Status bar

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An example of a status bar in Emacs Emacs statusline.png
An example of a status bar in Emacs
GTK-based gedit with a popover in the status bar. Gedit 3.11.92.png
GTK-based gedit with a popover in the status bar.

A status bar is a graphical control element which poses an information area typically found at the window's bottom. [1] It can be divided into sections to group information. Its job is primarily to display information about the current state of its window, although some status bars have extra functionality. For example, many web browsers have clickable sections that pop up a display of security or privacy information.


A status bar can also be text-based, primarily in console-based applications, in which case it is usually the last row in an 80x25 text mode configuration, leaving the top 24 rows for application data. Usually the status bar (called a status line in this context) displays the current state of the application, as well as helpful keyboard shortcuts. One example is the 'vi' text editor of UNIX (from the 1970s) or newer Linux systems. [2]

Status lines have been used for more than 30 years [2] to display advisory messages in a predefined area, rather than as pop-up messages in center screen which can block the view of related information.

Sometimes, a video game places the player's vital information or Heads-up display (such as hit points, lives, and score) on a similar strip across the top or bottom of the screen; this is also referred to as a status bar.


Status bars, and status lines before them, have been used for years [2] to display advisory messages in a predefined area, predating dialog boxes which can block the view of related information behind the pop-up messages. The use of status bars (or status lines) involves both advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of status bars:

Disadvantages of status bars:


See also


  1. Carrick, Micah (December 2007). "GTK+ and Glade3 GUI Programming Tutorial - Part 1".
  2. 1 2 3 "How to Use the vi Editor". University of Washington, Simon Fraser University. 1991. (WEdu-Unix-vi).

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