What is the difference between GUI and CLI?

Are you using a graphic user interface? What about CLI? What is the difference between the two?

Most likely you are interested in the interface that will be used on your operating system. Or maybe you want to learn about the differences between a GUI and a CLI.

Before getting into the main topic, you need to understand what an interface is. An interface is a device or software that allows you to connect to or interact with a computer and make changes to it. Every operating system (Windows, macOS, Linux) uses an interface, be it a GUI or a CLI. Without this interface, you will not be able to do anything on the computer. So, should you use a GUI or a CLI?

What is a graphic user interface?

What is GUI

Graphical User Interface means the graphical user interface. This is the most common type of interface and allows the user to communicate with the computer through visual graphics such as icons, buttons, and drag-and-drop features. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) was invented in the late 1970s and has evolved into a standard user interface, with more and more companies creating it. You guys are probably using the GUI too.

A graphical user interface uses tools that a user manipulates to perform functions on a computer. Gadgets are elements or components of a graphical user interface that allow you to connect to your computer. Gadgets can be basic like ribbons, sliders, and buttons, or they can be more technical like windows, folders, and panels.

What is CLI?

What is CLI

CLI stands for Command Line Interface, which is a text-based user interface. This means that you can only interact with the computer through text, code, and scripts. These scripts are also called commands. When you type a command, the computer also responds with a text. These commands allow you to view and open files, create and delete folders, install applications, and do whatever you can do with the GUI.

The command line interface was created in the early 1960s when computers could only be accessed using the command line interface. Even with the advent of GUIs a decade later, many people still use the command line interface. In Windows, there are two command line interface options, PowerShell and Command Prompt. While macOS and Linux are called Terminal.

Read also: 5 Reasons to Choose Linux CLI Over GUI

Difference between GUI and CLI

The main difference between a graphical user interface (GUI) and a command line interface (CLI) is visualization. Visualization is the use of images, animations, or graphs to aid the interaction between systems or to represent information. With the CLI, you can only interact with the computer via text commands. But with a GUI, almost all the visual elements can be clicked and interacted with ease.

What are the advantages of a graphic user interface?

Are you considering switching from CLI to GUI? Perhaps you are wondering if a GUI is better than a CLI? Read on to learn about the advantages of a GUI over a command line interface.

1. Friendliness and ease of use

The graphic user interface is easy to operate and navigate. With a little knowledge, anyone can navigate the GUI fairly well. But it is not so with CLI; One must be experienced with CLI commands to use them, while spelling or grammatical errors can render the command useless.

2. Easy to learn

The GUI is easy to learn as compared to the command line interface. This is because it uses visualizations and graphics. It is not uncommon for one to learn more easily using visual aids. Learning the CLI is more difficult because the interface is not user friendly, and you have to learn a lot of commands to be able to navigate the interface properly.

3. Modification

You can customize the GUI according to your taste. The GUI allows its users to change the background, theme, font, resolution, icon, icon size, color, etc. This feature allows people with visual impairments such as color blindness to customize their computer for ease of use. On the other hand, CLI is very rigid. Little or no changes can be made to the command line or the terminal.

What are the advantages of CLI?

Although the CLI is older than the GUI, and a bit more difficult to learn, it has its advantages. Read on to find out why you should use a command line interface instead of a GUI.

1. Speed

Is CLI faster than GUI? Yes that’s right. Functions that require multiple clicks and windows in a graphical user interface, can be written and executed in a few seconds by the command line interface. Checking for updates or searching large directories can be done much faster with a CLI than with a GUI. The GUI also requires more resources to run, which makes it slower than the CLI.

2. Automation

The command line interface is ideal when performing repetitive tasks on a large scale. Imagine renaming hundreds of files in a GUI, it can take a long time. In CLI, large and boring tasks can be automated using in-machine scripts or commands.

3. Save memory and resources

Unlike the graphical user interface, the command line interface uses random access memory (RAM) and CPU processing time. This means that the computer will be at full speed and will run efficiently. The CLI does not require a lot of resources to run. To use the GUI, you need a good screen, keyboard and mouse. CLI requires only a functional keyboard and display.

4. Simplicity

If you prefer something simple, you should consider using the command line interface. Its basic interface and design will be more attractive to you and better than GUI.


This is the difference between GUI and CLI. There is no definitive answer as to which one is better, as both the GUI and the CLI have their pros and cons. The choice of interface to use depends on the tasks you need to run on the computer. While GUIs are easy to learn and popular, learning the basics of CLI can also be beneficial.

Lots of articles Difference between GUI and CLI. Look forward to other interesting articles and don’t forget to share this article with your friends. Thank you…

Leave a Comment