On/off states of GTK's toggle switch widget.
On/off states of GTK's toggle switch widget.

A toggle switch is a graphical control element that allows the user to make a choice between two mutually exclusive states (such as on/off). Originally toggle switches were used primary in touchscreen-based user interfaces, but they have later become commonplace in desktop and web applications.

Toggle switches have a similar function as checkboxes, but unlike checkboxes, interacting with a toggle switch usually has an immediate effect on the application or system.[1]


Early research on touchscreen interfaces has identified usability issues with toggle switches.[2] A common problem is ambiguous state indication: for example does the label "on" indicate the current state of the switch or the resulting state after interacting with it. Communicating affordance can also be difficult: for example should the user tap or slide the switch to change its state.


  1. ^ "Toggle switches". 2017-05-19. Retrieved 2020-12-23.
  2. ^ Plaisant, Catherine; Wallace, Daniel (November 1990). Touchscreen toggle switches: push or slide? Design issues and usability study (PDF) (Report). Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, University of Maryland. Retrieved 2020-12-24.