Is there a word that both describes keys on a keyboard as well as mouse buttons? They are quite similar, as in you press down on them, yet it is still called press a key and click a mouse button.

Three words I thought of are

  • switch
  • button
  • key

but these all are a bit generic and don’t show that both the keyboard and the mouse are meant.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 17:52
  • 2
    It depends on what you're writing. If it's user documentation you need to be as clear as possible, even at the expense of brevity. After all there's a lot of truth behind the old story of the user looking for the 'any' key in response to the command 'press any key to continue'! If you're writing for a technical audience (perhaps describing the lower level functioning of a piece of software) you could refer to interrupt or user input.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 15:43
  • 2
    You haven't given enough information to tell if other things might fit with your name. Does a stylus count? A touch screen? A 3D motion sensor (Kinect)? A breath sensor? Does there have to be feedback from the device? A haptic glove?
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 21:55
  • No, this specifically applies to anything that makes a tactile sound, like a keyboard key, mouse button or joystick button
    – Post Self
    Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 8:52
  • Please edit this to add what research you've done. Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 8:56

2 Answers 2


Your could go with Haptic Interfaces

Haptic or kinesthetic communication recreates the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations, or motions to the user.1 This mechanical stimulation can be used to assist in the creation of virtual objects in a computer simulation, to control such virtual objects, and to enhance the remote control of machines and devices (telerobotics). Haptic devices may incorporate tactile sensors that measure forces exerted by the user on the interface.

Although we associate haptics with devices that "talk back" such as the rumble of a gaming console controller, the category also includes devices which measure the human touch in order to interface with a machine. Keyboard, mouse, touch screen...

  • 1
    I disagree. 'haptic' implies that there is something that 'talks back' and clicks of a mouse or keyboard are not that.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 21:51
  • @Mitch I believe there is some feedback from a mouse or keyboard, which is what distinguishes them from, say, a touchscreen. Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 12:33

I'd bend things a bit and go for...


...which is "officially" defined as the sound produced by a keypress. But given the close association between mouse and click, it's an obvious extension for OP's keypresses and mouse clicks context.

  • 3
    This is a really weird suggestion
    – Michael
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 16:30

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