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by Phil Ball

Q. When typing a letter or email, I want to select a word or phrase to move it but I have a lot of trouble using the mouse to select the text. Sometimes I get a word right and sometimes I wind up selecting more than I wanted. Any suggestions?

A. Selections can be tough because a slight slip of the mouse can easily highlight more than you wanted. Here are a few tricks that have helped me over the years: Point your cursor arrow anywhere within a word and double-click it to select just that word.

Point your cursor within a paragraph and triple-click it to select the whole paragraph. Yes, I said triple-click it by rapidly clicking the left mouse button three times. For phrases or selecting several words, click once to place the cursor at one end of the words you want to highlight and then move your cursor to the other end of the words and single-click it again. All the words in between will be highlighted. You can start at either the beginning of the words or the end; it doesn’t matter. You can select any combination of letters across the page as long as they are consecutive to each other.

Once you have selected the words, practiced computer users simply drag (click and hold the click) the selected block of words to where they want it and let go of the click. If you are not very good at drag and drop, try cut and paste instead. When the words are selected, move them by going to EDIT > CUT (they will disappear) and then clicking the cursor where you want them now and choose EDIT > PASTE (they will reappear in the new place). There are other methods to cut and paste which work equally well.

Practice using a mouse by playing the Solitaire game that came with your Windows computer. You single-click to flip cards over. You double-click to promote a card to the Aces row. You can drag and drop cards to move them around. Playing the game provides excellent mouse practice.

Published: Courier 1/5/14 - Page 3C