Window Representation



In order to use an object, you must be aware of it. A window makes itself known using two types of representations: an icon and/or a frame.

The Icon Representing a Window

An icon is a picture used to identify a program or another type of object on the computer. As such, the small pictures that appear on the computer desktop are called icons. Besides the desktop, there are many other places where you will see icons when using the computer.

There are two entities that mainly need to interact with icons:

  • As a person using the computer, icons allow you to familiarize with the various programs that are installed in a computer. Every application or every category of application has its own icon. This is easily possible because every person who creates an application has the possibility of providing a special icon for that particular application.
  • The operating system also has an interior mechanism to identify an icon or a type of icon and associate it with a particular application or a series of applications of the same type.

Microsoft Windows ships with various icons for its own use. For example, every version of Microsoft Windows ships with a special icon for the My Computer program. There is also a special icon for Recycle Bin, etc.

The sizes of icons are standardized and they should not have just any random dimensions. For example, the icons on the desktop are 32x32 pixels. Sometimes, the icons display in a 16x16 dimension.


Practical Learning: Using Icons

  1. Start the computer
  2. To see some icons, on the Taskbar, click Start, position the mouse on (All) Programs
  3. Notice that each program is represented by an icon. Notice also that all menu items that have an arrow use the same type of icon used on Accessories. These are called Program Groups
  4. Position the mouse on Accessories and click Windows Explorer. If you are using Windows 98 and you don't see Windows Explorer, look for it in the list under Accessories (not in the arrow menu from Accessories)
  5. On the left side of the window, click My Computer. Notice that it has a small icon on its left
  6. On the main menu of the window, click View -> Icons or View -> Large Icons
  7. Notice that the icons on the right side are big:
    The My Computer Window
  8. Right-click an empty area on the right side, position the mouse on View and click List or click Small Icons
    A Window displaying the icons as a list
  9. Notice that the icon on the upper-left section of the window, the icons in the left frame, and those in the right frame are the same size
  10. To close the window, on the main menu, click File -> Close

The Frame Representing a Window

An icon only allows you to know that an object is available but an icon is not a program itself. A program is actually represented with a "physical" frame. That's the case for the above windows. In the next sections, we will see how to use the frame of a window.


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