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TrackPoint (pointing stick)

What is a TrackPoint (pointing stick)?

A TrackPoint, also called a pointing stick, is a cursor control device found in Lenovo ThinkPad notebook computers. It is located in the middle of the keyboard, between the G, H and B keys. The TrackPoint is operated by pushing it in the direction a user wants the cursor to move.

History of the TrackPoint

The TrackPoint was invented by IBM in 1992. It was originally designed for use in the ThinkPad line of laptops. The TrackPoint quickly became popular with ThinkPad users, who praised it for its accuracy and precision.

How does a TrackPoint work?

TrackPoints work by sensing the movement of a user's fingertip. When a user moves their fingertip on the TrackPoint, it moves the cursor on the screen in the same direction. The amount of movement of the cursor is proportional to the amount of pressure you apply to the TrackPoint.

Benefits of using a TrackPoint

There are a couple of benefits to using a TrackPoint, including the following:

  • Accuracy. TrackPoints are very accurate, making them ideal for tasks that require precision, such as graphic design or video editing.
  • Ergonomics. TrackPoints are designed to be used with a user's hands on the keyboard, which can help to reduce strain on their wrists and neck.
IBM ThinkPad with a TrackPoint.
TrackPoints originated and are still commonly found in ThinkPad laptop computers.

Disadvantages of using a TrackPoint

There are a few disadvantages to using a TrackPoint, including the following:

  • Learning curve. It can take some time to get used to using a TrackPoint.
  • Speed. TrackPoints can be slower than other pointing devices, such as mice, for tasks that require quick cursor movement.
  • Touchpad compatibility. Some TrackPoint-enabled laptops do not have a touchpad, which can make it difficult to use the laptop on your lap.

TrackPoints are precise and ergonomic pointing devices. They are especially well-suited for users who spend a lot of time typing, as they can help to reduce strain on your wrists and neck.

Learn about fixing issues with a computer mouse on a remote desktop and see what to do if a Windows keyboard or mouse is not working.

This was last updated in June 2023

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