optical mouse.gifMost of us have a mouse sitting right beside our computers. So why not make the most of it by using a few tips and tricks that makes mousing around a little easier.

optical mouse.gifComputer mice can be extremely useful. These little tips and tricks will make your mousing even better.

The first tip involves double-clicking. Some people have trouble double-clicking a mouse. So it is important to know that you can adjust the amount of time between the two clicks of the mouse to suit your individual needs. 

Just open the Control Panel by clicking on Start, choosing Control Panel, and double-clicking on the Mouse icon. If you don't immediately see the Mouse icon, choose Switch to Classic View from the menu on the left and you will then see the Mouse icon. After you double-click that icon, you will see a window where you will be able to control many of the mouse functions. Click on the Buttons tab and you will be able to change the Double Click Speed. You simply move the slider between Slow and Fast. There is even a test area which you can use to try out the double-clicking speed. On this tab you will also see a place where you can swap the traditional mouse buttons to create a mouse for a left-handed person.

If you look through the tabs in this area you will find that you can control many different things about your mouse. You can change what each button does and even how the wheel between the two buttons works. If you have a laptop with a touchpad, you will find that this area will also give you options to control the touch pad.

Did you know that you can also tell your computer that you would rather not have to double-click the mouse at all?

Here's how to make Windows XP and Windows Vista respond to a single-click instead of a double-click:

1. Click Start, then click Control Panel. Then click Folder Options. If you don't see the Folder Options option, choose Switch to Classic View from the menu on the left.

2. On the General tab, locate the Click items as follows section and click to put a circle into the radio button in front of Single-click to open an item (point to select).

3. Now decide which of the two "underline" options you want. The choices are Underline icon titles consistent with my browser or Underline icon titles only when I point at them. The second option, which is the one I use, allows your desktop to look more like it always has, but you can use either option or you can try them both to see which you like better.

4. Click OK and you're done.

There are many other ways to make the most of your mouse. One of the tips that I use every day is to double-click the title bar at the top of any window to make that window expand or contract. It is just like using the minimize and maximize icons that are seen in the upper right hand corner of each screen. If you have any trouble determining where the title bar is, just remember that the minimize and maximize icons and the red X to close the windows are all on the right side of the title bar.

However, double-clicking the title bar is much easier than having to get your pointer situated exactly on the small maximize and minimize icons in the corner of the screen. By the way, this form of double-clicking will still be viable even if you enable the single-click mode that I talked about above.

There are also two other mousing tips that I would like to share with you. These both revolve around the wheel that is found between the two buttons in most modern mice. If you are using a tabbed browser like Internet Explorer 7 or 8, Firefox, or Opera, instead of clicking on a link, you can simply press the mouse wheel on the link to open the link in a new tab. This allows you to have more than once web page open at a time. If you haven't tried this yet, it is a real productivity booster that you should try. Remember, although it will open the link in a new tab, you may have to click on that tab to see the window.

The wheel between the buttons on your mouse can also help you save your vision. When you are on a website, press and hold down the CTRL button on your keyboard while moving the wheel up and down. This will make the text on the webpage increase and/or decrease in size. Increasing the size of the text can make reading many web pages easier to read - especially if you have aging eyes. This tip also works in many other programs including Microsoft Word.

By the way, if you are using a laptop with a scroll pad, you can simulate this function on many computers by holding down the CTRL button and moving your finger up and down the rightmost side of the touchpad. If you do this, most of the time, the text will increase and/or decrease just as it does with the mouse wheel.

Remember that the computer mouse is your friend and learning to personalize it and use it properly will bring you increased computer satisfaction and productivity. And that's something that everyone strives for.