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More for your mouse

May 30, 2003 14:31 IST
How to get the most out of your little desktop friend

Last time we spoke about how to improve your keyboard use,  revealed hidden secrets of the keyboard and gave you handy tips and tricks. This time we have some tips to improve the performance of your mouse, proper positioning, utilities you can download to make the mouse useful and even mouse movements for some fun!

Adjust your mouse to your convenience

There is more to your little desktop friend than you might think. It has many options available for customising and operating it. For example, if you are a left-handed person, you can configure your mouse to suit your needs. Apart from this, you can also change the cursors and adjust the speed of double-clicking. Here's how you do it if you are running WindowsTM on your machine:

From your control panel, click on Start >> Settings >> Control Panel and double click on the Mouse icon. On the Buttons tab, you can configure your mouse to be left-handed or right-handed. Using the Motion tab you can set the speed of your pointer and how much the pointer should accelerate when it moves. On the Pointers tab you can customise your pointer icon.

If you don't like to double click, there's an option to get rid of this function. Open Windows Explorer, and choose Tools >> Folder Options. In the General tab, click on the Settings button. Under the section 'Click items as follows', select 'Single-Click to open an item an item (point to select)'. Once this setting is selected, all folders and your desktop behave more like a Web page. A single click will open a document, a folder, or an application. To select an item, just move the pointer to it without clicking.

Useful Link:

-- Cursors and alternative mouse pointers

Mouse ergonomics
Excessive use of the mouse leads to wrist or arm injuries. To avoid strain on your wrists, arms and hands, the keyboard and mouse should be positioned within a comfortable distance of each other. Here are some tips you can follow to reduce the injuries:

  • Place your mouse close to the keyboard and within easy reach
  • Use your elbow to move the mouse, not the wrist
  • Limit the amount of mouse usage
  • Make sure you are holding your mouse correctly
  • Don't hold the mouse when not using it and use a light grip when using it
  • Keep your wrists in straight or neutral position
  • While reading long articles, make sure you use the scroll wheel of the mouse and leave your hands free. When pressed, the scroll wheel acts as a button. It activates the 'autoscroll' feature that lets you scroll up, down, left and right by moving the mouse in that direction. Press the wheel again to turn off the feature.

Useful links:

-- Setup, positioning and tips for healthy mouse usage
-- Exercise for arms and wrists after prolonged use of the mouse 

Mouse utilities
These are some free programs and utilities you can download to enhance the performance of your mouse or just have some fun.

Cool Mouse 97
This utility enhances your secondary (right) mouse button by defining more functions to it. If you have a three-button-mouse, then this utility can be used to assign more function to the middle button.

A nifty mouse program that can recognise the mouse gestures you draw on the screen using your mouse and perform the 'action' associated with that gesture. See this page for examples.

ToggleMouse (Shareware)
Assign functions to mouse buttons and record and playback mouse recordings. Also includes a special features for trackball users and support for Logitech four button mice

Useful links:

-- Mouse buyers guide 
-- Good mouse keeping

Vidya Srinivasa Rao