A pointing device is an input interface (specifically a human interface device) that allows a user to input spatial (ie, continuous and multi-dimensional) data to a computer. CAD systems and graphical user interfaces (GUI) allow the user to control and provide data to the computer using physical gestures — point, click, and drag — for example, by moving a hand-held mouse across the surface of the physical desktop and activating switches on the mouse. Movements of the pointing device are echoed on the screen by movements of the pointer (or cursor) and other visual changes.
While the most common pointing device by far is the mouse, many more devices have been developed. However, "mouse" is commonly used as a metaphor for devices that move the cursor.
A touchpad (also trackpad) is a pointing device consisting of specialized surface that can translate the motion and position of a user's fingers to a relative position on screen. They are a common feature of laptop computers and also used as a substitute for a computer mouse where desk space is scarce. Touchpads vary in size but are rarely made larger than 40 square centimeters (about 6 square inches). They can also be found on personal digital assistants (PDAs) and some portable media players, such as the Zune using the Zune Pad.