Topic: What Is The Most Common Pointing Device On LaptopsWhat Is The Most Common Pointing Devices On Laptops [2021]

What Is The Most Common Pointing Devices On Laptops and Desktop Computers in 2021?

In this ever-evolving sphere of technology, things change rapidly by new innovations to make our life easier than before, laptops and desktop computers are no different. In this detailed guide, I’m gonna discuss the most common pointing devices both on laptops and desktop computers.
Let’s dive in…


What is a pointing device & what is it used for?

Before we see What Is The Most Common Pointing Devices On Laptops, let’s have a clear understanding of a pointing device.

A pointing device is an input device that controls the movement of the cursor on the screen. It allows you to input data into a laptop with the help of Computer-Aided Design(CAD) systems and graphical user interfaces (GUI).

You can perform various operations using these devices like selecting, opening, dragging, and dropping different types of files.

You might be thinking what are CAD and GUI? A CAD (Computer-Aided Design) system is a combination of hardware and software to design different things. And, GUI is a computer interface that helps you to interact with a pointing device via graphical elements.

There are plenty of pointing devices available in the market. All of them perform steadily and accurately. However, their working mechanism varies from one device to the next. You don’t need to use all pointing devices at the same time, you can pick any of them according to your comfort.

This article explains the most common pointing devices on laptops in detail. Plus, you will also learn how these devices work and which pointing device you will need when and why.

Let’s get started…


What Is The Top 10 Most Common Pointing Devices on Laptops

Here are some pointing devices that you can use with a laptop to input data:


1. Mouse

Anyone familiar with a computer will be aware of a mouse. The mouse is the most popular, common, and frequently used pointing device.

It displays the on-screen arrow-shaped (customizable) pointer to point different icons on the screen. You can select, change, or move any item on the screen with the help of a mouse.

A standard mouse has two buttons and a scroll wheel. It gives different gestures to perform different operations. For example, you can select a file by clicking on it once. You can open any file or run any program by double-clicking on it.
For moving the file from one place to another, click and keep pressing the key. Drag the file to the desired location and release the mouse.

Similarly, you can open a menu by pointing the cursor at the desired icon and pressing the right button. Then, you can choose an option to perform desired tasks.

Let’s take a look at the different types of mice available in 2021.


Wired Mouse

A wired mouse generally connects to the computer via the USB port and communicates through the wire. Desktop users mostly use Wired mouse as in the case of a desktop computer the user has to sit on the desk and no mobility is needed.

The wired mouse provides low latency as the data passes directly through the physical wire. Furthermore, wired mice tend to offer high accuracy than the other variety of mice available.

That is the reason a wired mouse is an ideal choice for digital artists, gamers, and other users who need high accuracy and fast response time.

Wireless mouse

Wireless Mouse

That Where wired mouse restricts the range to the length of the wire wireless mouse is very convenient in that case. Wireless mouse talks to the laptop or desktop pc through radio signals.

The mouse transmits radio signals and the receiver dongle plugged into the USB port of the computer receives it and they continuously communicate back and forth.

The computer gets the signal through the USB receiver and then decodes it and finally reflects the mouse movement and clicks on to the screen.


Bluetooth Mouse

Bluetooth mouse and wireless mouse are very identical in looks and their functioning, they both don’t require a wired connection to work.

As the name suggests, Bluetooth mouse uses a Bluetooth connection that is internally available in your laptop or pc.
However, a wireless mouse uses the receiver dongle to communicate between the mouse and the computer.


Trackball Mouse

A Trackball mouse looks very similar to a normal mouse that is upside down. These mice offer a ball equipped with sensors that control the cursor on the screen as the user’s thumb moves the ball.

A trackball allows easier scrolling and a trackball needs less effort to move around compared to a wired or wireless mouse.


Vertical Mouse

Vertical Mice are mice that are ergonomically designed and the shape of the mouse is popular as a ‘handshake’ as you don’t have to put your hand flat against the desk.

The vertical mouse was specifically developed for people who suffer from hand and wrist-related pain as these types of mice provide great relief after switching.


Magic Mouse

The Magic Mouse is Apple’s proprietary mouse developed for their computers. It works pretty much the same as your regular pc mouse.

However, the Magic Mouse offers multitouch technology and the use of gestures such as swiping and scrolling on the top surface of the mouse. These features make the daily computing tasks efficient and fun.

If you are a windows laptop or pc user, don’t feel left out! Microsoft has drivers available for the Magic mouse to work on a windows machine.

Foot Mouse

Foot Mouse

Foot mouse is another variety of mice that you can operate and use like a normal mouse with the help of your foot.

With the help of a Foot mouse, one can move the cursor, click the mouse buttons with their feet. People with neck, high-back and upper body disabilities or limitations in movement primarily use it.


2. Track Point

Track point is a pointing device that is installed in the middle of the keyboard usually between the G, H, and B buttons. This small knob comes in different colors like red, blue, and black as well to enhance the user experience.

You can move the cursor on the screen by touching and moving it in any direction. It is somewhat similar to an isometric joystick that sits rightly on the keyboard. All laptops don’t contain this input device.

Many people prefer to use a touchpad instead of a track point.

However, if the touchpad doesn’t work for any reason, you can use it as a backup. Can you see a small round-shaped button mounted on the keyboard?


3. TrackPad or TouchPad

The touchpad is the most popular pointing device that you can see just below the keyboard of your laptop. You can use the rectangular-shaped pad for selecting an item or moving the cursor on the screen. All you need to tap your finger on the touchpad to perform actions.

Most touchpads come with multi-touch functions. For example, you can scroll web pages by taping a double-finger on the pad and move your fingers up or down.

