Open files and programs on your computer

Performed with the left mouse button, the single-click allows the user to select the item beneath the mouse pointer.

Navigate the Web


A finger pointer shows the object is clickable.

When using a web browser, single-clicks are used for opening links, viewing pictures and selecting objects. On most computers the mouse pointer turns into a hand when it hovers over a clickable object.


When the mouse moves while the left button is held down, a “drag” is performed. Icons and other movable objects can be manipulated by clicking on the object and moving (“dragging”) the mouse to the desired location.

Highlight text

Similar to the click-and-drag, when the same operation is done on text, the text the mouse moves over will be highlighted. This allows you to do more advanced operations such as Copy and Paste.


Open files, folders and programs on your Desktop

Double-clicks are used to open files on the Desktop or the computer’s file browser (Finder on Macs, File Explorer on Windows).

Double-clicks are not used in web browsersDouble-clicking a “Buy Now” button will cause you to buy the item twice!

Right Click

Open context menus

Right-clicking opens a menu with useful options.
Right-clicking opens a menu with useful options.

Right clicking opens a context menu, meaning the contents of the menu depends on what was clicked on (the context). For example, a right click on a photo displays phot0-related options, such as “Save Image” or “Print”. These options would not be the same as a right-click on a folder icon.

Middle Wheel

Roll the middle wheel to easily scroll up or down.

Easily navigate up or down

This pointer means the mouse is in scroll mode.

Rolling the middle wheel is the same as pressing the up or down arrow keys on the keyboard, allowing you to easily scroll on a page.

Pressing the middle button puts the mouse in scroll mode, indicated by the picture above. When in scroll mode the page will go up/down by moving the mouse body, instead of just rolling the wheel. Press the middle mouse button again to return to normal operation.


The mouse buttons provide shortcuts at your fingertips (literally!) that few use. The right-click in particular can be very useful, and we suggest you right-click on different objects to see what the menu displays. You may find something useful.

Want to learn more computer basics in a one-on-one computer lesson? Contact us to schedule a private session.

Published by Kamryn

I.T. Consultant & digital wizard