Gmail (for instance) shows this dotted widget next to the email items to hint that you can drag'n'drop them.

enter image description here

Is there a generally recognized name for this?

Grab bar? Handle? (this sounds too generic)

  • 2
    I instantly though t "Handle" but could be wrong... – Digital Lightcraft Nov 7 '14 at 10:50
  • 1
    Personally, I'd call it drag-and-drop indicator or something similar, maybe prefixed with dotted. I assume it's to describe it in some kind of documentation, so in my opinion, the safest bet is to be as thorough and unambiguous as possible. – Dom Nov 7 '14 at 12:35
  • @MrE.Upvoter That might get some upvotes as an answer. Mine certainly. – Vincent Nov 7 '14 at 12:43
  • @MrE.Upvoter Actually, I was trying to squeeze some usage guidelines for this sort of UX out of google, and couldn't find a decent wording for the query. – Cristian Diaconescu Nov 7 '14 at 12:46
  • 2
    There is an existing question about this on UX: What do you call embedded dotts/lines which indicate sliding in GUI? – JohnB Nov 7 '14 at 19:48

According to the Microsoft Manual of Style (4th edition), the correct term is "move handle."

In the user interface of various programs, a handle is an element used to move or size an object. Use move handle or sizing handle. Do not use size handle, grab handle, little box, or similar phrases.

While "move handle" probably isn't self-evident to the average user by itself, the context should be sufficient, e.g. "Click the move handle next to the message, and then drag it to the Trash icon."

  • Microsoft? Standards? – Octopus Nov 7 '14 at 21:05
  • @Octopus Yeah, I know. Compared to to some of the other style manuals out there for technical writing, the current version of the MS manual is actually very good though. It's gone through a few iterations, and the current version is pretty well thought out. – Scribblemacher Jun 13 '15 at 9:52

The grocery shopping app "Out of Milk" calls it a "grippy" when explaining its use to its users. I found this thread after coming across the term there and searching for it on Google.

That the term seems to have been independently invented both here and there makes it a good candidate for general adoption.

  • 1
    But the fact you were searching for it kind of eludes to how unintuitive "grippy" may be. :) – Scott Dec 18 '14 at 5:38

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.