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How to Use a Mouse with Mac OS X Lion

1 of 8 in Series: The Essentials of Getting Around the Mac OS X Lion Screen

Are you new to the Mac and just figuring out how to move the mouse around? Now is a good time to go over some fundamental stuff that you need to know for just about everything you’ll be doing on a Mac in Lion. You’ll soon be clicking, double-clicking, pressing, and pointing all over the place.

Now for some basic terminology:

  • Point: Before you can click or press anything, you have to point to it. Place your hand on your mouse, and move it so that the cursor arrow is over the object you want — like on top of an icon or a button.

  • Click: Also called single click. Use your index finger to push the mouse button all the way down and then let go so the button produces a satisfying clicking sound. (If you have one of the new optical Apple Pro mice, you push down the whole thing to click.) Use a single-click to highlight an icon, press a button, or activate a check box or window.

  • Double click: Click twice in rapid succession. With a little practice, you can perfect this technique in no time. Use a double click to open a folder or to launch a file or application.

  • Control+click: Hold down the Control key while single-clicking. Control+clicking is the same as right-clicking a Windows system and displays a menu (called a contextual menu) where you Control+clicked. In fact, if you’re blessed with a two-or-more-button mouse such as the Apple Magic Mouse, you can right-click and avoid having to hold down the Control key.

  • Drag: Dragging something usually means you have to click it first and hold down the mouse button. Then you move the mouse on your desk or mouse pad so that the cursor and whatever you select move across the screen. The combination of holding down the button and dragging the mouse is usually referred to as clicking and dragging.

  • Choosing an item from a menu: To get to Mac OS menu commands, you must first open a menu and then pick the option you want. Point at the name of the menu you want with your cursor, press the mouse button down, and then drag downward until you select the command you want. When the command is highlighted, finish selecting by letting go of the mouse button.

If you’re a longtime Mac user, you probably hold down the mouse button the whole time between clicking the name of the menu and selecting the command you want. You can still do it that way, but you can also click the menu name to open it, release the mouse button, drag down to the item you want to select, and then click again. In other words, OS X menus stay open after you click them, even if you’re not holding down the mouse button.

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The Essentials of Getting Around the Mac OS X Lion Screen

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