When using the computer and surfing the net, you often come across these windows/pop-up windows, and pages where you need to or are asked to fill in blanks, check boxes, select items from drop-down menus, etc.

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about:

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You see these when signing up for an email address, installing a software onto your computer, online surveys, and on your social networking profile settings just to name a few, but what do you generally usually call these things, or how do you usually describe them? Is there a general way of calling/describing them?

I'm also having trouble describing the things within them. If I were to take the Avira image for example, how do I describe the different sections within it, more specifically the sections without the drop-down menus. For instance, the First name section, do I describe that as the first name blank, the first name row, the first name section? like "I am filling in the first name blank right now", or "I don't know what to put for the zip code row". Like, how do you usually describe it?

2 Answers 2


The spaces where your words go are called "fields". The pop-ups themselves I would call "forms".

  • 2
    I would too. They have exactly the same function as bureaucratic forms, though on paper forms one often speaks of lines instead of fields. Box is also possible for appropriately formatted fields. And numbers are often useful for reference purposes. Commented Dec 15, 2012 at 19:26

Previously-suggested “fields” and “forms” are generally-correct terms, but more-specialized terms like the following can be used for some of the items appearing on your sample pages.

Text box: “A text box, text field or text entry box is a kind of widget used when building a graphical user interface”
Drop-down list: “a drop-down list is a user interface control GUI element ("widget" or "control"), similar to a list box, which allows the user to choose one value from a list”
Radio button: “A radio button or option button is a type of graphical user interface element that allows the user to choose only one of a predefined set of options”

Numerous other GUI element names are mentioned or explained in wikipedia's GUI widget article. Note, “a widget (or control) is an element of a graphical user interface (GUI) that displays an information arrangement changeable by the user, such as a window or a text box.”

  • 2
    The terminology I’m most familiar with has HTML <input> element inside an HTML <form> element being a widget. All this talk about pop-up lists (I don’t understand why Microsoft people call them “drop-downs” when they’re pop-ups) or one-line text boxes or multi-line text boxes or one-out-of-many buttons or many-out-of-many buttons are all subservient to that. All of them are simply widgets.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 15, 2012 at 19:35
  • Both answers are helpful so I'm going to accept Simon Hoare's according to submission time.
    – Theo
    Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 14:35

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