What Can The Wheel On My Mouse Be Used For?


We often get so used to using a device for one or two things that we fail to remember what else it can be used for. Such is the case with the wheel that is on most computer mice.

I use it mostly for scrolling up and down a page, but occasionally I’ll need to enlarge or shrink the text on a page and it’s perfect for doing that as well.

To enlarge the text on a page, hold the Ctrl key and turn the scroll wheel away from you. To decrease the size, hold the Ctrl key and rotate the scroll wheel towards you.

A few other things you can do with the mouse wheel and Internet Explorer or Firefox:

1. Closing Tabs
To close a tab just place your mouse cursor on a tab and click with the scroll wheel. This is more convenient and faster than clicking the small cross on the tabs, although sometimes you may have to click the wheel twice.

2. Opening hyperlinks in a new tab
Very often we would like to open a link in a page in a new tab. The normal way to do this is by right-clicking on the the link and choosing ‘Open Link in New Tab‘.  A much quicker way is to just click on the link with the scroll wheel and the link will open in a new tab. You can even click on the Home button or the Forward/Back button to open the respective url in a new tab.

3. Moving Forward/Back
You can use the scroll wheel as an alternative to using the Forward and Back buttons on the toolbar. Hold down the Shift key and rotate the wheel forward to view the next page or rotate backward to see the previous page.

4. Scrolling

On most mice with wheels, you can press down on the wheel once and then by just moving the mouse up or down, the screen will scroll. The further down the page you move the mouse, the faster it will scroll. To turn this off and return to normal use, click the mouse wheel down again.

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7 Responses

  1. Bill, I really enjoy your very useful and practical posts. I knew about some of these but not all. Personally, I hate using a mouse but that’s just me. 🙂 Thanks for the info.

  2. Thank you. I use a mouse with everything from laptops to pc’s. I just got a Mac Book and am using a mouse with that as well. Are you a keyboarder?

  3. Hi Bill,

    I’m familiar with using the middle wheel button to open a new tab when browsing, however I recently bought a new laptop and wireless mouse, and can’t get it to work like it used to on my older system.

    Where should I go to change settings to make my middle mouse button fulfill this purpose again?

    Thanks!

    • A couple of questions for you…What operating system are you using? Did the mouse come with software to install? If so, did you install it?

      • I am running Windows 7 Home Premium, and yes I have installed the mouse driver, which has button programming functions.

        I wasn’t able to find a way to program the wheel to open a new tab when browsing (using the mouse driver program). I was hoping that maybe there was another way to do this…?

      • What browser are you using? does it scroll as it should? Is the only that’s not working on it the new tab option? Sorry for all of the questions but I may have something and I just need to be sure.

      • Hi,

        I recently came across a way to make it work using my mouse driver program, it seemed as though the function was under some weird title, that didn’t make it very easy to identify… needles to say, all is working like it should now… thanks for your time though!

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