Microsoft mentions the toast as a visual element in the package manifest for Metro-style apps with the attribute ToastCapable="true".

What does this mean?

  • 3
    @Matt, This may be nit-picking, but that link just describes how to create one, and some vague details (it's a notification, it requires a sound, you can launch an app from it) but not a complete picture of what it really is. There's no clean explanation like Ben provided on that page. Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 22:00
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    Hopefully the next person won't have to search so hard because this question will show up near the top of the results. It's a good question and good answer. Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 22:56
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    @MattRockwell The problem with most results on Google is that when someone asks a question, they get a non-Q&A site. Here I get a clear picture of the definition of a toast, a clear indication of the "correct" answer and the top voted answer, and I don't have to dig through 8 pages of a forum thread or 20 paragraphs on wikipedia to find it.
    – Zelda
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 13:15
  • 2
    Honestly I wish people did stuff like that all the time, I love when I get a Stack Overflow question in search results instead of various tech forums, even if a forum thread answers the question. I've never been as clear on SE's policy on stuff like that though, since you're basically asking a question you know the answer to.
    – Zelda
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 13:38
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    @CharlesBoyung it's a method of interacting with the user, it's a UX term. He found it from a technical manual, but what you call a notification is important in UX design. Just because code calls something a window doesn't mean it's not a window to us too.
    – Zelda
    Commented Sep 29, 2011 at 23:07

6 Answers 6


A Toast is a non modal, unobtrusive window element used to display brief, auto-expiring windows of information to a user. Android OS makes relatively heavy use of them.

Here's an example of a Google Chrome toast notification on Mac OS X:

enter image description here

A list of descriptions of Toast windows on multiple platforms:

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    The name is sort of odd, I did a whole student-research experiment on them and one of the biggest problems was how the heck to refer to them. They were just "the notification" to users.
    – Zelda
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 16:54
  • 1
    Also another point mentioned in the Android guide there is that the user doesn't interact with the notifications - they don't accept user input. Though, I've found that toasts may become a bit obtrusive when there's not much screen real estate, so I'd have them interact purely so that you can close / hide them (e.g. to see what's behind them). Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 11:31
  • How toast differenciates with an osx growl? Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 2:49
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    I like the term "flash message" from Ruby on Rails (RoR) better.
    – Pete Alvin
    Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 20:10

Luke Wroblewski in this blog post describes a use of this real time notification:

.. and added a site-wide system of real time notifications that tell you when someone you follow on Bagcheck creates, likes or comments on something. You can see one of these notifications in action in the animated image below. A little "toast" window appears in the upper right hand corner of your screen when someone cooks up a new update.

enter image description here

Also worth noting from the Android Developer Guide:

but it does not take focus (or pause the current activity), so it cannot accept user input

  • Though variations now exist that CAN take user input. Intuitively [/s], they're called "snackbars"
    – Scott Odle
    Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 1:53

I learned the term from working with Android as well. We use them all the time to provide brief notifications "Item Saved to Favorites" is a common one. I think the biggest difference from a pop-up is that they are "auto-expiring." So anything with an OK/Cancel option would not be considered a toast. As for the origin of the term it could either be a reference to it popping up like toasted bread or like a dinner party toast "Something happened..Cheers!"


As this is an outdated thread I think it is important to add 'recent' information about "Toasts" notifications

From Google Android:

The Snackbar class supersedes Toast. While Toast is currently still supported, Snackbar is now the preferred way to display brief, transient messages to the user.

Alternatives to using toasts If your app is in the foreground, consider using a snackbar instead of using a toast. Snackbars include user-actionable options, which can provide a better app experience.

If your app is in the background, and you want users to take some action, use a notification instead.

From Material UI:

Generally, snackbars are the preferred mechanism for displaying feedback messages to users, as they can be displayed in the context of the UI where the action occurred. Reserve Toast for cases where this cannot be done.



  • 1
    Some reference links would be a nice addition to this answer.
    – jazZRo
    Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 11:04

It means the application can provide alerts or notifications. From Metro Style Apps - VisualElements

Here is more information: Creating and managing tiles, toast, and Windows push notifications and Quickstart: Creating a toast notification

Editor's info: Above links are from 2011 (or beginning of 2012). Microsoft has changed a lot since then.

Microsoft UX Toast Guidance


Here are some screenshots of how "toast" notifications look in Windows 8 "Metro" apps and some screenshots in Windows Phone 7.

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