Beginner: 5 Mouse Tricks in Windows that You Might Not Know

By Taylor Gibb on August 21st, 2012

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We have already shown you 5 Windows Command Prompt Tricks You Probably Don’t Know, and we received some great feedback in the comments, so we decided to share 5 Mouse Tricks we use fairly regularly here at How-To Geek, read on to find out what they are.

Note: some of these tips work in Microsoft Office or other applications, not necessarily directly in Windows.

Dragging with the Right Mouse Button

Drag and drop operations in Windows can seem to result in random behavior, however, its not random at all:

  • Dragging a file from a volume (Drive Letter) to another location on the same volume will result in a move operation.
  • Dragging a file from a drive to another drive will result in a copy operation.

But what if you want to make a copy of a file on the same drive? Sure, you could use the context menu but that’s just extra clicks–instead drag your file or folder with the right mouse button, when you release the button a hidden context menu will appear, allowing you to choose what operation you want to carry out.

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Selecting Text in Columns

This might be our favorite trick of all, and to my surprise hardly anyone knows about it. All you have to do is hold the alt key while selecting some text and drag your mouse either up and down.

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Note: This tip works with most applications like Microsoft Office, however if you use a very simple editor like Notepad it probably wont work. It also works in the Command Prompt.

Selecting Multiple Pieces of Text

Similar to the alt tip, you can hold ctrl and select multiple pieces of text, if you choose to copy them they will be concatenated on the clipboard. This works in Microsoft Office, and can be very helpful when editing.

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You can also use this tip to select multiple files in Explorer.

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Accessing Hidden Windows Explorer Options

If you hold the Shift key while right-clicking on a file or folder, you’ll get access to a ton of new items, like opening a command prompt there, or new items in the Send To menu.

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Open and Close Tabs with the Middle Mouse Button

Lastly but not least is the ability to open tabs quickly by clicking on links with the middle mouse button.

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You can also quickly close a tab by middle clicking on it.

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If you find yourself using any other tips or tricks, let us know in the comments.

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 08/21/12
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