Posted: 10/3/2012 10:47:15 PM
You use your mouse for just about
everything: you drag, you drop, you highlight, you scroll. But even if
you click your mouse a thousand times a day, I bet I've got a few secret
mouse tricks you've never heard of.
You surely know that double clicking highlights a word, and you might
even know that triple clicking highlights a paragraph. But have you ever
wanted to select a column of text in a Word document, without getting
all the text to the left and right of it? Here's how you can: Hold down
the alt and left mouse button (on a Mac, option-left mouse), and drag
the cursor over the section you want to select. The coolest thing about
this trick is that the text you are selecting does not even need to be
formatted as a column for this to work.
Most mice have a scroll wheel. Sure, it takes you up and down on a page,
but in combination with other keys, it can do much more:
- Scroll sideways: In many versions of
Excel, holding down the shift key while scrolling will take you
sideways. That's super helpful in a big spreadsheet.
- Scroll wheel as back button: In most web
browsers, if you hold the shift key while using the scroll wheel, it
works like the back button: You can fly through all the sites you've
recently visited. (Some mice have side buttons that work like back and
forward buttons in your browser, too.)
- Scroll to zoom: Holding ctrl and scrolling
lets you zoom in or out of the page you're viewing. Ctrl-scroll up
zooms you in; ctrl-scroll down zooms you back out. On a Mac, this trick
will zoom in and out your whole screen, not just the document you're in.
While most of the tricks I've listed so far work in either Windows or
Mac OS, here are a few that are specific to Windows machines:
- To maximize a window: drag the title bar to the top.
- To minimize all windows except the active window: "Shake"
the title bar. Then if you want to restore all the windows you just
minimized with this shortcut, just click again on the title bar of the
window in view.
- To view two windows in a 50-50 split: Drag
the title bar of one document to the left edge of your screen, then
drag a second document to the right edge; they will snap into position
in a nifty side-by-side view.
Bonus Sneaky Trick
Suppose you want to walk away from your hyper-secure work computer for a
few minutes and not have to re-log in when you get back. Sure, you
could change the sleep settings, but this idea is much more clever: Set
your mouse on top of your analog watch or a clock. The mouse tracks the
second hand's movement and it tricks your computer into thinking you're
still busy working. Of course, there are valid security reasons for NOT
using this trick, but I still think it's cool that it works.