I'm writing instructions telling a user to click something in/on a computer window. I lean naturally towards "click the button in the window", but is it "click the button on the window"? (Note: this is referring to a small floating window within the larger browser window, if that makes a difference.)

I've seen it written both ways, so I'm unsure which is correct.

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    I can't give you a definitive, authoritative answer with supporting evidence, but I would strongly argue for in; on just seems to real-world-ish for a virtual object such as a window. The button, however, is definitely (I'm assuming) contained within the boundaries of the window, so in makes sense to me. Oct 3, 2018 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


In the window or inside the window is correct, since you are talking about a 2D shape:

"click the button in(side) the window"

On the window would either indicate on top of or above, possibly even on the surface of, as in "There is a fly on the computer screen."

However, you can click on a button but this does not indicate where the button is, just where you must click:

"click on the button in the window"

You may also have seen on used with a button to indicate it is in the active state, like a lightswitch that is "on". This is informal:

"toggle the button on"

"switch on the button"

Although an English teacher might prefer something more formal like:

"click the button to turn on (a function)"

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