The Right Click on the Mouse

OK for the last few years I’ve been working on Macs. Now in my new job I use PCs. I recently discovered the magic of a right click.

It makes Excel and Word and well just about everything so easy.

Why doesn’t Apple copy this? I admit Apples are much more user friendly but in this case they fail.

You can buy aftermarket mice with more than one button for Macs. Or you could try pressing one of the control keys (whatever they are on Macs, alt or control or command or splat/cloverleaf or option or whatever) at the same time as the button, which may do the same thing as right-clicking on a PC in the same program would.

Markxxx: Why doesn’t Apple copy this? I admit Apples are much more user friendly but in this case they fail.

Because they accused IBM/Microsoft for stealing Windows/mouse controls. When the former came out with multi-button mice, Apple didn’t want to be accused of the same.

And both are inferior to Unix three button mice. In Xterm the middle button does a copy when text is selected and left button pastes it. Combine that with proficiency in vi and you don’t need any of those pantywaist pull down menus. You can even get around that with a two button mouse by “both clicking.”

Microsoft has always ripped off Apple, not the other way around! What are you trying to do, turn the universe upside-down?

The OP reminds me of a funny practical joke to play on computer-illiterate co-workers.

Go over to their computer while thy’re away at lunch and change the mouse from right-handed to a lefty model (or the inverse if appropriate).

Sit back when they get back. Watch the frustrations grow.

Someone I did this to once was actually on hold with Tech Support before I finally came in and changed it back.

Yer pal,

My WAG is that Apple doesn’t have a multi-button mouse because they never had before and haven’t gotten any serious complaints about it. Apple’s pretty famous for this. On the old Apple IIs, a bunch of garbage would flash on the screen when the computer switched from lo-res to hi-res graphic modes. This was because they had this problem in early models and didn’t know what was wrong and then, by the time they diagnosed it, they figured that nobody ever complained, so why spend time and money to fix it?

I love that ability, its especially handy when you’re working with lots of windows in conjunction with each other. Some people think this is a trivial detail. But if I had to guess how much time this function alone has saved me, it would be astronomical.

Hmm. . .

Nope. Can’t think of a single thing that the right button of a Wintel mouse will do that a Mac mouse won’t do when you simply hold the button down for a moment.

In summary, what Apple accomplishes with one button requires two buttons ad a few hundred more lines of code on a Wintel machine.

What on earth makes you conclude that it takes “hundreds more lines” to process a seperate button click vs. checking to see how long a button has been held down?

Microsoft: Did this data line go high? Do X. Did that other data line go high? Do Y.

Apple: Did this data line go high? Do X. Oh wait, it’s still high? How long has it been? Is it 500 milliseconds (or whatever) yet? And it’s still high? Okay, did it go low in between, making it a double click? No? Oh, I guess it’s time to do Y.

Mac mice have one button to minimize the number of decisions the end user (presumed to know NOTHING about computers) has to make.

If the end user is slightly more savvy, there are somewhat clunky ways (hold down the button for a while and wait for things to change, or press one of the control keys at the same time) for them to accomplish some of the things they could if they only had a multi-button mouse in the first place. But don’t kid yourself into believing that it’s a better design (unless, of course, you fit the presumption).

I have both a mac and a PC, and the N milliseconds it takes for the mac to go from ‘left-click’ to ‘right-click’ functionality is incredibly annoying, so I got one of those cool Kensington trackballs.

However, by far the best thing to happen to mice in the long, sad history of mice has been the scroll wheel. I don’t know who invented it, but my most recent PC came with a microsoft mouse with a scroll wheel. The wheel can be clicked like a middle button, or it can be ‘wheeled’ like a one dimensional track ball.

The upshot of this is that you can scroll through a document by flicking your finger on the wheel. After one week of using this, I am now unable to survive without it. I was reading a book (you know, one of those paper things) at work the other day with my hand idly sitting on my mouse, and when I got to the end of the page, my finger flicked the scroll wheel. Now that’s pathetic.

