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Many people find using a mouse difficult when they start using a computer. It can be even more difficult if you have trouble with fine movements of your hand, because of arthritis or other problems. Here are some tips that may help.

Are you sitting comfortably? Sit square to the screen, so that you can reach the keyboard and the mouse without stretching. To use the mouse, rest the base of your palm on the table and the upper palm on the mouse. Hold the mouse gently with a thumb on one side, and a finger (perhaps the little finger) on the other. Rest your index finger very lightly on the left mouse button. Don't hold the mouse so firmly that you lift it off the mouse mat. Don't push down on the mouse. Slide the mouse gently from side to side. Practice moving to various parts of the screen.

To click, keep your hand on the mouse. Tap your index finger on the left button firmly but gently. Remember to lift the finger up again. A click should be a gentle movement. Don't move the mouse while you're clicking. Don't take take your picture of hand pointer hand off the mouse to poke at the button with a finger. This makes the mouse skid so the computer doesn't know where you're clicking. If you hit the button harder and harder, that makes the mouse skid more. The symbol on the screen which moves with the mouse is called the pointer. Only the fingertip of the hand pointer is active. Click here to see where you can click.

When the click works, something happens immediately or you get a 'busy' signal such as busy busy the mouse pointer becoming an eggtimer while the computer works for you, or the Browser symbol at the top top of your screen appears and starts moving. There may be a dark blue bar slowly growing larger at the bottom of the screen as well.

The internet uses only single clicks, but you need to do 'double clicks' on other computer programs. This means two quick clicks without moving the mouse at all. If you find this too hard, click once and then press the Enter key.

If your mouse runs off the mat edge, lift the mouse up, move it back to the mat middle, and put it down. While the mouse is in the air, the pointer on the screen won't move.

Your hand can get tired gripping the mouse all the time. While reading the computer screen, rest your hand in your lap. If your hand gets stiff or aches, give it a gentle rub or shake. Don't sit too long at the computer. Get up for a break every now and then.

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