What Is The Most Common Pointing Device On Laptops

Also known as a “Pick” device, a Pointing device is a hardware component that enables its user to feed spatial data into the laptop with the help of software. When a user intends to input data and control it on the screen they can do so simply by clicking, pointing, or by dragging their pointing devices. Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Graphical User Interface (GUI) systems allow interpretation of these hand gestures and thereby lets you take things “in your hands”. 

[su_note note_color=”#cffefa”]It’s quite sane to wonder what is the most common pointing device on laptops even if you’re not a computer geek. Needless to say, the first word that comes to our minds when we hear the word pointing device is a Mouse. Though with the advancement of technology, today we have many pointing devices besides the traditional Mouse. Devices such as Stylus, Trackpad, Touchscreen, Light-pen, Joystick, Trackball, etc. are all pointing devices that cater to different needs of users. [/su_note]

Let’s get you acquainted with a few common ones and see how each of them might be of use for you. 

9 Most Common Pointing Devices On Laptops

Below is a list of 9 most commonly used pinpointing devices on a laptop

1. Mouse

what is the most common pointing device on laptops_mouseStarting from the lightest, swiftest, and the commonest input devices on a laptop, a mouse moves a cursor/pointer on the screen by physical movement along a flat surface. Unlike all other pointing devices, a mouse gives you the freedom to freely move around without the restriction of a specific responsive area. Ideally made for the right hand, a mouse consists of two clickable buttons on the front end of it and a wheel in between. A rolling ball, now greatly being replaced by laser/optical sensor ones, at the bottom is responsible for detecting motion and directing the cursor on the screen. 

[su_note note_color=”#fef8cf”]Send commands by clicking the buttons and scroll through pages by simply rotating the wheel. All conventional mice come with a “tail” i.e., the wire, and the latest trend is wireless mice. Wireless mice connect with the system via Bluetooth or Infrared. Other than wireless, optical, and mechanical mice, many other types of mice are gaining popularity. [/su_note]

There is a futuristic right-type finger mouse that is wrapped around the index finger and is operated by the thumb while connected to the laptop via Bluetooth. Pretty cool right? Moreover, you can get a foot and camera mouse that use intelligently tailored Softwares to enable differently-abled individuals to operate a laptop.

2. Touchpad or Trackpad

What is the most common pointing device on laptops-touchpadFor people who like portable gadgets, a laptop with a touchpad is the best possible option. It involves a dedicated rectangular area of the surface that can be touched to move the cursor on the screen and select items. This touchpad sits right at the bottom of a laptop’s keyboard and also has two right and left buttons that emulate those on a mouse. The placement of this pointing device is perfect for quick and efficient performance when a user is requires a combined use of keyboard and pointer for their work.

The multi-touch functionality and ease-of-use make this pointing device amongst the most favored ones. You can also adjust the sensitivity of your laptop’s touchpad to tone with the way you naturally glide fingers across the flat surface. It is ideal for users who don’t have to deal with large blocks of data or texts or design complex things on a daily basis.  

3. TrackPoint

pointing device on laptops-trackpoint-mouseSome laptops come with keyboards that have a small mounted knob in the middle which acts as a compact isometric joystick to control the cursor on the screen. This pointing device allows the user to direct the cursor on the screen by pressing or applying pressure to the knob. When you press and move the finger on this mount, you see your cursor changing position in the direction of your finger.

[su_note note_color=”#feeefd”]These devices are well-suited for people who type more than they browse. Without lifting a hand, you can make the cursor move from one place to another! This saves the user their valuable time and energy and gathered quite some popularity after their introduction in the 80s by IBM.  [/su_note]

4. Touchscreen

pointing device on laptops-touch_screenA touchscreen allows direct interaction of the user with the content displayed on the screen without having to use an intermediate device to give commands to the system. There are several kinds of touchscreen i.e., surface acoustic wave, resistive, and capacitive all offering slightly different user experiences. 

