Hi! As mundane a topic as it is, setting up your mouse to your liking can make your computer life dramatically less stressful. I did an informal poll in my office and everyone I asked had never looked at the mouse applet in the control panel…ever! That means that most people use the mouse with its default settings (which, by the way, are ok) instead of changing the mouse settings to make it more comfortable to use.
After you finish reading this post, I hope you’ll take a look at your mouse settings and make them perfect for you!
To get to the mouse applet, press Start > Control Panel and look for the mouse icon. Double click it and the mouse properties dialog box will open. If you have a wired mouse, you’ll likely have the standard mouse properties window: 5 tabs across the top — buttons, pointers, pointer options, wheel and hardware. We’ll deal with the buttons, pointer options and wheel tabs.
note: your mouse applet might be a little different if you have a wireless mouse or have third-party mouse software installed. If yours is different, you might have to look around in the tabs to find the controls I’ll describe here but they’re there. And, since I’m not covering all the options, be sure to look at the other settings — there might be one that you’d like to try.
And remember: you can’t break anything with this stuff. Worst case, you hate the settings and you go into the applet and put them back to where they were! So let’s go!
Buttons: this tab has three sections; let’s talk about the one in the middle. The Double-click speed setting determines how fast you have to double click to get the computer to react. If you have problems opening things when you think you’re double-clicking, this setting is for you! The slower you make the setting, the longer the tolerance for the second click. The slower speeds are a boon for older users who have a hard time clicking rapidly. Mess around with the speed in the test folder on the right until you’re happy. (move it to the fastest and see if you can make the test folder move…it’s REALLY fast!). Making the speed slower doesn’t have any impact if you continue to click fast; it just tells the computer to give you some leeway if you happen to double-click a little slower.
That tip, alone, could be a lifesaver for you! But wait… there’s more!
Pointer Options: this tab also has three sections and we’ll deal with all three. The motion section controls how fast the mouse moves on your screen. This will make your mouse feel more responsive; remember, though… a little goes a long way! Make a small adjustment toward ‘fast’, hit apply and see if you like it. I have mine bumped up a little bit.
The next section, snap to, automatically moves the mouse to the default button when you have a dialog box open. Some people like this since the default is usually what you want. You don’t have to move the mouse, you just click. If you are one of those people who have accidental clicks going on, this is NOT for you since you’ll be accepting the default when you might not have wanted to!
The last one, visibilty, is pretty cool too. This section gives you help in finding your mouse on the screen. If you have to move your mouse around to find it on your screen, this setting is for you! Pointer trails leave a trail of the mouse as you move it; set it for ‘long’, apply the change, and take a look. You might like it.
The last setting shows you where the mouse is when you press the ctrl key. If you frequently can’t find your mouse on the screen, even if you move it, this is a huge winner for you.
The Pointers tab lets you select a theme for your mouse pointer. You can have dark pointers, 3D looking things, and others that Microsoft puts there for your pleasure. I use the 3D-Bronze scheme, in case you’re curious.
Also take a look at the Wheel tab. It controls how fast the scroll wheel moves the screen up and down.
Controlling your mouse will make your computer experience better. One of the first things I do when I set up a new PC is bump up the mouse speed. A responsive mouse makes the PC feel so much faster!
Leave me a comment to let me know if this helped you.