Mouse Functions and Keyboard Shortcuts

Remember, any detailed instructions relate to Microsoft computers running on Windows 8, 10, or 11 operating systems.

As everybody who is reading this blog post knows, you only have two ways to connect to your computer. The keyboard and the mouse. I know that a lot of you possess a smartphone or iPad, but this post only relates to the use of a computer, either a laptop or desktop.

If you have read other blog posts that I have written, you will know that I suffer from a few slight disabilities, and I find it difficult to use the touchpad that usually is positioned in front of the keyboard on a laptop. I therefore use a normal mouse when I’m using my laptop, and the following instructions assume that you do too. The mouse can be a wired mouse, which is connected via a USB port, or a wireless mouse, which also needs a USB port to hold the receiver. A wireless mouse also needs a battery inserted. I also use a wireless full-sized keyboard with my laptop, which also needs a USB port for the receiver as well as two AAA batteries. However, this is not necessary for you to follow the tips highlighted in this blog post.

The Mouse

By moving your mouse slightly in any direction, usually when resting it on a mouse mat, you can control where an arrowhead (also known as the cursor) points to on your screen. A mouse has two main control buttons, one on the left, and the other on the right. The most often button used is the one on the left. Most also have a wheel on the top which can help to scroll up or down a web page.

Single-click the LEFT button when the arrow on the screen is pointing to the correct place to:

  • Access Internet Pages via clickable links, without having to type long URLs into your browser
  • Select where you want type something
  • Choose from various options, for example, items in a website’s top or bottom menus
  • Close a program by clicking on the “X” in the top right corner of the screen
  • Open a program in your taskbar at the bottom of the screen and on many other occasions.

Double-click the LEFT button when the arrow on the screen is pointing to the correct place to:

  • Where possible, enlarge an image
  • Open a file. For example, a .mp4 video file
  • Start an executable program file, usually a .exe file, and on several other occasions.

Click the LEFT button and hold it down when the arrow on the screen is pointing to the correct place to:

  • Scroll up or down a page using the grey icon that appears on the far right of most screens
  • Scroll up or down a page using the small arrows near the top-right and bottom-right of the screen
  • Drag the arrowhead across a word, line, or block of text that you wish to cut, copy, or delete. If there is a large amount of text to be highlighted, I have found that it is easier to start the drag from the end of the text towards the beginning, rather than the other way around.

Click the RIGHT button and, amongst other less important things, the following choices will be displayed:

  • Undo. Left click on “undo: and your last series of actions will be reversed.
  • Cut. After you have highlighted some text by holding down the left button while dragging the arrowhead, also known as the “cursor”, over it, left-click on “cut”. This will remove the highlighted text and it can be moved to another location, which could be in another app, by moving the arrowhead and left-click on “Paste” (see below).
  • Copy. Left-click on “copy” will achieve a similar result to that obtained when you left-click on “cut” except that the original text will remain in place as well as appearing in the new desired location.
  • Select all. If you want to copy or cut all the text in a single location, instead of highlighting all of the text manually, you can left-click on “select all” and all of the text will immediately be highlighted.
  • Paste. After you have highlighted text, and clicked on “cut” or “copy”, you then move the cursor to another location either within the same document or in another program, app, or web page and click on “paste” to copy or move the text there. It is worth noting, however, that if you create text in Word, Microsoft programmers have included a lot of “behind-the-scenes” code that can “confuse” other applications. Word is a convenient place to write anything of substance, but if you want to copy something you’ve written in Word to, say, a Facebook post, it is safer to copy it to Notepad first. This will remove all of Microsoft’s behind-the-scenes code. Then, using the “select all” option when you right-click the mouse, you can safely “cut” all the text to Facebook, including the breaks between paragraphs.

The Keyboard

The keyboard, can be connected to your computer by a wire and USB port, can be wireless, needing a USB receiver and batteries, or, if you have a laptop, be an integral part of the machine. If you have a laptop, you can complement your computer’s keyboard by also using an external keyboard whether it is wired or wireless. I find it much easier to use a full-sized keyboard and would recommend all laptop users to, at least, consider using one. The letter keys in a keyboard are in exactly the same order as they were in an old-fashioned typewriter. (As an amusing aside, the word “Typewriter” is the longest English word that can be typed using only the keys on the top row of the block of letter keys!). Anyway, as well as the letter keys, a keyboard has numbers, symbols, function keys, a numerical keypad, and various other keys. The keyboard shortcuts explained below, will work whatever type of keyboard you use.

What Happens When Your Mouse Is Not Available – Keyboard Shortcuts

Computer mice, or mouses, (there’s a great debate going on as to what the plural of a computer mouse should be), often become inoperable. They are easily lost, dropped down loos, simply break down, or run out of battery power. Most, if not all, functions that can be performed using a mouse can be duplicated using only using the keyboard. I will highlight a few of them below, but if you want a complete list type “keyboard shortcuts” into a search engine, then click on “Windows keyboard shortcuts – Microsoft Support”. If you want to find out how to perform a specific action, type in “keyboard shortcut – (what you want to do)”. Here are a few examples. Keys are within curly brackets, {+} means that you hold down 2 or more keys simultaneously, and {>} means that you keep pressed one or more keys followed by another.

  • Copy – {Ctr} {+} {C}
  • Cut – {Ctr} {+} {X}
  • Paste – {Ctr} {+} {V}

“But wait,” I hear you say. “How can I copy or cut something if I can’t select the text first?” Try the following:

  • Use the arrow keys to navigate to the start of the first word you want to copy or cut
  • To select a word at a time – {Ctr} {+} {Shift} {>} {Right Arrow}
  • To select a letter at a time – {Shift} {>} {Right Arrow}
  • To select all text – {Ctr} {+} {A}
  • To quit an open application – {Alt} {+} {F4}
  • To shut down your computer – {Windows key} {+} {X} > {U} > {U}

I hope that this blog post has been helpful. Please comment or ask questions below. All comments will be replied to, and all questions will be answered.



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2 thoughts on “Mouse Functions and Keyboard Shortcuts”

  1. Hi Phil, that was the most comprehensive guide to keyboards and mice/mices/mouses (oh b*gger, whatever) that I’ve ever seen. I worked with them for practically all of my working life and you still managed to teach me something. Hats off to you, sir.

    1. Cheers Andy,

      It’s amazing just how many keyboard shortcuts there are. When I started the blog post I imagined that I would be able to cover most if not all of them. Little did I know, that after I had investigated further, I would discover that there are literally hundreds of them.

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