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Drag handle

What is a drag handle?

A drag handle is a UI (user Interface) element in software that provides users with the ability to adjust or move an object within an interface. It is typically represented as a small square or a series of parallel lines which you can click and drag to move or resize the associated item. You often see drag handles in design software for manipulating graphics, or in spreadsheet applications for resizing columns and rows.

Synonyms: Resize handle

glossary bee

When will you use a drag handle?

Drag handles are typically used in situations where:

  1. Item or object rearrangement is necessary: In user interfaces where the position of elements matters and can be customized by the user, such as dashboard widgets, list items, or grid-based layouts.
  2. Resizing of elements is required: In design tools or applications where users need to adjust the size of elements, like images, shapes, or text boxes, for precise control.
  3. Multi-directional movement is needed: In 3D modeling or game design applications where objects need to be moved along different axes (x, y, z).
  4. Enhanced user interaction is desirable: Any interface where offering a more tactile and engaging user experience is beneficial, like in drag-and-drop file uploads, map navigation, or timeline scrubbing.


Benefits of a drag handle 

Drag handles offer several advantages in user interface design, including:

  1. Intuitive Interaction: Drag handles provide a clear visual cue for users, signaling that the element can be manipulated.
  2. Efficient Adjustment: Drag handles allow quick and direct changes to layout, order, or size of elements without needing to navigate through menus or settings.
  3. Flexibility: They offer users flexibility in customizing their view or arranging elements to suit their preference or needs.
  4. Control: They provide granular control over the size, position, or order of elements, especially in graphic design or layout tasks.
  5. Accessibility: Drag handles can also make interfaces more accessible by providing a large, easy-to-target control for users with motor impairments.

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What is the use of a drag handle?

The goal of a drag handle is to provide a clear, intuitive means for users to interact directly with elements on the screen.

If you press shift while you drag a sizing handle on a shape, what happens?

Pressing Shift while dragging a sizing handle usually maintains the shape’s original proportions during resizing, preventing disproportionate stretching or squishing.

When working in MS Excel Online, what is it called when you drag the fill handle down to copy data?

When you drag the fill handle down to copy data in MS Excel Online, this process is called “AutoFill”.

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