Why would you use vi when Pico and Emacs are available?

<<And both are inferior to Unix three button mice. In Xterm the middle button does a copy when text is selected and left button pastes it. Combine that with proficiency in vi and you don’t need any of those pantywaist pull down menus. You can even get around that with a two button mouse by “both clicking.”>>

I agree completely, douglips. I got a scrolling mouse at work last month and I love it. It drives me crazy when I’m at home now because I keep trying to scroll and–oops, don’t have that kind of mouse here.

Enlighten me about the ‘third button’ feature, though, if you would. I noticed right away that I could push down on the scroll wheel, and that it makes a funny icon on my screen, but I’ve not yet been able to figure out what I can do with it.

“I should not take bribes and Minister Bal Bahadur KC should not do so either. But if clerks take a bribe of Rs 50-60 after a hard day’s work, it is not an issue.” ----Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, Current Prime Minister of Nepal

In the beginning the mouse was a Mac mouse, and it was good, or at least good enough. With Windows, the PC got mouse, and to be different from the Mac, the PC mouse had two buttons. But no one did much of anything with the second (right) button.

With Windows95, Microsoft implemented some cool right-click functionality and only then did Mac users start to say “Hey, how come WE don’t have that?”

Backwards compatibility with existing equipment has demanded that the MacOS not require a second mouse button to do second mouse button things, so Apple implemented second-mouse-button things by using Control-click.

Soon, though, with MacOS X, the Mac world will move to a multi-button-mouse default assumption.

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You blouse wearing buttercup with your fancy Emacs and Pico. …

Sorry, I slipped into my Braveheart/Groundskeeper Willy/Fat Bastard persona for a sec there.

vi is universal and extremely powerful. “Better” is debatable once you’ve learned a useful program. Dvorak is better than qwerty but not if I have to learn to type all over again and can’t count on it being on every system I want to use.

Sexy man, sexy man, singing like a sexy man can…

Lucky, double click the mouse icon in the “Control Panel”, select the “Wheel” tab and you will see what your options are. I have my “Wheel Button” set to execute a double click. Very useful.

“There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.”
~P.J. O’Rourke~

Yeah! I got a scroll mouse at work too, and I thought it was nutty at first! It’s great! I gotta steal…I mean, get me one of these for use at home.


I was using Win95 at work and the right click just don’t happen. They finally upgraded me to Win98 that I’m used to. The work computer finally does what I want when I right click.

I run a program at work that is DOS and only will run in DOS, Win 95 not so good, or WIN98 great. Win NT never. The program is about $30,000 to replace, so it isn’t happening soon. Every body else is running NT.

The last fully compatable upgrade of our spreadsheet is not on a couple of the machines either. The macros lock in continous loops, and the spreadsheets are vital to our continuing to do business.

Isn’t continuely upgrading fun!

I’m only your wildest fear, from the corners of your darkest thoughts.

When you right click a window or a picture, it gives a menu with properties. That then has the url address. How do you copy that address to the clipboard. I can only highlight it, buyt two times, with persistent clicking, I got a copy menu. I’m still in Windows 95 (due to cheapness).

Two buttons? You can get more than that. I use a drawing pen stylus. Its a nifty time saver. Instead of rolling rolling rolling, I just point to the area of the pad & its the same as the area on the screen.

It also has a automatic double click button.

Lucky- That unusual icon that pops up when you hit the wheel button signifies that you can currently scroll your document by moving the entire mouse. Sometimes only on the vertical plane, but occasionally in all directions (but not in 3-d or back in time).

Worse than being used to a wheel mouse and going to a mouse without one is being on a machine where the wheel just won’t scroll. Or being on an Apple. (Good God! I own half a dozen Macs and two Newtons and I just ripped on Apple. Guess I count as a Wintel Convert…)