An Explanation Of The Mouse Buttons And Mouse Pointers

Busy Mouse Pointer - The Double Click - Menu Button - Text Links

Before you can get started with using the desktop (explained in the next section) you should first learn how to use the mouse (mouse pointer) and find out what each mouse pointer means. Moving a mouse around a desktop screen might sound easy, but not when you have never used a mouse.

And even after learning how to move the mouse pointer, you then need to know what the different mouse pointers (icons) mean - Mouse Pointers change according to what your computer is doing and/or what you are doing.

  standard   text   prohibited   link   busy (background)   copy (drag)

When you first start moving the physical mouse with 1 inch movements for example you might think the mouse pointer , that is displayed on the desktop screen, has to move 1 inch as well. But thinking this would be wrong. The physical mouse only needs to be moved about 1 Centimeter in order for the mouse pointer (displayed on the desktop screen) to move about 1 inch. Try it and see:

Bring the mouse pointer to the very left edge of the desktop screen (your Monitor) then look at the physical mouse (on your table/mouse mat) and move it 1 centimeter. Now look at the position of the mouse pointer on your desktop screen. You should notice it has moved about 1 inch. The ratio between physical mouse movement and mouse pointer movement is to do with a mouse's DPI (Dots Per Inch).

So what happens when you reach the end (right-hand side) of the desktop screen and/or the edge of the mouse mat for example? Well, the trick is to slightly lift the physical mouse off the mouse mat, in order to reposition it. For example. If the mouse pointer is in the center of the desktop screen with the physical mouse being on the top edge of the mouse mat, you have two choices.

Either move the physical mouse, from the top of the mouse mat towards the center of the mouse mat, which means the mouse pointer will move down the desktop screen. Or, if you don't want the mouse pointer to move at all; lift the physical mouse slightly off the mouse mat (about 1 milimeter) and then reposition it (i.e. lift it up, away from the top edge of the mouse mat, and place it at the bottom of the mouse mat). With the latter method you can then start moving the physical mouse, from the bottom of the mouse mat, and mouse pointer again. The lifting technique takes a little time and practise, but once mastered, you will find that you don't need that much mouse mat space after all.

The MOUSE BUTTONS

Now you know how to reposition the physical mouse, and therefore move the mouse pointer displayed on the desktop screen, the next thing you need to know is what the physical Mouse Buttons do.

The Physical Mouse, with three buttons on it.

The left mouse button is known as the Select button, because it allows you to select (highlight or activate) files, menus, settings and so on when you press it. In computer terminology though you do not say "Press the Left Mouse Button". You say "Click the Left Mouse Button", because of the clicking sound it makes. So one press of the left mouse button is known as a Click. Pressing the left mouse button twice, quite fast on the same spot, is known as a Double Click. A double click launches (executes/runs) a piece of software known as a program.

The right mouse button is known as the Menu button, because it can display a menu that is related to the currently selected program or file when it is pressed (clicked) once. However. Not all programs or files support the right mouse (menu) button. What's more; Many mouses made for the apple mac do not support or even have the right mouse button. In those cases you can emulate the click (press) of a right mouse button by pressing and holding down the apple COMMAND keyboard key whilst you then click (press) the left mouse button.

The middle mouse button, which is not on every mouse, normally acts a "Special" button. Meaning, it could use a function from both the left and right mouse buttons and/or be programmed to do something entirely different for example. Years ago if you did not have a middle mouse button you had to press both the left and right mouse buttons down to perform the function of the middle mouse button. These days though it is not unusual to have a mouse with five buttons on it (i.e. Left, Right, Scroll, Backwards and Forwards). Saying the above; these days the middle mouse button is normally used as a Scroll button (i.e. to scroll up and down web pages).

THE CLICKS - DOUBLE CLICK / RIGHT CLICK / LEFT CLICK

Now I will show you three examples using Click and Double Click, just to make sure you can continue!! This first example shows a Double Click with the Left Mouse Button (LMB):

Move the mouse pointer towards to the Photos folder , which is just an icon at the end of the day, until the mouse pointer is hovering over it (Fig 1.0 below). Keep the mouse pointer still, whilst over the Pictures folder, and then double click the left mouse button (press the left mouse button twice, quite fast, on the same spot).

Fig 1.0 - Move the mouse pointer over the Photos folder (icon).....

Fig 1.1 - .....and then, with the mouse pointer kept still, double click the left mouse button.

Fig 1.2 - The double click has opened the Photos folder, to reveal its content.

The first click of your double click will have selected (Highlighted in Blue) the Photos folder (Fig 1.1 above), and the second click will have opened the Photos folder, if you kept the mouse pointer still (on the same spot).

Keeping the mouse pointer still for a double click can be tricky at first but practise does make perfect! If you do not double click on an icon properly that icon might still be highlighted, but the file (or folder) associated with it (i.e. the Photos folder) will definitely not be opened.

