Spreadsheets: Getting Started, Part III

 Back     Forward    "Getting Started" Home    Excel Review Home

 

III. Mouse Basics
    Point
    Left-Hand and Right-Hand Click
    Double-click
    Selecting More Than One (Contiguous) Cell
    Selecting Non-contiguous Cells
    Mouse Pointer Shapes

 

Point

Use the mouse to point at objects in the workspace that you want to manipulate. The mouse pointer shape changes to give you a clue about what operations are available.

Return to Top

 

Left-Hand and Right-Hand Click

The left-hand mouse button is most often used for selection. The right-hand mouse button is most often used to provide options by means of a pop-up shortcut menu. The shortcut menu is a subset of the menu system that shows only the options likely to apply to your selection. For example: Click with the right mouse button anywhere on an Excel toolbar to see a list of all available toolbars.

Return to Top

 

Double-click

Some operations are available by double-clicking with the mouse. That is, giving two quick, light clicks on the left-hand mouse button. For example: Double-click a cell entry to begin editing the contents of that cell.

Technique is important in the double-click. If the interval between the two clicks is too long Excel interprets them as two single clicks.

You can change the way Windows interprets the speed of your mouse clicks by selecting Start, Settings, Control Panel and selecting the mouse icon.

Return to Top

 

Selecting More Than One (Contiguous) Cell

You might want to select a range of cells to perform the same operation on all of them with a single command. To do this, click a cell at one corner of the range of cells you want to select. Make sure the mouse pointer is a wide crosshair shape (not an arrow). Then hold down the left mouse button and move the mouse over the worksheet to include the cells you want selected. Reverse-highlighting indicates which cells are selected. The cell you started out with is the only one that doesn't appear in reverse highlighting.

Tip: If you want to select a very large range, one that's not conveniently visible all at once on the screen, here's an easier way than dragging with the mouse. From the menus, select Edit, Go To. In the dialog box that displays, enter the address of the range you want to select in the "Reference" box. For example, A1:Q109. Click OK and Excel selects that range.

Return to Top

 

Selecting Non-contiguous Cells

Excel makes it easy to select noncontiguous cells. Select the first cell or range of cells you want to include. Then hold down the CTRL key and move the mouse pointer to select a noncontiguous cell or range. Repeat as many times as necessary, holding down the CTRL key the entire time, to select all the cells/ranges you want.

You can also use the same Edit, Go to option described in the tip above. In this case, enter in the "Reference" box the addresses of all the ranges and cells you want to select, separated by commas. For example:

Tip: Click the Special button on the "Go To" dialog to select particular classes of cells or objects. For example, you might want to select all constants, all formulas, all cells with conditional formats, all comments, etc.

Return to Top

 

Mouse Pointer Shapes

Mouse pointer shapes give you an indication of what's possible and what you're about to do. The pointer shapes you'll encounter most often are:

The thick crosshair

The basic pointer that displays while the mouse is on the worksheet itself. Use to click on a cell, row, or column to select it.

The arrow

The shape the mouse takes when you move it off the worksheet to select from the menus or toolbars or to control the horizontal and vertical shift bars. The mouse pointer also takes on this arrow shape when you move the pointer close to the edge of a cell or range. This facilitates dragging the selection to another location in your worksheet.

The "I" shape

The insertion point that appears when you're editing the contents of a cell.

The light crosshair

The pointer turns into a crosshair shape when you position the mouse at the lower right-hand corner of a cell. It enables you to extend the contents of that cell to non-adjacent cell by holding down the left-hand mouse button and dragging.

"I" crossed by a double-headed arrow

The look of the pointer when it's on a row or column boundary. Enables you to hold down the left-hand mouse button and drag a row or column wider or narrower.

 

Return to Top