[su_note note_color=”#d8e4f1″]This pointing device works by taking in and registering commands from a movement of finger or a stylus across the screen and sending a signal to the controller. Some touchscreens use an infrared beam for sensing finger movements on the screen.[/su_note]

Signals from the screen are then translated into actions on the screen. All modern laptops have a touchscreen which is adored by the new generation users. You can touch, drag, tap, swipe, pinch or double-tap the screen for different actions. 

5. Stylus

most common pointing device on laptops-stylusJust like a pencil or a pen a stylus can be used to write, draw, drag or move things on a touch-sensitive screen. Popular amongst designers, architects, and artists in general, this pointing device has proven to be a revolutionary invention. 

Achieve the utmost accuracy in operation with a stylus pen as your pointing device on a laptop as you get the liberty to pick and play with the tiniest of features on the screen. A stylus pen pointing device works in the same way as a touchscreen except that the cursor in this case is controlled by a sleek-looking stylus pen. You can touch the stylus to the touchscreen and click, drag, write, etc. 

6. Joystick

Taking the name in literal senses, a Joystick is dedicated to bringing joy into your life. A popular pointing input device among gamers and people who don’t like the traditional methods of moving the pointer on the screen. 

[su_note note_color=”#f1f0d8″]If the question is about the most common pointing device on laptops for gamers, the answer is Joystick! A joystick has two spherical balls, one which is outside is moved by the user by a stick, and the other moves with it in the socket.[/su_note]

The structure consists of a base and a pointing stick that can be moved by the user in all directions to move or shift the object on screen. There are different kinds of joysticks, the hand-operated joysticks, finger-operated joystick or the displacement joystick. 

7. Light Pen

most common pointing device on laptops-light_penSimilar to a stylus, a Light Pen inputs messages and commands from the user into the laptop by a pen like device. This hand-held device is light-sensitive and is connected with a wire to the laptop. The tip of this device emits light and it is taken as a signal by the screen.

[su_note note_color=”#e0f8f4″]Note that these pointing devices work on tablet laptop screens. Used mostly by graphic designers, illustrators, and engineers, these devices perform the “clicking” or “tapping” function when you point it on to the screen. [/su_note]

Some of these photosensitive pens work with specifically designed paired screens that can also be attached to the laptop with a wire if need be. A major benefit this pointing device offers to its users is high positional accuracy. Although a Light Pen is considered an outdated invention, they still served illustrators and engineers greatly in their time. 

8. Keyboard

most common pointing device on laptops-keyboardThis pointing device is common amongst experts and professionals only. Many beginners wouldn’t even have the knowledge that a keyboard can be used as a pointing device for your laptop. How does it function? Quite simple! Just activate the option of using your keyboard for moving cursor on the screen from the control panel of the laptop. And the number pad arrow keys will allow you unlimited cursor movements.

It is all a matter of personal preference when it comes to choosing a keyboard as your pointing device. Some professionals find it even more effective and easy to use than a mouse! 

9. Leap Motion

most common pointing device on laptops-leap_motion_futuristicThe most advanced pointing device, Leap Motion, combines Hardware and Software to allow its user an ultimate experience. It allows the user to touch augmented and virtual reality with their bare hands.

A spatial tracker reads the user’s natural hand movements and gestures to manipulate digital objects displayed on the screen. 

[su_note note_color=”#e0f8f4″]Such a futuristic approach is yet to be discovered by an ordinary laptop user. This is the latest way of interacting with the world of digital excellence. This contact-free pointing device creates an immersive gesture-based possibility of interaction between a human and a laptop.[/su_note]

This small device has also been declared to have sub-millimeter accuracy. The device “sees” and then “mirrors” a hand’s movement to point, move or position objects on the screen. 


Depending on your preference, usage, and work requirement the best pointing device can be chosen from the aforementioned devices. All of these devices have varying degrees of flexibility, ease of use, and responsiveness. What is the most common pointing device on laptops is a frequently asked question, and the answer to that would be Mouse and a Touchpad. Although all pointing devices serve the purpose but these two pointing devices, the Mouse and Touchpad, can be found in any and every kind of laptop and are the most user-friendly options amongst the rest. 

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