This next example will show Click with the Left Mouse Button (LMB) and Click with the Right Mouse Button (RMB). I will show you how to empty the TRASH (Trashcan / Dustbin) folder:

Move the mouse pointer towards to the Full TRASH icon until the mouse pointer is hovering over it (Fig 2.0 below). Keep the mouse pointer still, whilst over the icon, and then click (press once) the left mouse button. This will briefly select (highlight in black) the icon (Fig 2.1) before opening the TRASH folder (Fig 2.2).

Fig 2.0 - Move the mouse pointer over the Full Recycle Bin icon....

Fig 2.1 - ....and then click (press once) the left mouse button.

Fig 2.2 - The content of the opened TRASH folder is now revealed

With the TRASH folder open and revealing that there is a folder inside it called Photos, which may or may not have some folders and files of its own inside it, you can empty the TRASH folder (delete the Photos folder and its content) by moving the mouse pointer towards the ACTION (COG Wheel) drop-down menu. Once the mouse pointer is over the ACTION drop-down menu you can click on it to reveal its menu-items (Fig 2.2 above). From there you can select (click with the left mouse button) the EMPTY TRASH menu-item, that will now be highlighted in blue, in order to delete the content of the TRASH folder.

As an alternative to the above method of emptying the content of the TRASH folder, you can use the right mouse button instead. With this method you move the mouse pointer over the TRASH icon, as before, but this time you click the right mouse button (instead of the left mouse button) when the mouse pointer is over the TRASH icon. This will make its Options menu appear (Fig 3.1).

Fig 3.0 - Move the mouse pointer over the Full Recycle Bin icon....

Fig 3.1 - ....and then click (press once) the right mouse button to bring up the Options menu.

When the Options menu appears (Fig 3.1 above) move the mouse pointer over the EMPTY TRASH menu-item (below), so that it becomes highlighted in blue, and then click the left mouse button. Doing so will empty the content of the TRASH folder.

Fig 3.2 - Move the mouse pointer over the EMPTY TRASH menu-item and then click the left mouse button

Fig 3.3 - The content of the TRASH folder has been deleted

If you do not have a mouse with a right mouse button you can emulate the right mouse button by pressing the COMMAND keyboard key down while you click on the left mouse button. Also, as mentioned above, with a dock icon you can click on it and keep the click (left mouse button) held down for about 2 seconds to bring up its Options menu.

Clicking On TEXT LINKS

The final example shows how to navigate with the Camino Web Browser and Links. A link (also known as a HyperLink) is a piece of text, normally Blue in colour and underlined, that when clicked on takes you to a new website page or another part of the current website page. A HyperLink could be customized though. It might not be underlined and/or blue for example, but just an Image instead. Here are some examples (Do not click on the examples until you have read about the BACK and FORWARD buttons, below):

Click on this Text Link to go to the Index page. This is a standard Text Link with the colours changed. If you click on the link (text) it will change colour to denote that you have clicked on it at least once. This is useful when a website page has many text links on it because the colour coding acts as an History Marker (You know you have been to that website page before).

 

This is an Image Link. If you click on the link (Image) it will take you to the Index page. Normally a website designer would take you to a page relevant to the image. For example. If the image was of an Artist it might take you to a website page that gives details about the artist and shows their latest Paintings. In this case I could of taken you to a page called About John.

Finally. If you use the Camino Web Browser and want to go back to a previous page you click on the BACK button (Fig 4.0). And to go forward one page you click on the FORWARD button (Fig 4.1). Sometimes you will have the choice of going forward or backward (Fig 4.2), in which case you would click on the appropriate button. This going backwards and forwards between web pages is possible because Camino and other web browsers such as Safari, Firefox and Google Chrome keep an history of the web pages you have visited. However, if any of these buttons are faded out it means there are no pages to go to in that direction - No going back (Fig 4.1), no going forward (4.0) and not going anywhere (Fig 4.3).

 
Fig 4.0  Go back 1 page
 
Fig 4.1  Go forward 1 page
 
Fig 4.2  Go back / forward 1 page
 
Fig 4.3  No pages to go to

The MOUSE POINTERS

Now you have learnt about clicking, double clicking and hyperlinks, the next thing to familiarise yourself with are the Mouse Pointers; which are one of the most helpful things on a computer but unfortunately go unnoticed. Take this scenario for example:

Switch Computer ON.  Type Password, if you have one.  Desktop appears.  Double Click on a Microsoft WORD file.

If you think there is nothing wrong with this scenario you would be mistaken. Why? Because you have to WAIT for the computer to finish running its Start-Up List before you can even consider double clicking on the Microsoft WORD file for example.

