For Seniors: Use a Laptop's Touchpad
A laptop includes a touchpad, which you use in place of a traditional mouse to select items and text onscreen. Using a laptop's touchpad, you move a cursor or pointer onscreen and use it to select things and issue commands.
A laptop’s mouse can be one of two types: the touchpad and the pointing stick. The touchpad, by far the most common type, is a flat area located beneath your keyboard. A pointing stick is a small button located among your computer’s keys.
When you move your finger across the touchpad surface or place your finger on the pointing stick and move the stick slightly in any direction, a corresponding mouse pointer moves around your computer screen. You then use the left or right buttons on the touchpad to perform clicking actions that open or select things on-screen.
If you’re used to a desktop computer mouse and can’t get the hang of the touchpad or pointing stick on your laptop, consider buying a portable wireless mouse. By plugging a small transmitter into a USB port on your laptop, you can use this more standard mouse to point, click, and drag.
The left button on a mouse or touchpad is used for left-click actions, the right button for right-click actions. Left-clicking opens or selects items; right-clicking opens a shortcut menu from which you can choose commands to perform actions. Using a laptop's touchpad or a wireless mouse is similar — you just point and click, using the buttons on the touchpad or mouse.
Clicking: When people say click, they mean press and release the left mouse button. Clicking has a variety of uses. You can click while in a document to move the insertion point, a little vertical line that indicates where your next action will take place. For example, you might click in front of a word and then type another word to insert it in a letter you’re writing.
Clicking is also used in various windows to select check boxes or radio buttons (also called option buttons) to turn features on or off, or to select objects such as a picture or table in your document.
Right-clicking: If you press the right touchpad button, you right-click. Windows displays a shortcut menu specific to the item you clicked. For example, if you right-click a picture, the menu that appears gives you options for working with the picture. If you right-click the Windows desktop, the menu that appears lets you choose commands that display a different view or change desktop properties.
Clicking and dragging: To click and drag, you press and continue to hold down the left mouse button and then move (drag) the onscreen pointer to another location.
For instance, you can press the left touchpad button (keeping it held down) and drag your finger on a touchpad up, down, right, or left to highlight contents of your document. This highlighted text is selected, meaning that any action you perform, such as pressing the Delete key on your keyboard or clicking a button for Bold formatting, is performed on the selected text.
Scrolling: Many touchpads and wireless mice provide a simple way to scroll through a document or website site. With a touchpad, you run your fingertip up or down in an area marked on the right or left to scroll through a document. With certain wireless mice, you roll the wheel down (toward you) to move down through pages in a document; scroll up to move backward in your document.
Some touchpads have extra bells and whistles, like allowing you to use actions in a certain area of the touchpad to scroll faster. Check your laptop user manual to see whether your device offers special features.