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A caret is the point that text is in inserted in a text box. Is this known widely? Will the average user (non technical) understand this word?

What other phrase or word should be used to describe the point at which text is inserted?

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2 Answers

A caret is properly the ^ sign which indicates where letters are to be inserted. It's come to mean the point indicated by the blinking vertical bar in on-screen text boxes. But only you can say whether your users will understand the word.

Microsoft uses insertion point. You could also use flashing cursor.

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I believe the word "cursor" is most common, but risks confusion with the mouse cursor in GUI applications. Wikipedia lists several other options in addition to the abovementioned ones, including "text cursor" and "text insertion cursor," at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caret_navigation. –  Derrick Coetzee Jul 15 '12 at 5:49
    
That use of caret is news to me. I have never heard it used for the blinking vertical bar, but then I guess that blinking vertical bar is not the sort of thing people routinely have conversations about. –  Roaring Fish Jul 15 '12 at 8:53
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I only know it as the > sign. From the DOS days, it was C:/> (C colon front-slash caret). The dictionary says it's the ^ sign at the bottom of the screen. I would say that cursor is probably the best usage of the place where text is going to be placed, even though now it tends to refer to the mouse cursor. –  Adam Jul 15 '12 at 12:30
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Wiktionary lists "An indicator, often a blinking line or bar, indicating where the next insertion or other edit will take place" as a sense of caret, and that sense apparently is what you refer to as "the point that text is in inserted in a text box". I think most people, whether technically oriented or not, are unaware of that usage. I imagine a few people per million will know it.

The wiktionary entry continues, "Also called a cursor", and in defining cursor includes senses "A moving icon or other representation of the position of the pointing device" and "An indicator, often a blinking line or bar, indicating where the next insertion or other edit will take place. Also referred to as 'the caret'".

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