Computer Basics Lesson 4: What is a Computer Mouse?

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Can you imagine the looks that were given to the creators when the first computer mouse was created? Douglas Englebart and Bill English wanted a more efficient way to interact with the computer screen and created the first mouse in the early 1960’s. Though it was drastically different then the computer mouse of today, the concept greatly enhanced the efficiency of computing. The transition from standard text screen to the use of the Graphical User Interface, or GUI, allows interaction between the mouse and the various icons and windows on the screen. This advancement has simplified the use computers. In addition, GUI and the mouse have increased the attraction of computers to a wider market.

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What is a Computer Mouse?

The computer mouse is considered an input device. With a click of a button, the mouse sends information to the computer. The computer mouse is an interesting device that offers an alternative way to interact with the computer beside a keyboard.

A typical mouse has two buttons. At the top of the device you will find a left and right button which allows for “clicks”. There is a scrolling wheel between the two buttons.

computer mouse 

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How to Hold a Mouse

The mouse fits in the palm of your hand. Generally all mice are set up for right-hand dominant use but can be customized and adjusted for left-hand use.

Your index finger will rest over the left mouse button while the rest of your hand will lightly grip the mouse.

You may use your middle and/or your ring finger to use the wheel and/or the right mouse button.

Your hand will cup the mouse and your fingers should be relaxed while holding the mouse.

Your arm may rest on the table. You hand should not hold, squeeze, or clench the mouse but rather guide the mouse around.

Your shoulder and elbow rather than your wrist should be moving the mouse around the mouse pad or table. A mouse pad may be provided as a clean smooth surface to guide your mouse on top.

You should have plenty of room for full movement of the mouse. You may pick up your mouse and place it back down in the middle of your mouse pad at any time to readjust your mouse position. Remember-do not tense your hands or arms. The muscles of your hands, fingers, and arms should be relaxed.

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Types of Mice

There are many types of mice. Most of us have a computer mouse that is connected to our computer by a cable with a ball at the bottom of the mouse device. The IntelliMouse has a wheel between the left and right mouse buttons. This is the most popular style of mouse device. There are cordless mice, mice with a trackball on top instead of the bottom, touchpads, and mice operated by use of a foot. Whatever mouse you decide to use become comfortable using it. There is a style of mouse device for everyone.

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Practice Using a Mouse

One of the most frustrating issues with using a computer can be mastering the use of the mouse. The more you practice with the mouse, the better you will become and the more comfortable you will be.

Some people use Solitaire, or other games to practice with the mouse, but another great site is listed below.

Mousercize is a web site that allows you to practice using the mouse. Let’s give it a try!

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While you are moving your mouse around be careful not to click while moving. To ensure precise point and click commands, guide your mouse into position then stop to click.

Interesting Tidbit

There are different types of clicking. Single-click, double-click, triple-click, and right-click. The computer, if using Microsoft Windows, uses double-click.

The double-click action generally executes a command or opens a window or application. A single-click selects an option then with the combination of pressing a button on the keyboard will execute an action or command. You may customize your computer to select commands based on what works for you. If you find double-clicking difficult you may go into the Computer’s Control Panel and adjust the settings to single-click.

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Vocabulary and Glossary

GUI or Graphical User Interface
A visual interface that utilizes graphics to represent commands and allows for ease of use.
Mouse Pad
A clean, smooth mat used underneath a mouse to assist with its movements.

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More Information

What is a computer mouse?

Full list of computer mouse terms

History of the computer mouse:

Change your mouse to single click if you have Windows 10, 8, or 7:

To visit the previous websites, place your mouse over the underlined link above then click. You must be connected to the internet in order for the link to work.

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