I was just curious if anyone knew why the lightning bolt was selected to represent events in various IDEs? or when it was first used?

From the top of my head the lightning bolt is used in visual studio, delphi and axure prototyping.


3 Answers 3


Well my way of thinking is that events are something that require your attention and you need to react to them. Lightning bolts are usually used in similar situations, think of all the "danger!" signs with lightning bolts on them, they require you to pay attention and react by not touching whatever the sign is on.

Just a convention though, people started using it after the first big IDE that used them got widely accepted (I'm tempted to say that's Microsoft's IDE, but I might be wrong).

  • Hmm, you would think that the lightning bolt would be used for exceptions or errors but yeah, could be. Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 18:41

Because a bolt of lightning is quite an event!

  • 1
    haha lol. like omg lightning, take cover...
    – mahen23
    Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 18:27

I remember using an assembler IDE that used a lightning bolt icon to program the EEPROM on a 68HC12 microcontroller. So the lightning bolt icon usage is not limited to events.

  • 2
    would that be "flash"?
    – user1249
    Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 17:02

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