I came across this annoying moment while writing a how-to article and realized I didn't know the name of those white squares that surround views.

Here some images for clarification.

Windows PowerPoint:

image link

Mac Xcode:

image link


5 Answers 5


Terms for these may vary from platform to platform, but on the Mac I believe they're called the "handles" on the "selection box"

  • 4
    What spiff said. Or "selection handles". Feb 9, 2017 at 16:45
  • 11
    Pretty much everywhere I've seen them named, they're called handles (sometimes <thing> handles like "selection handles" but always some kind of handles).
    – Adrian
    Feb 9, 2017 at 17:12
  • 3
    They were originally called "grabber handles" on the Mac. I'm not sure if this terminology has changed or not. Those of us who learned the tech many years ago still refer to them as "grabber handles", but "selection handles" or "resize handles" sounds much more dignified. I don't like just "handles", because the word is too overloaded and thus ambiguous. Don't use it unless its very clear from context what you're referring to. Feb 10, 2017 at 2:00
  • 7
    "...but always some kind of handles." Calling them love handles from now on. Feb 12, 2017 at 4:06

I would refine Spiff’s answer a bit and say they are the resize handles, since one typically uses them to resize the object of interest.

Per duplode's comment, this appears to be the nomenclature used by Microsoft – see, e.g., "Use resize and rotation handles" on MSDN.


I typically call them "control points".

Here are some web references that use similar terminology.

Apple's Motion 4 Manual

you can also use the onscreen control points to resize the rectangle

An article on resizing graphics in CS5

In the default scaling mode, the selection scales graphic elements from the control point opposite the one you’re dragging.

From Microsoft Office 2003 in 10 Simple Steps or Less By Michael Desmond

When you hover your mouse cursor over a cell or table edge, the boundary turns blue, indicating a layout area. Click this boundary and control points appear.... You can click and drag these points to resize....

I agree with the comment by Steve Rindsberg that mentioned that the preferred terminology might vary by application and will note that Microsoft's documentation on Powerpoint appears to use control point for Bezier curves and resize handle (as suggested by hBy2Py) for resizing.

  • This may be true in some situations, but in graphics applications these are very definitely handles as control points refers to a way of constructing Bezier curves
    – Chris H
    Feb 13, 2017 at 14:23

To me theses are anchors of the bounding box.

  • 1
    This is correct. It is definitely called the bounding box, especially in Adobe software (Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop).
    – user483996
    Feb 10, 2017 at 15:50
  • 4
    @FighterJet Disagree. The individual little white boxes at the corners and the centers of the edges are not themselves the bounding box, though they are components of the bounding box. The body of the question is vague; I've suggested an edit.
    – hBy2Py
    Feb 10, 2017 at 16:13
  • 1
    Exactly, the bounding box is the dashed line that is linking the smalls boxes that are in the corner and in the middle of theses lines.
    – iXô
    Feb 10, 2017 at 16:14
  • 4
    "Anchors" is not quite right either—I would give that label to points on a path.
    – user483996
    Feb 11, 2017 at 18:40
  • 1
    Powerpoint definitely has "anchors" for 2-D shapes, to which the special 'connector' line shapes can attach and to which the connectors stay attached when the 2-D shape is repositioned/resized. They're marked by little red boxes when one is moving the endpoint of a connector -- definitely not the same thing as described by OP.
    – hBy2Py
    Feb 13, 2017 at 4:37

Anchor Points. Position the mouse pointer over an anchor, hold down on left mouse button to raise the anchor, drag the raised anchor to a new location, and release the mouse button to drop the anchor at the new point.

  • I think this would have been better as a comment on @iXô's answer. Feb 13, 2017 at 19:22

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