Digital Skills Basics: Using a Mouse

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Double or single click? Right or left side? The mouse can seem confusing, but here are some simple tips to have you clicking confidently every time.  

Single clicking: This is the mouse skill you will use the most. Clicking one time on the left side of the mouse opens or activates a program on your computer.  

Try it out – position your mouse’s cursor over an icon on the taskbar at the bottom of your screen and click one time. This should open the program you have selected. 

Double clicking: You will need to double click to open a file or program from the desktop. Double clicking also uses the left side of the mouse.  

Try it out – locate a program icon on your desktop – the main part of your computer screen. Click two times with the left side of the mouse to open the program. You will need to click quickly to make this function work.  

Click and dragYou can use your mouse to highlight text or move objects around your computer screen using the click and drag function.  

Try it out – try moving items around on your desktop. Position your cursor over a program icon on your desktop. Click and hold with the left side of the mouse. While you are still holding the button down, you will be able to move the cursor and the icon should move along with you. When you have selected a new location, release the mouse’s button. The icon will also release. 

Right clicking: Using the right side of the mouse opens up a menu of options. This can be a quick way to copy and paste, and to choose from many more options. 

Try it out – position your mouse’s cursor over an icon on your desktop and click once with the right side. A list of options should appear next to the icon. To select an option, move your cursor to the option you want and click once with the left side of the mouse.   

Copying and pasting: This allows you to move text and other objects from one place on your computer to another. To copy and paste, you will need to use click and drag and right click, so it’s a good way to practice using the mouse. 

Try it out – let’s move some text from one location on your computer to another. 

  1. Open a blank document in Microsoft Word and type the words “Copy and paste”.  
  2. Position your mouse’s cursor at the beginning of the text, and click and drag across all the words you typed. When you get to the end of your text, release the mouse button. This should highlight the phrase in a different shade.  
  3. Position your mouse’s cursor over the shaded text and right click to open up a menu of options. Select “Copy”.  
  4. Now open up Google Chrome from your desktop.  
  5. Position your mouse’s cursor over the search box below the Google logo and right click to open up a menu of options. Select “Paste”. Your original text should now appear in the box!  

If you would like to learn more about using a mouse as well as the opportunity to practice on your own, try watching this interactive video from DigitalLearn on the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh website. Single click on the link below to begin. 

Using a Mouse – Digital Online Tutorial