3 Handy Mouse Tricks You’ve Probably Never Heard Of [Windows]

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Mouse and Keyboard   3 Handy Mouse Tricks Youve Probably Never Heard Of [Windows] The computer mouse is an incredibly nifty device, which unfortunately, a lot of people do not use to its full potential. There are many more things the mouse can do than left-click to move and select things or right-click to bring up context menus. Many of the tricks are easy to learn as they depend on no more than three keyboard keys. However, they can turn out to be huge time savers and making some tasks much easier.

I have to admit up front that the title of this article is not entirely accurate. As you will see, the list below has a dozen items, not just three. Well, my logic is that if you are slightly geeky and know your way around with computers, you have probably heard of a few of these tricks or maybe even most of them. However, I’m sure that the average person will find at least three Windows mouse tricks they have never heard of before. I have included some simple tricks to offer a somewhat complete list for those who are not as experienced.

Left Mouse Button Tricks

You hopefully know that you can use the [SHIFT] key to select multiple items in a folder. Now, you can do the same for text on a website or in a document. Just click the start point of the paragraph you want to select, then hold the [SHIFT] key, while you click at the end point of what you want to select. Et voilà, that whole chunk of text has been highlighted and can now be copied or edited.

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  • To select text, left-click first character, then hold [SHIFT] key and select last character.

Select Text with SHIFT   3 Handy Mouse Tricks Youve Probably Never Heard Of [Windows]

If you are a little more advanced, you probably know that you can also select a random series of items in a folder by holding down the [CTRL] key as you select the items. Again, the same can be done when you want to select multiple random chunks of text in a document. Just hold onto the [CTRL] key as you go and highlight whatever you want to select. This will not work everywhere, but it does work very nicely in Office documents.

  • To select pieces of text, hold [CTRL] key as you make your selection using the left mouse button.

Select Text with CTRL   3 Handy Mouse Tricks Youve Probably Never Heard Of [Windows]

Now here is a very advanced text selection trick. This one allows you to select text vertically. As the previous trick, this will not work everywhere, but does work inside word. Simply press the [ALT] key and select text using the right mouse button.

  • Vertically select text by pressing [ALT] key while selecting text with right-mouse button.

Vertical Text Selection   3 Handy Mouse Tricks Youve Probably Never Heard Of [Windows]

We all know that we can use the mouse to drag and drop items, even multiple ones. Did you know that is makes a difference what keyboard keys you are pushing while you use the mouse to drag and drop items? Hold down the [CTRL] key to copy items. Use the [SHIFT] key to move items.

  • [CTRL] + left mouse button to drag&drop item/s = copy item/s
  • [SHIFT] + left mouse button to drag&drop item/s = move item/s

Shift to Move Ctrl to Copy   3 Handy Mouse Tricks Youve Probably Never Heard Of [Windows]

The next two tricks are a little silly. You already know that you can use your mouse to click the buttons in the top right to close or maximize a window. But did you know you could double-click the center of the title bar to maximize a window? Well, if you knew that, try to double-click the top left corner in the title bar to close it? How is that? This may come in handy in case your mouse happens to be far from the top right corner and you can’t be bothered to move it there. Other than that, me thinks this is about as useful as your appendix.

  • Double-click title bar of any window to maximize it.
  • Double-click top left corner in title bar of any window to close it.

Windows Window   3 Handy Mouse Tricks Youve Probably Never Heard Of [Windows]

Right Mouse Button Tricks

Above I showed you how you can use different keyboard keys to copy or move items while dragging and dropping items with your mouse. If you ever forget which keys to hold for what effect, just try to drag&drop items with the right mouse button instead of the left mouse button! Once you release the mouse button to drop the items, this will bring up a context menu that asks you what you want to do, i.e. copy here, move here, or create a shortcut. Handy, eh?

  • Drag&drop with right mouse button for action menu.

Drag and Drop with Right Mouse Button   3 Handy Mouse Tricks Youve Probably Never Heard Of [Windows]

Everyone knows that the right-mouse button is used to open context menus for files and folders. Did you know that holding the [SHIFT] key as you do so will often reveal hidden options? Below is an example of right-clicking into the Library folder. Can you come up with more exciting revelations?

