of output devices is monitor, printer, etc.

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Types of Pointing Devices and their Uses

In this section, we are going to list all the 9 types of pointing devices with their uses, applications, and functions.

pointing devices9 Types of Pointing Devices

  1. Mouse
  2. Keyboard
  3. Touchpad
  4. Joystick
  5. Trackball
  6. Light Pen
  7. Optical Card Reader
  8. Digitizing Tablet
  9. Stylus


The mouse is one of the famous pointing devices which acts as an interface between users and computers. The users who use mouse has an extra edge over the keyboard users where the mouse can perform operations and task given to them in rapid speed and with precision.

pointing devicesMouse - Types of Pointing Devices

The mouse pointer or cursor can highlight certain elements on the screen with absolute accuracy which enables the user to drag, drop, copy, and select without any fuss.

The mouse can be used to copy any files and documents from one location to another within just a few clicks. The mouse has two buttons one on the left side and another on the right side and a scroll button| wheel on the center of the mouse which is used to scroll documents while reading.

The mouse is used in application software or computer projects where GUI [Graphical User Interface] technology is used where task has to be done with rapid speed with almost 100% accuracy. The computer mouse is cheaper, faster, and need a small size for its installation.

There are three types of mouse

  1. Mechanical
  2. Optical
  3. Infrared or Radio Frequency Cordless Mouse

Mechanical Mouse::These mouse are almost circular in shape and has a rounded rubber ball at the base.

Optical Mouse:: This mouse has an LED [Light Emitting Diode ] at the base. It emits light when the user uses the mouse in any application and projects.

Infrared or Radio Frequency Cordless Mouse:: These mouse get power from the batteries which are installed inside them and can be changed if found damaged.


pointing devicesKeyboard The keyboard is another pointing device. Although the keyboard cannot replace the mouse as the mouse contains some special features which keyboard lacks.

Now I will guide you on how to use a keyboard just like a mouse? Don’t worry I will guide you through the entire process.

Step No 1] Select Control Panel.

Step No 2] In the Control Panel Go To Open Ease of Access.

Step No 3] Click on Make the keyboard easier to use.

Step No 4] Select Turn on Mouse Keys.

3] Touch screen

The touch screen is capable of showing information and data on their screen which can be touched and access using fingers and the information can be accessed by a device called a pen-like stylus. Whenever we touch our fingertips on the screen there is a signal generated which are transferred to CPU [Central Processing Unit] to process and handled the information and later this information is handover to output devices for further processing.

pointing devicesTouchpad

The touch screen does not require a pointing device like a mouse for performing operations. They have an inbuilt sensor that detects fingertips and allows them to access the information and device. Touch screens sometime are also called as a pointing device as well as output devices as they carry out both the basic essential functions.

4] Joystick

The joystick is a pointing device that is used for playing games on a computer and can also be used in CAD [Computer Aided Design]. Some of the latest games in the market cannot be played with the help of a keyboard as it requires speed and accuracy.

pointing devicesJoystick

The latest joystick has the multidimensional features which enable users to play games with speed and precision. The joystick can be moved up, down, left, and right it also has a push button at the top of the joystick which is used while playing video games. They have a vertical stick that enables the cursor to move freely across the screen.

5] TrackBall

The trackball is installed in laptops and notebooks which are used as pointing devices that work exactly similar to a mouse. These trackballs are square-shaped box and act as a sensor when fingers are moved across this box one can select, drag, and drop files, folders, and documents.

Nowadays the trackballs are extensively used because of their shape and small size with amazing features when compared to a mouse. This trackball does not require huge space.

6] Light Pen

pointing devicesLight Pen The light pen looks like a pen that is used for drawing pictures on the screen this device is also one of the important pointing devices which are used very extensively in presentations and graphics slide show. The light pen has a light sensor once the user touched the screen with the help of a light pen a signal is generated for further operations.

7] Optical Card Reader

OCR [Optical Card Reader] is a mechanical device that can translate images, pictures, and documents into a machine-readable form. OCR has an inbuilt memory which store previously scanned data or information. These OCR can be used in scanning barcodes which have pictures and can be rechecked with the data previously stored in the memory.

8] Digitizing Tablet

pointing devicesTablet The digitizing tablet is also called a graphic tablet. These are another type of pointing devices which are used in drawing pictures and graphics. These devices are used with a stylus. These drawings can be stored in computer memory and can be used later for further modifications and processing.

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Conclusion | Final Words

The pointing devices are used extensively in these modern days as they are cheaper, smaller in size, and perform operations and tasks with massive speed.

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