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BushArts.com - Training ...Mouse Techniques

The Mouse is a marvellous tool for getting around your computer, but you can get a lot further, faster, by learning the different techniques for using the critter.


When do you click with the Left button?, Double click?, Right click? or when do you use that wheel in the middle? if you have one. Sorry, but we are not going to give you a definitive answer, just some general guidlines. Windows, by nature, is eminently customisable, and the way your system is set up, will also affect the manner in which the mouse is used.

Please note that much of the following also applies to both touch screen computers, as well as laptops controlled by finger trackpads.

Each and every type of click action has a particular function, and will give a particular result, but it depends upon what or where your cursor is at, whether anything is "selected" or not, and what program you are using.

Your on screen cursors, (or Pointers), are always a useful guide, as a change in cursor often indicates that an action may be performed at this place, and keeping a watch over a programs "Status" bar may provide helpful hints to available options for this cursor location.

To demonstrate this, try swinging your mouse pointer all around this page on your screen, (No click required), you should see at least a couple of cursor changes, together with an occasional message appearing usually near the bottom left edge of the programs frame, called "Status area". Also, leaving the pointer over a Toolbar Icon may well allow a brief description of that icon to pop up. (called a Tool Tip!). Cursor changes, Status Bar messages and Tool Tips are amongst some of the many "clues" that Windows programs provide as assistance in using that program.

It is generally accepted that a single click with the LEFT or primary mouse button will perform most functions. You already know that it's a single left click to open items in the Start Menu and Taskbar, and a quick double left click to open Icons on the Desktop?, (which sometimes can be changed), well it is also possible to access an item, function, or program, with a single RIGHT click, to get a small menu of choices. In some programs, certain functions are only available with a right click.

A general rule when using Windows is that you can use the RIGHT mouse button anywhere... Desktop, Start Menu, within Programs, on the Taskbar... anywhere. Sometimes you may need to have an item/s selected first, before an appropriate menu will appear.

You can see some of the variations with your Right click options safely on this page, by clicking once with the RIGHT mouse button on...

  • a blank area of this page,
  • over any link at the left,
  • By left click and dragging (selecting) over this line of text, then Right click on the highlighted part.

Just left click on a blank part of the page to De-select or remove the pop up menu.

Drag n' Drop...

The use of a Left or Right click is the main function of a mouse in Windows. However there are further ways that the mouse can be used to enhance your usage. One popular method of manipulating items within Windows is with the technique known as "Drag n' Drop". This is where an item is clicked and moved without releasing the mouse button until the item is in its new position, great for quickly moving or copying items to another program or location. (A simple test for this could be the moving around of your Desktop icons). A RIGHT click Drag n' drop within your file management program, (usually Windows Explorer), will ask you whether you want to move that item, copy it, or simply create a shortcut to the original.

Wheely Mice...

Most current Mice have a centre Wheel usually set to scroll a page much quicker than if you used the side scrollbars, and can usually be customised with the mouses own software. We highly recommend a mouse with a centre wheel or third button. Should you only have a mouse with Left and Right buttons, you are missing out on a simple but brilliant enhancement to Windows computing.


Amongst some of the further techniques for using a mouse in Windows, is the combination of using the mouse in conjunction with the Keyboard. Many of the Keys on your Keyboard can be set to perform an action automatically, or be set to perform a particular function when combined with a mouse click. The keys "Shift and Ctrl" are the most commonly used in conjunction with the mouse, and are particularly relevant when selecting multiple files or items.

Becoming familiar with all the various mouse techniques is not difficult, once a technique is used a few times it will soon be understood and allow you much faster access to all your computers particular functions. Of all the variations you will probably only need to use the main choices, but it's always good to have the knowledge available.

For exersize, try practicing these techniques as you use your favourite programs... (not a definitive list, and in no particular order)

  • Hover, no click,
  • Single Left Button click,
  • Single Right Button click,
  • Double Left Button click Fast,
  • Double Left Button click Slow,
  • Single Centre Button click,
  • Centre wheel scroll,
  • Left click, Drag over and Release (Text Select),
  • Left click, Hold, Drag and Release (Drag n' Drop),
  • Right click, Hold, Drag and Release (Drag n' Drop),
  • De-select click,
  • Press Enter on Keyboard,
  • Shift + click,
  • Ctrl + click,

Pressing Enter on the Keyboard is the same as a click, but you need to check which clickable bit is currently "active". You could also get around without using a mouse at all, some people use the Keyboard only, others use a Graphics Tablet, Trackball or another pointing device. Left Handers may have left and right buttons switched over.

ps... make sure your mouse is clean, if it has a ball underneath, take it out and clean out the fluff from inside, and watch for a build up of gunk on the outside glide strips.


Make up a text file using "Windows Notepad", its contents do not matter, save it onto your Desktop. Open Windows Explorer file manager, go to your Desktop folder, find the newly created text file, and drag it into any other folder. Move it back using the Right mouse button. Is there a difference?

For beginners, playing Windows Solitaire is not only a fun thing, it is also an excellent mouse moving exersize.

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