  • To open extended right-click context menu, hold [SHIFT] key as you right-click.

Context Menu With SHIFT   3 Handy Mouse Tricks Youve Probably Never Heard Of [Windows]

Scroll Wheel or Middle Mouse Button Tricks

Many people don’t realize that the scroll wheel often functions as a button. This is true for most mice, that otherwise lack a middle mouse button. And that combination of scroll wheel and middle mouse button has skills!

Since you are probably all excited about this one if you just discovered it, let’s start with the middle mouse button. If you already knew, the first trick will be old news for you, but hang on for the second one! The middle mouse button can be used to open links in a new tab in your browser. So instead of left- or right-clicking a link, try to middle-click it.

  • Open links in new tab by clicking them with middle mouse button.

The second middle mouse button trick is also done in your browser. Open a new tab. And now to close it, simply click it with the middle mouse button.

  • Close open tabs by clicking them using the middle mouse button.

Now here is a trick for the scroll wheel. Did you know that in many Windows applications, including your browser, you can use this awesome button, to zoom in and out? This even works in Windows Explorer, i.e. folders? Open a folder and hold the [CTRL] button while scrolling. Inside folders, it actually scrolls through the various view options, but at some point it also zooms in, until you have giant icons. More importantly, however, this trick can help you read better, when the font on a website or in a document is too small.

  • Hold [CTRL] button and scroll up to zoom in (enlarge text size) or scroll down to zoom out (reduce text size).

Magnifying Glasses   3 Handy Mouse Tricks Youve Probably Never Heard Of [Windows]

Do you know of any other mouse tricks that I missed? Please share them with us! Also, which of the above were new to you or which one is your favorite?

Additional Reading

Looking for more cool tricks? Check out the following articles:

Image credits: Mouse and Keyboard via Shutterstock, Magnifying Glasses via Shutterstock

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61 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Edmar Diego

i know at least seventy five percent of the article.

Shane_West

25% increase then eh? :)

Anonymous

85% for me

Reply

Slashee the Cow

AHAHAHAHAHA. This site used to be useful. Now it’s just a comedy of errors.

1) To select text by dragging, you needn’t hold shift. Just click and drag.
2) That column select thing by holding alt? Not that I’ve tested every single program ever, but I’m yet to find one BUT MS Word that does it.
3) To close a browser tab, you only need to single middle click it.
4) Zooming in browsers: don’t want to bother with the scroll wheel? Ctrl and + to zoom in, Ctrl and – to zoom out. Ctrl and 0 to reset zoom.

Tina

You got a point with 3) and it’s been corrected.

Of course everyone knows you can drag-select, still 1) has its uses. It’s really too bad that 2) doesn’t work in more programs because it’s useful where it does work. 4) really is a matter of taste and what the individual user finds more convenient. Definitely scroll wheel for me when I’m browsing.

Luca

it seems that the cow uses a computer just to surf the web a while and send a couple of emails daily. of course 1 is important! try to copy a table in a web page with a few hundreds rows dragging the mouse… and what’s the point to use ctrl +/- if you already have the mouse in hand? obviously you use the scroll wheel! I never understand why people complain when you have more but different possibilities to do the same thing…

Ken

For copying tables, there’s a very useful extension for Firefox users called “TableTools2″

Regarding the “Shift-Right-Click” that doesn’t work on any of my computers, one running on Windows XP and the other two using Windows 7. So it would seem that the “Shift-Right-Click” only works on certain computers, but it sure doesn’t on mine.

Alawishis

Works WINDOWS SERVER 2008 R2 but does not work on my workstation, XP.

Felicia

Thanks, I couldn’t have said this better.:-)

elhaj

this article is called handy mouse tricks just in case someone didn’t notice, plus users can try what works and judge.

Felicia

If you have a long document the select text by dragging isn’t the best option. Therefore, the tip of using holding the shift is a great tip!

Reply

VS Vishnu

i didnt know at least seventy five percent of the article.

Reply

Ash

I got to know two new tricks
1) Closing Open tabs with middle mouse button
2) Ctrl (or shift) and drag using left mouse button
Thanks :)

Reply

Patrick Jackson

Funny or what, I knew all of them! Still a nice article! :)

Tina

Well, you certainly are a geek, Patrick! Maybe something new will come up in the comments. :)

Reply

GrrGrrr

Thanks Tina.
I would be using the selection tricks you have mentioned.

