Graphical user interface (GUI) is a type of user interface that allows the user to communicate with an electronic device through visual components. GUI contains elements like windows, icons, menus, and links that the user can select with a pointing device (e.g., a mouse or their finger). For example, to open a folder, the user has to move their mouse indicator on the folder’s icon and double-click on it.
Before the popularisation of GUI in the 1980s, computers mainly operated with a command-line interface. This means that the user had to type in commands to make the computer do something. This made learning how to use a computer difficult for the general public. Thanks to GUI, people without any knowledge of coding can also use electronic devices. That is the main benefit of the graphical user interface—people of all levels of knowledge can use it. It also enables the easy exchange of information between software with using copy and paste or dragging and dropping function.
Microsoft Windows, macOS, Apple iOS, Android and most other popular operating systems all have a graphical user interface. Control panels and infotainment systems in vehicles also have GUIs.