How to Use Your Computer Mouse

First, Let's Make Sure You Know How To Move The Cursor

image of computer mouse

You will be well on your way to navigating the internet once you learn how to use the computer mouse. The purpose of the mouse is to control the cursor on your screen. The cursor shows up as one of three images when you visit a web page. Move your mouse around and look for the three images, which we will describe next, on your computer screen.

You will see a white arrow, with a black outline, when the computer mouse moves the cursor over blank space on this page. Once you see the arrow, move it over the text in this paragraph and you will see a straight up-and-down line that looks like a capital "I". Now, move it over the word Hyperlink. Do you notice that the image turns into a white hand with a pointed index finger? (In our next lesson on Hyperlinks, we will teach how to use the pointed finger to visit new web pages.) Now that you know how to move the computer mouse to control the location of the cursor on your computer screen, let us learn how to move up and down the web page.

Second, Get Comfortable with Scrolling

You will need to 'scroll' down to see the rest of this article. You should learn the four ways to scroll.

First, you can use the down and up arrow keys on your keyboard. Use the down arrow to move down and see more of this article. Use the up arrow to move back up to the top of the page.

image of a web browser scroll bar

The next way to scroll down is to single click on the arrow near the bottom right corner of this page. Move your cursor down to the corner and try this now. If you are not sure what to click on, look on the image next to this paragraph. You will see an example of of the down arrow. You will also see an example of the up arrow in this image near the top right corner.

For the third way, look at the 'box' in the path between the up and down arrows on the right side of this page. Again, you will see it in the image we have provided. Move the cursor over the 'box' and then hold down the left mouse button. While holding down the mouse button, you can move the 'box' up and down towards the up and down arrows.

Finally, look at the scroll dial between the left and right button on your mouse. If you are not sure what it should look like, look at the computer mouse image at the top of this page. You can gently roll that dial forward or backwards to scroll up and down. A word of caution: If you push down too hard on the dial you may find the scrolling go a little out of control. This is even another way to scroll. However, you may find it moves a little too fast for you. Just push down on the dial a second time and it will stop moving so quickly.

You are now ready to learn when to use the buttons on your mouse.

Single-Click; Double-Click; Right-Click; What Does It All Mean?

Generally, you will see two buttons on the mouse like you see in the image at the top of this article. If you have more than two buttons, you only need to focus on the left-most and right-most buttons. Single-Click and Double-Click refer to using the left button while Right-Click refers to using the right button. We describe the common uses below the following advertisement.

Common Uses

  1. Single-Click: (Also known as Left-Click) Pressing the left button once is the most common use of your mouse buttons. You will click once on a hyperlink to access another web page.   You will click once on a menu item at the top of your web browser to open a drop down list of options. You will also click once to select a choice from that list of options.
  2. Double-Click: Quickly pressing the left button twice will open up programs and files on your desktop and in folders. That includes opening up this Web Browser. With the first click, you are highlighting the program or file. With the second click, the program or file will open. These two clicks must be made quickly, otherwise, the program or file will not open.
  3. Right-Click: Pressing the right button once will open a menu of options. For example, if you see an image you like on a web page, you can point at it with your mouse, Right-Click, and choose 'Save Picture As' from the menu of options to save the image to your computer. The menu of options will change depending on what the mouse is pointing at.

That ends this lesson on using the computer mouse. Don't get frustrated if the mouse does not always cooperate with you. Soon, with experience, using the computer mouse will become second nature. You can always come back to this article by using our 'Quick Access for Beginners' drop-down list in the right column of each page. The drop-down list provides a link to all of the Beginners Lessons. Javascript required.

More Lessons on Internet Help for Beginners
See also Internet Security for Beginners and Email for Beginners

  • Current : Computer Mouse - How to use it and when to push the buttons
  • Lesson 2: Hyperlinks - How to open a new web page
  • Lesson 3: Back Button - How to return to the previous web page
  • Lesson 4: Windows - How to manage windows on your screen
  • Lesson 5: Web Browser - What are Internet Explorer, Firefox & Safari?
  • Lesson 6: Address Bar - How to enter a web address
  • Lesson 7: Web Page vs. Web Site - Learn the difference between the two
  • Lesson 8: Menu Bar - Access to everything you need
  • Lesson 9: Bookmark Favorites - Save your favorite web sites
  • Lesson 10: Drop-Down-Lists - How to make selections on web sites
  • Lesson 11: Javascript - Why some web sites do not work for you
  • Lesson 12: Web-Accessibility - Problems reading web sites

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