What Is a Toggle?

A toggle is a switch that has two positions: on and off. Toggle is a popular interface element and can be found in many software applications as well as hardware devices. For example, a toggle can be used to control the function of an airplane’s airbag or to turn on or off your laptop’s Caps Lock key.

Toggle switches can also be used to switch between features in a piece of software or in hardware, such as the way you can toggle between streaming and map views in the Google Earth app. Toggle can also describe a behavior, such as toggling between different screens while video chatting with two friends at the same time.

Although toggles are common, they can be confusing for users who are unfamiliar with them. The lack of text makes it difficult for them to know what the toggle’s current state is, and choosing the right visual cues is not as easy as it might seem.

When designing toggles, designers should consider the following:

* Toggle colors must be high-contrast. Low-contrast colors can cause confusion and reduce user performance. * Toggle switches should be designed to take up less screen space than radio buttons. * Toggle labels should be clear and concise. Long, wordy labels can be confusing and can increase error rates. * Toggle switches should use a default state of either ON or OFF.

In the past, toggles were frequently used in places where immediate results were needed. However, today it is much safer to replace toggles with a simple checkbox in these cases. For example, if users need to confirm their selection, it would be better for them to click a “Save” or “Confirm” button than to use a toggle.

Toggle also describes a particular kind of fastener, such as one that uses a rod to bind an eye or loop in a rope, chain, etc. Toggle is a common name for this type of fastener because of its ability to toggle in either direction, depending on the amount of pressure exerted on it.

The company’s Toggle OS software turns construction drawings into automated robotic manufacturing programs, the release says. The system can be used with existing rebar fabrication equipment to increase safety, productivity and precision in rebar assembly.

These examples are selected automatically from various online sources and may not be representative of the views of Merriam-Webster or its editors. The word toggle is from 1889, and has been in use since then.

This article was originally published on November 12, 2018, and has been updated for clarity.