Reply

Jacob Twitchel

The mouse trick I use all the time is opening multiple tabs while holding control. If you want to open like 5 links at once then just hold down control and click on all five links and it will automatically open up five tabs in your browser to load all the links. I find that trick very helpful so I don’t have to keep going back to my original tab to keep clicking.

Tina

That’s a good one, didn’t know that. Thanks, Jacob!

I just middle-click URLs to open them in a new tab and they automatically open in the background. Saves a finger on the CTRL key.

Reply

Rick M.

I did not know about the vertical text selection (ALT) or how to select text pieces with the <CNTRL key. I am adding them to my arsenal of tricks to make my computing life easier!

Great article!

Reply

BJosephs

Thanks Tina – I’ve always wanted the ability to select vertical text and didn’t know I already had it at my fingertips!
However, I believe the article should read
“Vertically select text by pressing [ALT] key while selecting text with LEFT-mouse button.”

Reply

Stan

There is 1 missing. Click middle button then shift mouse in desired position to scroll. (available positions are indicated on screen)

Tina

Ha! I actually knew this one and totally forgot to add it. It’s a good one. Thanks for adding it, Stan!

David

And, if you don’t have a middle mouse button, you can click LEFT and RIGHT mouse buttons simultaneously to simulate a MIDDLE MOUSE BUTTON click to achieve this same thing.

Reply

salvador hernandez

Great article. I personally find some of these tips useful.

Reply

Andy Williams

Nice collection — it is surprising how many people do not know of such tricks :-) Now a couple more.

In PPoint select an element (left click), hold down Ctrl, drag with left click down in any direction and hey preso — a copy

Use usual Win key+Tab combo to run through all open windows. Keep holding Win but release Tab. Now with the mouse wheel you can easily go back/forards to selct the window you want.

With text put the cursor in the margin or over the text, left click quickly three times and you’ll select the paragraph the cursor is next to.

Simulate a centre wheel click on a mouse with no centre wheel or a laptop touch pad by clicking left and right buttons simultaneously.

Apparently with some apps you can separately right-click then left-click, or left-click then right-click, or left or right-click and the mouse wheel (it’s called Chording) and get some effect, but I obviously don’t have those programs! I thinkit is also used for accessibility.

Talking of accesibility, if you look in the Control Panel item “Ease of Access Centre” if under the entry “Make the mouse easier to use” you select the option “Activate a window by hovering over it with the mouse” you can avoid the need to click to select a window which ca be a time saver. But you can als really annoy yourself with accidental selections!

Don’t forget that these days a lot of mice also have a sideways click — left and right — built in to the wheel, too.

Lots of these tricks work just as well on a touchpad.

The thing is to just click and play — lots of things still to discover!

Remember that using the Control Panel app for your mouse you can modify the action of most options for clicking. And with the program X-Mouse Button Control can tune a mouse’s buttons to an even higher degree, to the extent of having customised actions for every click on a per program basis.

Tina

Thank you for sharing all those great tricks, Andy!

Reply

Marwa Bakry

The right mouse button tricks, these are the ones i didn’t know about, so far i enjoyed reading the article, thanks for sharing, and keep it up :)

Reply

Danman

Here’s one not mentioned. Place the mouse pointer in a vertical scroll bar, click the mouse wheel, then move the entire mouse unit up or down slightly and let go. The page will scroll by itself. The distance of the mouse from the original click point, up or down, will regulate the speed.

Tina

That is a good one, too. Actually have used it accidentally in the past.

Reply

Erlis Dhima

I didn’t knew about the extended right-click context menu, holding [SHIFT] key while right-clicking.. Thanks for learning it to me! :)
But also, I didn’t knew about selecting text using ‘alt’ key.. And it didn’t worked!
Anyway, nice article!

Tina

Strange that the ALT key selection did not work. What exactly did you do and in what software or browser?

Erlis Dhima

I tried here at MUO, with mozilla firefox.. Maybe it works only with the texts that are written in columns!

