While it’s sometimes hard to know how many shortcuts to include in an introductory Windows class, TechRepublic readers have proven the value of teaching the uses of the right mouse button right from the start.

Mary Ann Richardson explained how to make sure all your students understand this technique , and readers wrote in with their own suggestions about how they use it.

The power of the right-click
Ingrid Z. Anderson said that she has a similar lesson in her training classes.

“I have a whole section of my training session dedicated to using the mouse. I explain the mechanics of using the mouse, the ‘hot spot,’ pointing, clicking, double-clicking, and right-clicking.”

Pete H. said that he had an immediate use for this training idea.

“I have a technician who cannot seem to double-click because of shaky nerves. Moving the mouse is also hard for him. Your right-click power training session will be perfect for him.”

Deb J., who works in south Texas, finds right-clicking much easier to use for many Windows functions as well as for many application tasks.

“One challenge I have is with older students in our seasonal classes for ‘Winter Texans.’ They sometimes have a real physical difficulty coordinating their fingers and holding a mouse steady. In addition to working on the right-clicking techniques, I share a lot of keyboard commands with these folks (ALT and CTRL sequences, directional keys, etc.) and it seems to help ease their sense of frustration and improve their accuracy and productivity.”

Four keys to successful clicking
Regina B.wrote that right mouse clicking is her favorite shortcut feature. She teaches students that it’s easier to find specific commands by right-clicking than by using the menu bar.

“I feel like I have won the battle when I can get students to understand the four keys to right mouse clicking:

  1. First, point to the object and select or highlight the text for which you want to issue a command.
  2. After selecting text or an object, position the mouse pointer over the selected object and click the right mouse button to display the menu for this item. Selecting an object or text and then right-clicking on another area of the screen will display a different menu.
  3. Use the right mouse button to display a shortcut menu of options for the selected object or text, but use the left mouse button to select a command from the shortcut menu.
  4. To close the menu without selecting an option use the left mouse button to click outside of the menu or press the [Esc] key on the keyboard.”

What about lefties?
Stu B. has this suggestion for how to take a “hand-neutral” approach to teaching the mouse click.

“I am left-handed and have my mouse set up appropriately. I know that I should say right-click when I am instructing someone in certain procedures. However, since right is my primary click, I always use the terms ‘primary click’ and ‘secondary click’ to explain which button to use on the mouse.”

An alternative to clicking
David W., who is registered blind but has some central vision, teaches a variety of people with disabilities.

“Many of these students have difficulties in using the mouse, and I therefore teach a wide range of keyboard solutions. When a person finds it impossible to double-click, then another solution has to be found.

“As an exercise, try to use your computer for an hour without the mouse. You may already be able to do this, but if you have not tried this, just look at the Ctrl shortcuts: Alt + F to access the menu bar, and Alt + F4 to close a program. These simple combinations can ease the use of Windows for many able-bodied people.”

These ideas combined with Mary Ann’s basic lesson on right-clicking should make expert clickers out of all your students.
Okay, so your students understand the difference between left-clicking and right-clicking. The next challenge facing them is figuring out when one click is enough and when they need to hit the button twice. TechRepublic member Neal M. pointed out that this is another mouse lesson that often gets overlooked.Is this a lesson in your classes? How do you train users about single- and double-clicking? Send us your tips!