Similarly, to drag an item, you should double-tap but don’t lift your finger after the second tap. Then, start dragging the item to where you want it. After that, lift the finger to drop the item.

Although you might face a little bit of difficulty if you are a new user of a laptop, you will find it comfortable when you get used to it. When you perform simple tasks like web browsing, the touchpad is the best pointing device.

However, it is quite difficult to handle bulk data with a touchpad. Plus, you can’t play games using it. For such purposes, nothing is more suitable than a mouse.

Sometimes, it’s a bit difficult for you to use a mouse. For example, you may find it uncomfortable using the mouse when you have nothing to place your mouse i.e. using your laptop sitting on the bench in the park.

Plus, during traveling, a touchpad is more convenient to use.


4. Touch Screen

Nowadays, most laptops come with a touchscreen that is an incredible pointing device. The touchscreen may be the best replacement for the touchpad.

You can consider a touchscreen laptop as a tablet except it contains a keyboard. This pointing device allows you to perform different operations using your finger or a stylus pen.

A stylus or finger generates signals when you put a little bit of pressure on the screen. And, it sends the signals to the controller to perform a different action.

You can perform different actions like drag-drop, pinch, swipe, and double-top with the help of a touch screen.

However, it has the same limitations as a touchpad. You can’t use it to play games effectively. Similarly, it is quite difficult to handle bulk data using this input device.

Therefore, the mouse is the must-have pointing device among all.


5. Stylus Pen

The stylus pen is another prominent pointing device available for many gadgets like laptops, mobile phones, and graphics tablets, etc.

It’s quite popular among input devices due to its accuracy and ease of use.

Today, almost all popular brands have launched different types of laptops that support the stylus pen. These are excellent pointing devices that help you to write projects, draw images, and point towards different files.


Tablet with stylus


6. Graphics Tablet

A graphics tablet is a pointing device that uses the pressure of a stylus pen to draw images. You can also use it to control the mouse cursor. You can easily switch between the graphics tablet and mouse.

It is suitable for digital artists, painters, or graphics designers who can’t use a touchpad or a mouse to draw images precisely. You can effectively run different software like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator on it.


7. Web Camera

This is another useful pointing device, especially for those with disabilities who can’t use a mouse. It allows you to control the cursor movement using your head.

Web camera is basically a mouse software by Boston College. Millions of people have downloaded this software and utilizing it.

Anyone who can’t hold the mouse with his hand can use it to control the cursor. Indeed it’s a fantastic tool for disabled people.


8. Joystick

It is another pointing device that is quite popular among gamers. A joystick isn’t used with a laptop usually.

However, you can still use it as an alternative to a mouse. You can find different software on the internet to convert it into a mouse. Then, you will be able to perform precise pointing functions using this device.

Both ends of the joystick contain a spherical ball that helps users to rotate it in all four directions. The lower spherical ball moves in a socket while the outer ball remains in the hand of a user.

Different kinds of joysticks are available in the market like finger-operated, hand-operated, and displacement joystick.


9. Light Pen

Light pen was a handheld photosensitive pen that helps you to input data by touching its head on the touchscreen. It was compatible with old cathode ray tube displays. This pointing device was quite popular due to its positional accuracy.

Unfortunately, it had some huge drawbacks that killed its popularity and it went out of business. Now, the stylus pen has completely replaced this device.


10. Eye Tracking Device

The eye-tracking device is not quite a popular pointing device because it’s from the future. You have most possibly seen actors controlling something with their eyes in sci-fi movies in Hollywood.

You can use this device to control the cursor on the laptop. Windows 10 only supports this great feature! You will see its massive use soon.

Related: How Long Do Laptops Last?



What is the default pointing device of a laptop?

Generally, the default pointing device we get on a laptop is the touchpad trackpad. But some higher-end laptops also offer touch screen display and Trackpoint along with touchpads as an option for pointing devices.

However, on the flip side, desktop computers offer a mouse as the default pointing device.


Which pointing device is commonly used for gaming?

The mouse has been the most commonly used pointing device used for gaming so far. But it depends on the game you are playing and your personal preference.


What type of pointing device is ideal for artists?

The majority of professional digital artists use graphic tablets and use the stylus as an ideal pointing device. A stylus is very similar to a pen and allows natural hand movement of the artists.

One can hold the stylus as a pen and move over the surface of the tablet. The movement of the stylus sends signals to the computer.

Some high-end styluses are sensitive to pressure. That helps while drawing as the pen senses the pressure applied and then shapes the strokes. It gives greater control to the artist as a physical pen.


What Is The Right Pointing Device For You?

All pointing devices are useful but they have different usage. All persons choose different pointing devices according to their situations.

For example, according to my situation, I prefer to use a touchpad or touchscreen. You might not be comfortable with these options. The mouse might be the best option for you.

However, if you are a graphic designer, neither touchpad nor mouse is good for you. A graphics tablet can be the most suitable option for you.



All the aforementioned pointing devices are not equally effective. Some may be useful for one task and others may perform some other tasks smoothly.

For example, it’s quite difficult to use a touchpad or touchscreen for gaming. Meanwhile, mouse and joystick are the best options for gaming.

On the flip side, it might be difficult for you to control the cursor using a track point. But you might find touchscreen or stylus pen more convenient.

Therefore, you don’t need all pointing devices at the same time. You can choose any of them according to your need. For example, if you are not a graphic designer, you may never need a graphics tablet. Owning a graphics tablet will be useless for you.

You can’t choose some of the input devices selectively like touchpad and track point. Because almost all laptops contain these devices.

However, you can get the most frequently used pointing device like a mouse for effective and smooth working.

I hope, now you have a clear idea of What Is The Most Common Pointing Devices On Laptops.