A computer mouse (plural: mice) is an input device that is most often used with a personal computer. Moving a mouse along a flat surface can move the on-screen cursor to different items on the screen. Items can be moved or selected by pressing the mouse buttons (called clicking). Today's mice have two buttons, the left button and right button, with a scroll wheel in between the two.
It is called a computer mouse because of the wire that connects the mouse to the computer. The people who designed it thought that it looked like the tail on a mouse. Today, many computer mice use wireless technology and have no wire.
History[change | change source]
In 1964 Douglas Engelbart (1925-2013), a researcher at Stanford Research Institute, wanted to find a way to make using computers easier. In those days, computers were large and expensive. Using them was very hard because everything had to be typed in on a keyboard. This command line interface is still used by some people, such as programmers, to get things done faster.
After studying and designing for a long time, Engelbart succeeded in inventing an input device which he named 'XY index'. At first, it needed two hands to use, but it was changed so that only one hand was needed to use it. This model was more like the mouse that we use today, but was made up of a big ball that the user had to roll in different directions to move the cursor.
The computer mouse began to be widely used when Xerox Palo Alto Research introduced a GUI in 1981, where the mouse was used to click things on the screen. This was also the case with the Macintosh operating system from Apple of Apple Inc when it came out in 1984, as well as Microsoft Windows. Windows became popular over the years, so over time computer mice became used with many computers.
Uses[change | change source]
On most computers, the user can move the mouse to move the cursor in the same direction. To choose something that is on the screen, the user can move the cursor to it and "click" the left mouse button. The right mouse button is used to open menus that are different depending on where the cursor is. The other mouse buttons can do different things, depending on the software. Most mice have two buttons to click.
Most mice also have a "scroll wheel"—a small wheel found between the two main mouse buttons. The user can move the wheel back and forth to "scroll" through things like a website or folder. "Scrolling" means moving the words or pictures up or down on the screen, so another part of the page comes into view. The wheel can also be pressed, to click it like another button.
A mouse can also be connected to and used the same way with a laptop computer, but unlike a desktop computer, one does not have to be connected to use the laptop. This is because along with the keyboard, laptops have a built-in input device called a trackpad which does the same thing as a mouse. Similarly, tablet computers have a touchscreen as an input device, but some, like the Microsoft Surface and those that use Android, also work with mice.
Related pages[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- Mouse at free on-line dictionary of computing
- How computer mice work: "... the mouse hit the scene - attached to the Mac..."
Other sites[change | change source]
- Mouse (computing) Citizendium