Difference between GUI and CUI

Difference between GUI and CUI

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Rashmi
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Feb 9, 2024 16:26 IST

Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) are computer programs that mediate between the user and a computer system. They provide a visual environment with images, animations, and graphic objects representing system information and possible actions to carry out. In contrast, a Command Line User Interface (CUI) is a text-based user interface. It is used to run programs, manage computer files, and interact with the computer. Command line user interfaces are also called command line interfaces (CLI), console user interfaces, and character user interfaces. In this article, we will learn the difference between GUI and CUI.

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There are several ways to interact with the computer and make it perform the required task. Different new techniques have been developed according to the user’s need to ensure that the communication between the machine and the human is as real as possible. There are two important user interfaces in a computer, the graphical user interface (GUI) and the command line user interface (CUI). The article covers the difference between GUI and CUI.

Content

Difference between GUI and CUI 

The main difference between GUI and CUI is that in GUI, the user interacts with a computer using graphics like images and icons, while in CUI, the user interacts with a computer using commands like text.

  GUI CUI
User interaction A user interacts with applications by using graphics. The user interacts with applications by making use of commands.
Multitasking  more than one task can run simultaneously only one task can run at a time
System resources requirement Requires extensive system resources because each element needs to be loaded, such as icons, fonts, etc. Requires fewer computer resources.
Peripherals used Keyboard and mouse Only keyboard 
Ease of Operation Easy to use Difficult, requires expertise
Customization Highly customizable Non-customizable 
Navigation Easy  Difficult
Precision  Low  High 
Example  Windows  MS-DOS

What is a Graphical User Interface (GUI)? 

In general, graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are computer programs that mediate between the user and a computer system. They provide a visual environment with images, animations, and graphic objects representing system information and possible actions to carry out. Its main use is as an Operating System, as is the case with Microsoft Windows, iOS, Mac OS, Linux, Android, etc.

The objective of this graphical interface is to represent the backend code of a system in the clearest way possible for the user to simplify daily tasks. For this, icons and images are very important since only these allow a universal and independent text application. For example, almost everyone knows what a Wi-Fi icon looks like, while the word varies greatly in different languages.

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Examples of graphical user interfaces include Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows, GNOME, KDE, and any Microsoft program, including Word, Excel, and Outlook.

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What is a Command Line User Interface (CUI)?

It is the oldest type of interface still in use today. 

A command line user interface (CUI) is a text-based user interface. It is ) used to run programs, manage computer files, and interact with the computer. Command line user interfaces are also called command line interfaces (CLI), console user interfaces, and character user interfaces. CLU accepts keyboard input as input commands; commands invoked at the command prompt are then executed by the computer.

Since it is a text interface, only ASCII characters are used for input and output.

One of the biggest areas for improvement of command line interfaces is that the user needs to know and memorize a wide variety of commands to interact with the device in an agile way, making them too complex. However, this method continues to be considered relevant in software development and system administration to perform certain tasks, such as version control through the Git system.

All major desktop operating systems have their command line application: Terminal on MacOS and the Linux family, Command Prompt on Windows, and Chrome Shell (CROSH) on Chrome OS.

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Main Difference between GUI and CUI

  • CLI allows users to type a manual command to perform the desired task, while in GUI, users provide visuals to interact with the operating system, like buttons, icons, images, etc.
  • It is easy to perform a task in the GUI and is suitable for more novice users. On the other hand, CLI needs command and syntax expertise in most cases.
  • GUI systems require a mouse and keyboard, while CLI only requires a keyboard.
  • Higher precision can be achieved in CLI compared to GUI.
  • GUI has the advantage over flexibility, whereas CLI systems are inflexible.
  • The GUI consumes more space on the system, while the CLI requires fewer resources and space.
  • Cannot change CLI appearance. In contrast, the GUI appearance is adjustable.
  • CLI is faster than GUI.

In Summary

CLI and GUI have advantages and disadvantages and are appropriate according to user requirements and intended use. The graphical user interface (GUI) provides greater multitasking and efficiency, but the command line interface (CLI) offers more control, precision, and repeatability.

About the Author
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Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content

Rashmi is a postgraduate in Biotechnology with a flair for research-oriented work and has an experience of over 13 years in content creation and social media handling. She has a diversified writing portfolio and aim... Read Full Bio