Types Of Computer Hardware – Pointing Input Devices


Pointing input devices enable the user to control a pointer on the screen to perform data input and send control signals to the computer. Common pointing input devices include the mouse, trackball, touchpad, pointing stick, joystick, touch screen light pen and graphic tablet.

In this post we take look at the different types of pointing input Devices.

READ ALSO : Types Of Computer Hardware – Input Devices

Pointing Input Devices

The Mouse

Computer Mice

The mouse is small plastic clickable casing with a flat bottom, with one or more buttons on top designed to be gripped by one hand. It has a multi-directional detection device on the bottom and a cable connecting the mouse to the computer. The mouse has the left and right (and sometimes middle) buttons with a central wheel called the scroll button in between them. The user typically controls an on-screen pointer by moving the mouse on a surface (such as a desk).

Computer mouseDifferent types of mice include the wired or cable, wireless or cordless, mechanical, and optical mouse. The wired or cable mouse connects to the computer with a signal cable that plugs into a universal serial bus (USB), PS/2, or a standard serial port. Wireless or cordless mice have no cables but have radio sensors which plugged into the mouse port and picks up the signals from the mouse through infrared or radio waves. A mechanical mouse has a ball under the bottom and its movement is translated into directional signals for the mouse. The optical mouse is also called laser mouse. It has an optical/light sensor under the bottom which detects its motion and relays it to the computer.




The trackball looks like a mechanical mouse turned upside-down with the ball mechanism on top instead of the bottom. The thumb, fingers or palm is used to manipulate the ball in order to move the pointer on the screen.There are one or more clickable buttons around the ball which work like those of the mouse.



Touch padA touchpad or trackpad is a small, flat, stationary rectangular pointing device that is sensitive to pressure and motion, and is usually found on laptop and notebook computers. To move the pointer, one needs to slide a fingertip across the surface of the pad.

Most touchpads have one or two buttons around them that work like mouse buttons. The surface of the pad can also be tapped to stimulate clicking.


Pointing Stick

Pointing StickA pointing stick is a pressure-sensitive device shaped like a pencil eraser positioned between the G, H and B keys on the keyboard.To move the pointer one pushes the pointing stick and the screen pointer moves in the direction of the push.



The joystick is a device with a vertical lever mounted on a base and looks similar to a car’s gearshift. The lever usually have some buttons called triggers attached which can be pressed to activate certain events. The lever is pushed in the direction that one wants an object on the screen to move.


Joystick is mostly used with gaming software to control the actions of a vehicle, flight or player.


Touch Screen

Touch screenA touch screen is a monitor that has a touch-sensitive panel on the screen. One interacts with the computer by touching areas of the screen with the finger which acts as an input device. Touch screens are not used to enter large amount of data because they require a lot of arm movements.




Light Pen

A light pen is an electronic pen or hand-held input device in the form of a light-sensitive wand used in conjunction with a computer’s CRT monitor. It enables the user to point to displayed objects or draw on the screen in a similar way to a touch screen.Light penWith the light pen, one interacts with the computer by pressing the light pen against the surface of the screen or point the light pen at the screen and press a button on the light pen.

Graphic Tablet

Graphic Tablet

Also called digitizing tablet, a graphic tablet is a free hand input device that can be used to draw diagrams and objects into the computer. It consists of a flat, rectangular, electronic plastic board connected to the computer and has an electronic pen attached to the tablet that is used to draw diagrams on it.




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