Action is a term used in computing to refer to a specific kind of user interface element that can be interacted with and/or activated by a user. Actions are generally used to perform specific tasks or operations, often within an application or operating system. Common types of actions in computing include buttons, menus, and shortcuts that can be clicked, selected, or otherwise triggered by a user to directly change the state of the application or system.

Action elements typically provide feedback to the user when selected, usually in the form of a visual change in appearance based on the selection and the task or operation that the action is performing. Actions can also be tied to a specific event in the application or operating system which is then executed when the action is activated.

Actions are typically categorized into three types: command actions, edit actions, and function actions. A command action is used to execute a command directly within an application or operating system, usually from a menu of available commands or a shortcut. An edit action is used to make changes to the document or file contents that the user is currently working on. And a function action is used to perform a specific function within the application, usually a specialized task or operation that is not part of the standard application commands.

In addition to a user’s direct interaction with an action element, action commands can often be executed in scripting languages, such as those used to automate tasks in applications and operating systems. Highly specialized action elements, such as dialog boxes and property sheets, are frequently used in programming environments when working with graphical user interfaces.

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