When geeks talk about a program or dialog box "having focus" what do they mean?

Focus is the term for the active window - the window that is paying attention to you, the user. For example, when you save a Word document using File/Save As, the main Word window loses focus and the dialog box that appears gains focus. The main Word window stops paying attention to your typing and keystrokes and the Save dialog box starts. Usually the "focused" window is indicated by a different color title bar and other visual cues.

October 2004

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