Tina

Oh sorry, the vertical selection with the ALT key works in only a few programs. For me it worked in Word.

Erlis Dhima

I see! It’s ok! When I can, I’ll try in other programs too! :)

Reply

Alan McNamara

Tina,
Have you tride these tips on a Logitech mouse?
I used them on my MS cordless mouse but the wheel doesn’t open a new tab on my Logitech bluetooth mouse.
Instead I have to right click then select Open new tab.
Has anyone else noticed this?

A hint to remember the SHIFT key is that SHIFT means to MOVE.

Tina

Yes, I actually use a Logitech mouse. A very simple one, though.

Which browser did you test? This is what I found regarding Mozilla or Firefox: http://kb.mozillazine.org/Mouse_tips

Reply

raj gopal

just to lazy to follow, will just ctrl+c and ctrl+v the article

Reply

Andrew Kim

Haha I thought I would know most of this but I only knew the middle mouse button tricks :x

Reply

Readmore

I’ll probably use that double-click in the left corner trick to close windows. I always seem to go to that corner? first, looking for the little red button I’m used to from using a Mac. Thanks!

Reply

HLJonnalagadda

I find that having a gaming mouse with 9 buttons is very useful too..

Reply

Mark

thanks tina. you actually made me close my browser (im in the middle of reading this acticle) trying the double click trick. :)

Tina

LOL Sorry Mark! Hope you didn’t lose anything. :)

Reply

Edward Bellair

Helpful info. Thank you all.

Reply

Shane_West

Vertically select text by pressing [ALT] key while selecting text with right-mouse button. … not working for me?

Tina

Where did you try it, Shane? It should work in Word. It doesn’t work in many other programs.

Shane_West

Just tried again in MS Word 2007 and not responding as expected. I am using a Logitech mouse?

Tina

I am using a Logitech mouse, too and it works fine. However, I run an antiquated version of Windows.

Reply

Zaertix M

It’s astounding to see what tricks people don’t know even though they seem rather comical.

Reply

Joe Marfice

OK, I considered myself pretty much a Windows guru, and DID NOT know about click-selecting multiple texts. Even though it only makes sense…

Thank you!

Reply

Andrzej Król

I have already known CTRL & SHIFT hidden options.

Reply

Nathaniel Tennant

Thanks I didn’t know about these.

Reply

Rich Mc.

I appreciate these little tricks even if
i already know most of them. It is always nice when people are willing to take the time to share their knowledge with others.

Reply

chandra prakash dixit

tricks…
you can up,down,left and right webpage by single click by middle button of mouse on any where of the page and move the mouse in any direction you want…..

Reply

chandra prakash dixit

click the middle button of mouse on a webpage and simply move mouse in any direction you want(left, right, up and down)

Reply

Anonymous

now I can remove a browser addon hurray!

Reply

P C Sarma

My Dear Tina, Regards. I want to know how to Use my Card-reader whis a TECH-COM
USB2.0 36-in-1 Multiple Card Reader.[SDHC Compatible. When I connect it to a USB Port, it is asking for the Driver to be installed & I do not have the Driver! Somebody told me to Download this Driver from the Net which I am not able to do. I am a
retired 84 Yr old man & am trying to do something which I can to keep myself fit & going. Have had lots of sickness & now am a bit more mobile. So I shall be Obliged/Grateful if U could help me do this. I have a SONY Cyber-shot 7.2 Mega Pixel Model DSC-S730 PCSarma, GOD BLESS

Tina

PCSarma,

Your question doesn’t seem to be related to the article above and I’m afraid I don’t have a solution.

I recommend to post your question here: http://www.makeuseof.com/answers/ask
When you post the question, please also describe why you cannot use or download the recommended driver. What exactly happens when you try to download or install it?

Good luck!

Reply

Vivek Kumar

thanks for a nice article…………

Reply

Nikhil Chandak

good article about mouse tricks
but many of the tricks , I knew ..
but thanks , for the tricks I did not knew ..!

Reply

Yogesh Unavane

Still gonna’ stick to Classic Style, unless to Show-Off . . . . _o_

Reply

harley

I usually skim over the keyboard shortcuts and stuff, I’m more of a mouser. These tips are great for me and not too hard to remember, thank you.

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