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  Wikipedia: WYSIWYG

Wikipedia: WYSIWYG
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

WYSIWYG (pronounced "whizzy-wig") is an acronym for What You See Is What You Get, and is used in computing to refer to the technology that makes sure the image seen on the screen corresponds to what is printed out on paper. Today this is expected for word processors but in other situations, like web (HTML) authoring, this is not always the case.


  • A description of a user interface that allows the user to view the end result while the document or graphic character is being created
  • Allows the user to concentrate entirely in how the content should appear, although having the trade-off of not have the results being easily fine-tuned
  • Also used to describe specifically a web-page creation program in which the user creates the webpage visually, while the program generates the HTML for it

Most programs, even Microsoft Office, are not WYSIWYG since printing and page formatting are still hidden from view.

Historical Notes

  • The phrase originated at Xerox PARC during the late 1970s when the first WYSIWYG editor, Bravo was created on the Alto. The Alto monitor (72 dpi) was designed so that one full page of text could be seen and then printed on the first laser printers. When the text was laid out on the screen 72 dpi font metric files were used, but when printed 300 dpi files were used -- thus you would occasionally find characters and words slightly off, a problem that continues to this day. (72 dpi, came from the standard of 72 "points" per inch used in the commercial printing industry.)
  • The researchers at PARC were simply reappropriating a popular catchphrase of the time originated by "Geraldine", a character on The Flip Wilson Show, (1970-1974). In addition to "What you see is what you get!", this character also popularized "The Devil made me do it!"
  • The Apple Macintosh system was originally designed so that the screen resolution and the resolution of the dot-matrix printers sold by Apple were easily scaled: 72 dpi; for the screen and 144 for the printers. Thus, the on-screen output of programs such as MacWrite and MacPaint were easily translated to the printer output and allowed WYSIWYG. With the introduction of laser printers, with resolutions not even multiples of the screen resolution, true WYSIWYG vanished.

Related Acronyms

In order of increasing obscurity:

  • WYSIWYG - What You See Is What You Get (basic)
  • WYSIAYG - What You See Is All You Get (used by computer programmers who point out that a style of "heading" that refers to a specification of "Helvetica 15 bold" provides more useful information than a style of "Helvetica 15 bold" every time a heading is used)
  • WYSIAWYG - What You See Is Almost What You Get (most text editing programs)
  • WYSIWYM - What You See Is What You Mean (You see what best conveys the message)
  • WYSIMOLWYG - What You See Is More Or Less What You Get (another way of stating WYSIAWYG)
  • WYTYSIWYTYG - What You Think You See Is What You Think You Get (Pronounced Whit-iss-ee-whit-ig) (When a program claims to be WYSIWYG but isn't)
  • WYCIWYG - What You Create Is What You Get
  • WYCIWYG - What You Click Is What You Get
  • WYGIWYG - What You Get Is What You Get (an alternative approach to document formatting using markup languages—such as HTML—to define content and trusting the layout software to make it pretty enough)

External Links

What You See Is What You Get (still usually abbreviated WYSIWYG) is the name of an album by Chumbawamba. See: WYSIWYG (album)\n zh-cn:所见即所得 zh-tw:所見即所得


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona