Top 10 computer mouse tips everyone should know

Updated: 12/31/2020 by Computer Hope
Computer Mouse

Most computer users don't take full advantage of the computer mouse. Below are computer mouse tips and secrets that help you get the full potential of your computer mouse and increase your overall productivity while on the computer.

Shift key and mouse click

Many text editors and programs allow you to highlight all or portions of text using the Shift and the mouse. For example, click at the beginning of the text in the below text box. Hold down Shift, scroll to the bottom, and click at the end of the text to highlight the text.



Tip

Holding down the Alt while dragging and highlighting text in a text editor lets you selectively highlight text. Highlighting text this way is useful if the paragraph or other text is in a column. Note: This tip does not work in the above box and has to be done in a text editor or word processor.

Take full advantage of the scroll wheel

Today, everyone is familiar with a mouse wheels ability to scroll up and down on a page. However, this wheel can also do so much more, below are a few examples.

  • The mouse wheel is not only a wheel. It can also be used as a button. Pressing down on the wheel will acts like a third mouse button. The wheel button can open a web page in a tab by pushing down the wheel on any link.
  • Zoom in and out on a web page, word document, excel spreadsheet, etc. by holding down the Ctrl and scrolling up to zoom in and down to zoom out.
  • Hold down Shift and scroll down in most Internet browsers to go back to the previous web page.
  • Some mouse wheels can be pushed left or right to also move back and forward between web pages.

Select with double and triple click

Any word can be selected by double-clicking the word. If you want to highlight the whole paragraph or sentence, click the mouse button three times on any word. Try it now on this paragraph by clicking three times fast on any word in the paragraph.

Tip

If you double-click and then drag your mouse, it highlights one word at a time.

Use the right-click

Right-click menu

Take full advantage of the right-click any time you highlight text or want to view the properties of an object. For example, if you highlight a file or text, you can right-click that highlighted item, copy it, and then right-click anywhere else to paste it.

Tip

Highlight or select any file or text and then click-and-drag while holding the right mouse button when you let go, an option to move or copy that file is shown. This saves you the extra step of having to right-click where you want to paste the item.

Tip

While in a browser, pressing and holding Ctrl while clicking any link opens a menu with options for that link.

Ctrl key and mouse click or highlight

While holding down the Ctrl, you can left-click to select multiple objects or highlight multiple sections of text. For example, in the selection box below, if you wanted to highlight more than one of the items listed, hold down Ctrl and select each item you want highlighted.



Tip

Mozilla Firefox users can also hold down the Ctrl and individually click each cell in a table they want to copy. You can also hold down the Ctrl key and drag the mouse down a row to select that row without selecting any other table text.

Use the mouse side buttons

Many new computer mice also have buttons on the side of the mouse. These buttons can be programmed to do anything. However, by default, the left-thumb button can go back on a web page. Using the thumb button makes browsing the Internet more efficient, because you do not need to move the mouse pointer to the browser's back arrow button to go back a page.

Use the Windows Snap To feature

Take full advantage of the Windows mouse Snap To feature, which automatically moves your mouse to buttons that appear in a dialog box. For example, if you delete a file or close a window, you may get a prompt asking you if you are sure you want to perform the task. With the Snap To feature enabled, the mouse pointer automatically moves to the Ok button, so you only need to click the left mouse button if you agree. This saves you the time of having to move the mouse pointer to the Ok button and then click Ok.

To enable this feature, open the Mouse properties under the Windows Control Panel and check the Snap To check box under the Pointer Options tab.

Tip

While changing this feature, we also suggest looking at other available options in the Mouse properties. For example, increasing the Motion speed can also help increase your productivity while using the mouse.

Manage the open window with the mouse

Double-click the top title bar of any window to maximize a window or make the window smaller if it's maximized. You can also double-click the icon for the window in the top-left corner of the window to close that window.

Move the mouse with your keyboard

Instead of using the mouse that came with your computer, you can also enable Windows to use the number pad as a mouse.

Customize your mouse

Finally, if you have a mouse with more than two buttons, installing the included mouse software lets you customize the mouse even more. For example, if you don't use the side button to move back in a browser, change it to something you'd use, such as switching between open windows.