How to Use Mouse Shortcuts



Now this is a subject area I hadn't even considered until I got an email from South African subscriber Cobus Jacobs.

Cobus had just read my article on keyboard shortcuts in #139 and wrote in to suggest three tips for use on any mouse with a scrolling wheel. Here's what he had to say:

  1. In addition to the usual up-and-down scrolling, you can hold shift while scrolling to scroll side-ways (very handy in big spreadsheets or Windows Explorer in the details/list view).
  2. In most applications that have a zoom feature such as MS Office Suite, Acrobat Reader and IrfanView, holding down Ctrl while scrolling will zoom in and out. Sure it's just as easy as clicking the zoom-icon, but it becomes especially useful when throwing a spreadsheet/pdf in full-screen mode during a presentation. Suddenly your toolbar is gone, no worries, just ctrl-scroll away!
  3. Clicking your wheel-button usually results in your mouse cursor changing shape; typically a round circle with arrows in it. Now you can scroll in any direction using mouse movement instead of rolling the wheel. Clicking the wheel again returns your mouse to its trusty cursor."

Cobus goes on to correctly point out these features are dependent on your mouse driver however they will work with most including the default settings for just about all Logitech drivers.

Of course, many drivers allow the customization of the function of mouse buttons but most users have never delved into the options available in their mouse software. Check out the Mouse applet in Windows Control Panel; you may be surprised what you find.

To me the most effective mouse shortcuts of all are mouse gestures, that is the use of specific movements of the mouse to perform a command. They take a little time to get used to but once you do you'll wonder how you worked without them, particularly for web navigation.

My favorite utility for implementing gestures is StrokeIt. It's easy to use, easy to train and comes with over 80 pre-programmed gestures that work with many popular applications. It's also free for personal use and works with all Windows versions from Windows 98 onwards. Be warned though; if you try it you may well find yourself addicted. :>)


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