- "How does it work?"
"On the same principle as my whip…when you activate that stud on the hilt, it releases a beam of coherent energy which forms the sword blade."
- ―Den Siva and Lumiya
The activation stud, button, slide, switch, lever, or plate, was a component on the hilt of a lightsaber or lightwhip that activated the weapon's energy blade. It was generally a prominent button, although Asajj Ventress concealed the activation switches on her lightsabers.
When a lightsaber was activated, it stayed active until the wielder pressed the activation button again to deactivate it. However, if the lightsaber had a pressure grip, it automatically deactivated when the wielder was no longer holding the lightsaber, such as when the wielder was disarmed. A lightsaber could also have a locking activator, which was a specialized activation stud that could lock the lightsaber's blade into the activated position, even when the wielder was not holding the lightsaber. This allowed the wielder to use the lightsaber as a thrown weapon. Locking the blade prevented it from being accidentally deactivated when the weapon impacted the target.
A trapped grip was another modification that was used to prevent unauthorized users from activating the lightsaber. If someone attempted to activate it without disarming the trap, they would be injured by an energy discharge.
Skillful activation and deactivation of a lightsaber was a key feature in Tràkata, a form of lightsaber combat that involved repeatedly activating and deactivating the lightsaber. For example, a technique called "Pass the blade" was used to deactivate the lightsaber then reactivate it to pass through an opponent's block.
Lightsabers had other buttons and knobs that adjusted the blade's length and its power or intensity. In a dual-phase lightsaber, a second lightsaber blade could be activated that was twice the length of a normal blade.
- The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Coruscant Nights II: Street of Shadows
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- Splinter of the Mind's Eye
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars 96: Duel With a Dark Lady
- Heir to the Empire
- I, Jedi
- Fate of the Jedi: Vortex
- Legacy 49: Extremes, Part 2
- A Guide to the Star Wars Universe
- Star Wars Technical Journal of the Planet Tatooine (As "activation lever" and "activation plate")
- Star Wars Technical Journal (As "activation lever" and "activation plate")
- The Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
- The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
- Jedi Academy Training Manual