Mouse Tips

The lowly computer mouse has changed over the years. You may not have all the features I’ll mention or you may have more.


I’ve still seen the rare and endangered older mouse with a tracking ball to roll around your mouse pad.  You know how frustrating it can be when the cursor doesn’t move freely across your screen because lint and dust have built up inside your mouse. It’s easy to fix. . .  Buy a new mouse.  But if that’s not an option, wait until your computer is off before taking these steps:

  1. Unscrew the plastic circle that holds the ball inside the mouse.
  2. After the ball drops out, notice the delicate roller bars inside.  Chances are lint is glued on to these bars, like little felt pads.
  3. Moisten a Q-Tip swab with rubbing alcohol and gently dab at the dirty bars to moisten and loosen the lint.
  4. The lint will come off like a little piece of dark felt.
  5. Screw the ball back in.

Types of Computer Mice

If you want a more convenient mouse (and are tired of cleaning your old one), you might want to upgrade to an optical mouse or a wireless mouse.

Most mice are optical now.  Instead of a ball, the mouse uses a laser, as in the photo.

If you get a wireless mouse, you could also buy it in a package with a wireless keyboard.  You’ll plug a receiver into your USB port instead of plugging the keyboard and the mouse in.  Your keyboard and mouse will need batteries for communicating with the receiver, but not having cords might be worth it for you.

Clicking and Scrolling

You’re familiar with basic clicking (left-click) but try right-clicking anytime you could do a left-click and you’ll see a drop-down menu of different actions you can take.  You can do this in many different applications and on internet sites, including Facebook.  The dropdown menu will often save you some steps.  Drag the mouse over the list and left-click on one of the actions.

Newer mice have more buttons and features.  Chances are you already have a scroll wheel inbetween the left and right click buttons.  Instead of moving sliders up and down to read from top to bottom of a document or web page, you probably know how to use the wheel to scroll up and down in a window, but have you tried holding the control key down while scrolling?  You’ll be able to zoom in and out.  Very handy for those emails, websites, documents, and spreadsheets that have tiny fonts!

If you have a very new mouse, the scroll wheel can be pushed left and right in order to scroll left and right.  If you have a MAC, you won’t need this feature.  Just hold down the SHIFT key when scrolling and you will scroll left and right.

Also, clicking (instead of scrolling) on a hyperlink using the mouse scroll wheel will open  a website in the next tab when you are surfing the internet.

Do you have any computer mouse tips?  Do any of the newer mice have features you would recommend?

Related Posts:

Zooming (in and out) – using your keyboard to zoom in and out

Keyboard Shortcuts – other keyboard shortcuts

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