It seems to me that there should be a generic name for the close, restore, and minimize buttons on the title bar in window managers. It's been getting hard to search for answers associated with them. I am also a developer, and I'll be working with low-level window manager stuff on Linux, so this would be a good thing to know.

Is there some kind of generic term for this?

Title Bar Buttons is the best term that I've come up with, but this is in no way official. If it's different for each window manager, then that would also be good to know. I couldn't find much searching around...


It would be nice to know the terms used by all platforms: Windows, Mac OS, GNOME, KDE, XFCE, etc.


Apple calls them Title Bar Buttons. Note that they're named Close, Minimize and Zoom. These are also the names assigned in the AppleScript accessibility API:

{"close button", "zoom button", "minimize button"}

It seems Microsoft does not give them a name (anymore?), as they're always listed like the following:

An application window includes elements such as a title bar, a menu bar, the window menu (formerly known as the system menu), the minimize button, the maximize button, the restore button, the close button, a sizing border, a client area, a horizontal scroll bar, and a vertical scroll bar. [...]

The buttons in the upper-right corner affect the size and position of the window. When you click the maximize button, the system enlarges the window to the size of the screen and positions the window, so it covers the entire desktop, minus the taskbar. At the same time, the system replaces the maximize button with the restore button. When you click the restore button, the system restores the window to its previous size and position. When you click the minimize button, the system reduces the window to the size of its taskbar button, positions the window over the taskbar button, and displays the taskbar button in its normal state. To restore the application to its previous size and position, click its taskbar button. When you click the close button, the application exits.

The glossary also does not contain a common term for these buttons.

The GNOME folks call them Window Commands (also here):

Different window commands are appropriate to different types of window. See the description of each particular window type for a list of appropriate window commands. These are the possible window commands:

  • Close
    Closes the window. Always draw this as a button on the window border when relevant to the window type.

  • Maximize
    Causes the window to use all unused screen space.

  • Minimize
    Causes the window to be temporarily hidden. It will continue to appear on the desktop window list.

  • Roll-up/Unroll
    Shows only the title bar of the window, as if it has been "rolled up".

  • I think this is what I was looking for. Thanks! – beatgammit Apr 20 '11 at 22:05
  • I bet part of the reason why there is no blanket name for them is because they are implemented differently. Note that before Windows 95, there was no close button. Also notice that the API to disable Max Min buttons are part of the GWL_Style. But the calls to disable the close button is through the system menu. – surfasb Dec 22 '11 at 21:15

Going all the way back to the Windows 95 evaluators guide, it simply calls these the Window Buttons.

enter image description here

  • +1 Good to know. I'm going to go with Daniel's answer because it's more thorough. – beatgammit Apr 20 '11 at 22:06

"Window state buttons", although that covers more than just those 3.

  • I am wondering if this is more of a programming question? – Moab Apr 20 '11 at 17:42

Microsoft calls them System Caption Buttons in the Windows Dev Center's Universal Windows Platform Documentation, specifically in this section.


Windows Forms refers to the group of them as the ControlBox internally.

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