The start-up list is "A list of tasks and applications to be launched before and after the Desktop Screen appears". Anti-Virus applications/tasks, Printer applications/tasks and Microsoft Office applications/tasks are normally in the list. As each task in the start-up list gets executed (run/launched) the Desktop Screen is almost ready to appear. What happens is; one or two tasks might complete before the desktop screen appears whilst other executed tasks might have to wait for the desktop screen to appear before they can be completed - Perhaps because they rely on the desktop screen in some way (i.e. its Screen size) and/or use pieces of the other completed tasks in order to work properly. This is why you need to wait for the computer to finish running the start-up list.

Imagine what would happen if you opened (double click on) a Microsoft WORD file before the tasks/applications that Microsoft WORD relies upon have not completed yet, such as an Anti-Virus task/application and/or Printer task/application. You might get problems - You could unknowingly open a virus infected Microsoft WORD file for example before the Anti-Virus task/application has had chance to scan that file. Or you could unknowingly download a virus infected file from the Internet - Turn off (shutdown) the computer as normal, start it the next day and then unknowingly open the virus infected file. All because you could not wait a short time for the computer to finish processing its start-up list.

The normal time to wait for the computer to finish processing the start-up list, after the Desktop Screen has appeared, is between 30 seconds and 1 minute (Intel Apple Mac) but no more than 2 minutes (PPC Apple Mac).

Unfortunately, Apple have not put a "I am ready" message on the computer when the start-up list has finished simply because how would they know? A task or application can run in the Background, which means the computer does not wait for it to complete before running the next task or application. Instead it allows all tasks and applications to run at once (it multi-tasks) - To speed things up. This is why the desktop screen appears after the first set of start-up list tasks and applications have been executed, and maybe completed, but also before the final set of start-up list tasks and applications have completed. As each task and application completes the mouse pointer usually turns into the Busy Pointer, to denote a program is busy completing, before it turns back into the Standard Pointer. Here is an explanation of the main eight OS X mouse pointers:

Standard pointer - Indicates that the computer is running normally. You use it to select things with either a click or a double click.

Busy pointer - Indicates that a task, application and/or the computer is busy running a Foreground Task or Background Task.

A Background Task is a job (task) that is running in the background without the need to bother you directly. For example. When you click on the (Quick Print) button in Microsoft WORD, to print a very large document, the standard mouse pointer changes into the Busy pointer to indicate the Print task of Microsoft WORD is busy (in the background) preparing that very large document for the printer. You can still carry on typing or whatever though because it is only the Print task that is running in the background and not the rest of Microsoft WORD. When the Print task has finished it lets you know by changing the mouse pointer back to the standard mouse pointer.

The same applies to the start-up list. Each application in the list is treated as a task. So wait until the standard mouse pointer no longer changes into the Busy pointer (indicating there are no more tasks/applications running from the start-up list) and wait for the 30 seconds or what ever.

A Foreground Task is a job (task) that is running in the front of you, which means it actually stops your application (i.e. Microsoft WORD) completely until the current task (i.e. printing) has finished. So with the above Print task, it would be in the foreground this time which means you could not carry on typing or whatever until the printing has finished (Until the very large document has been sent to the printer).

So when you see the Busy mouse pointer be patient with your computer by not adding (opening) additional tasks and/or applications. Otherwise you may experience an application crash (The application will need restarting, which means you might lose your work) or hanging (The computer freezes, which means you need to restart the computer and you have almost definitely lost your work).


Text pointer - Indicates that you are over an Edit Box, ready for typing in to and/or ready for editing the text that is already inside the box. It can also indicate that you are over some editable text, which is not inside an edit box. Here are two examples of an edit box:

                     

The vertical line at the very end of the WEBSITE ADDRESS Edit Box (text box) is the Flashing Cursor. It flashes to indicate your current position within the edit (text) box. With the EMAIL Edit Box I have not selected (highlighted / clicked inside) it, hence why it has no flashing cursor - Only the selected WEBSITE ADDRESS Edit Box has a flashing cursor. Also. The standard mouse pointer will only change into the text mouse pointer if you have it hovering over an edit box or some editable text.

In terms of an edit box being able to edit text, the common use for the WEBSITE ADDRESS Edit Box would be to change the text from www.google.com to www.msn.com for example. With the EMAIL Edit Box it would be to change the user name (e-mail address) to a different user name of course.


Link pointer - When you hover the standard mouse pointer over a Link it changes into a link pointer.


Copy pointer - This mouse pointer is seen when Copying (Dragging & Dropping) folders and/or files from A to B whereby the original folders and files are kept where they are. In other words, this mouse pointer is seen when performing a Copy & Paste using a dragging action as opposed to performing a Copy & Paste using menus.


Unavailable / Prohibited pointer - Indicates that the action you are trying to do is forbidden (prohibited or unavailable).


Vertical Resize pointer - Used when you are vertically (up / down) resizing a window pane for example.


Horizontal Resize pointer - Used when you are horizontally (left / right) resizing a window pane for example.


THINGS TO REMEMBER


THE APPLE MAC
THE DESKTOP SCREEN
Index