why are search icons facing northwest instead of northeast?

A northwest facing search icon like facebook's feels awkward.

And so is google chrome's search icon.. so.. why?

  • Adobe UIs have a north-east facing magnifying glass and It doesn't feel awkward to me.
    – Cai
    Nov 16, 2017 at 8:58

1 Answer 1


The magnifying glass icon is shown leaning north west because it was originally a mouse cursor. Other mouse pointers such as the arrow and the pointing hand are shown as if they are being used from the right hand.

Action and progress typically move from left to right on screens, and symmetry/balance are important components so the lean can look odd, but the pointer coming from the right feels more natural to the majority of mouse users.

Also you can fit more long graphics in a rectangle if you go corner to corner.

  • Anything to back that up? I, having used computers since before they had cursors, don't even remember a magnifying glass cursor (I do have the memory of brick though).
    – Cai
    Nov 16, 2017 at 8:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.