Computer Basics

Mouse Conventions

There are several types of pointing devices available in today's market, however, the mouse is still the most common. 

It should be understood that using a mouse properly takes time.  Understanding the movements, mouse shapes and knowing when to click are crucial to successful mousing.  Your hand should be relaxed.  Mouse buttons are very sensitive, although, you can change how it reacts to you

If you are nervous or tense, those emotions will effect your performance.  Remember, relax, it's not going to bite you.
Play the windows based games for practice. 
Do figure 8's with the mouse on screen. 
Practice right mouse button clicking. 

The more concentrated effort you make at the start of computing, the faster you will start enjoying this technology.

Whether you are using a mouse or track ball, the concepts remain the same.   It should be noted that there are a variety of different options available for many kinds of specialized mice. 

Mouse Actions

The following is based on standard mouse conventions.
  • Actions are executed when the left or right mouse buttons are released, not when depressed.
  • Single clicks are used to select, or choose, objects (buttons, boxes, etc.).
  • Double clicks are generally used to open programs located on your desktop and files located in "Open" Dialog Boxes. 
  • A double click must be performed while the mouse is completely stationary on your mouse pad.  If you jerk you hand (even minimally) the action will not take place.
  • When pointing at objects (buttons, words, etc.), position the tip of the mouse pointer in the center of the desired object and single click the left mouse button.
  • Hold the mouse in the palm of your right hand. Your left index finger should be resting on the left mouse button. (If you are left handed, you can reverse the button actions. 
  • Every different mouse shape has it's hot spot (the part of the shape that activates a command). 

  • For example, when your mouse is in the arrow shape, it is the tip of the arrow that is the hot spot.  That is the part of the shape that must be touching your desired object during the clicking operation.

Mouse shapes

The mouse on screen indicator will change shape depending on which program you are in and what you are pointing at.  Some of the most common shapes are described in table below. 
Name Shape Explanation
Left pointing arrow 

Most common. A Selecting tool, designed to point to objects and tap the left mouse button. 
When in this shape, the only part of the indicator that counts, is the very tip of the arrow, it's hot spot.
Hour Glass

The system or program is busy. 
Do not tap the keys of your keyboard or start clicking with your mouse while this shape is on screen.  The computer will retain any keyboard or mouse commands performed while this symbol is visible, the results will generally appear only after the stored commands are executed.  Basically, that means, your computer will go a little crazy for a few seconds.  Be patient, wait a few seconds until the mouse returns to one of it working state.
I-beam Visible when you are pointing to an area where text insertion is available. 

This shape is also a signal that lets you know you can select the available text.

For example, if you point your mouse indicator to the beginning of this paragraph, it will turn into an I-beam.  At that stage, if you hold down your left mouse and drag, the words will become selected.  You can then copy and use the information in other programs, such as your word processor.

It should be noted that the hot spot of this shape is located at the bottom of the shape.

Sizing arrows  When the tip of the selecting arrow touches a sizable border of a program, graphic or group box, the mouse indicator changes into one of these shapes. 

There are a few varieties of sizing arrows, but they all basically imply the same concept. 

You will re-size the object if you hold your left mouse button and drag the mouse.

Note:  If you want to keep the proportion of an image, point to one of the corners of the image and look for the diagonal arrows.

Move object The selected object will move. 

Hold the left mouse button until the outline reaches it's destination, then release the mouse button.

Selecting tool When the mouse is positioned in the left margin of most word processing documents, it turns into a RIGHT POINTING ARROW. 

When in this shape, if you hold down the left mouse button, the line that you are pointing at will become highlighted (selected). If you want more than one line, keep holding down the button and drag up or down. 

Once selected, text can be deleted, modified or edited.



Choosing objects

Choosing objects
When pointing at objects (buttons, words, etc.), position the tip of the mouse pointer in the center of the desired object the press the left mouse button.
Select text within a document
  • Place the mouse pointer where you want to begin selecting text (the mouse indicator will turn into an I-bean)
  • There are several things you can do at this point
Press and hold the left mouse button - Drag the mouse to highlight the text.
If you need more than one line, pull the mouse immediately down.  It is not necessary to drag the mouse left to right prior to dragging downward.

If you do not want to drag the mouse, you can do the following using the multi-click selecting option.  Remember to plant that wrist, you do not want any movement of the mouse while you perform the action.

  Double click to select a word (99% of all programs)
  Triple click to select a sentence (WP)
  Triple click to select a paragraph (Word)
  Quadruple click to select a paragraph (WP)
Position the mouse pointer in the left margin area of your document (the mouse indicator will turn into a right pointing arrow) 
There are several things you can do at this point
    • Press and hold the left mouse button drag down to highlight the text
    • Single click to select a sentence
    • Double click to select a paragraph


Select objects

Select boxes Activate the menu bar
Point to the desired object

Click the left mouse button

Point to the menu and click the left mouse button. If you have selected an incorrect item, simple point to and click on the right one. Select the desired object and click



Scroll Bars

When a window is too small to show all available options, scrolls bars will automatically appear (either Horizontal or Vertical).  If you want to view information below the screen, click on the down arrow of the scroll bar.
  • Position the mouse pointer on the up or down (vertical) or, left/right (horizontal) scroll arrows.
  • Press and hold down the left mouse button
  • Release the mouse button when you reach the section of the document or window you want
  • Position the mouse pointer on the position indicator (the small colored square inside the scroll bar)

  • Repeat Click and hold your left mouse button, then drag in the direction you want to scroll


Using toolbars

Tool bars offer the user easy access to the most common functions of any given program.  You will notice that many of the buttons are identical and perform the same function in a variety of different programs. 
an example of the MS Word Standard Toolbar

  • Point to a button
  • Click the left mouse button
If you are unsure of what a tool bar button does, just point to it with your mouse, let the mouse sit for a second and a small description will appear on screen attached to the mouse pointer.


Right Mouse button

The RIGHT MOUSE button will access different pop menus (a small rectangular box, listing several command choices.)  within programs. 

The pop-up menu that appears is determined by where you are pointing when you right mouse button click. 
i.e. If you point to ...

a toolbar, the "Toolbar" pop-up menu will open.
the body of a letter, the "Formatting" pop-up menu will appear.
Other sensitive areas are described below.
Ruler bars There are two pop-up menus available. Tab set functions when pointing to the tab set area of the ruler bar. General document settings are available when pointing to the actual ruler area.
Top or bottom of page Header/Footer and Watermark options
Body of the document General format settings (Paste, Font, Quickformat, etc.)
Left Margin Selecting and various other options (Select sentence, select paragraph, set margins, etc.)
Tables Table format functions (Format, Insert, delete, etc.)
Boxes any Box format functions (Content, Size, Position, etc.)


Happy Mousing!!!




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