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The DPS number listed in the Inventory page(used to be in the character page...) is the Damage Per Second of your BASIC ATTACK, with your equipped weapon in your main hand.
This number shown does not show damage of your Skill bound to your left mouse button, any bonuses from Demon Hunter or Wizard +Damage to Basic Attack skills, etc.
This number can be used to extrapolate what your actual damage per second would be, and ballpark guess what your damage per hit might be, but it's not actually that meaningful.
Area of Effect/other status effects are not taken into account either.
PS. See, Blizzard? A random person confused by your strange choice to list basic weapon DPS. :D
If I understand it right, the number listed in your inventory is your basic attack DPS. However, your offensive abilities are based on a certain percentage of your basic attack DPS. For example, a one-hit ranged attack might do 125% of your DPS, while a straight-line AOE might do 60% of your DPS to each monster it hits.
Rule of thumb is that single-target attacks do more DPS.
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