If your mouse is broken, don't despair. Your computer's mouse appears to be an essential peripheral device, but is not required to use your PC. If you don't have a working mouse (or just want to learn new keyboard tricks), you can use your Windows computer entirely from the keyboard.
While it may not be as efficient as your usual mouse operations, one day it may be useful to know how to use your computer without a mouse. If you learn these keyboard shortcuts, you can work more productively at any time.
How to open programs without a mouse
Starting programs without touching the mouse is easy. Windows has quick shortcuts for access to the Start menu, taskbar and desktop.
Access and use the start menu
Press the Windows key on your keyboard to open the Start menu. Once open, enter part of the program name to search for it. Press Enter to start the highlighted program, or first use the arrow keys to select another entry.
You can also press the button when the start menu is open tab Key to move through the different sections of the menu. Use the arrow keys to navigate around and Enter Open menus. This way, you can access the power menu to shutdown your system, log out, and the like.
Use the taskbar without a mouse
To start or switch an app in your taskbar, press the Windows key and a number key simultaneously. For example, if the icon on the far left of the taskbar is Chrome, press Win +1 is started or switch. Win + 2 will do the same for the second symbol and so on. Win + 0 opens the 10th symbol, but you cannot use this link for other symbols.
Press Win + B. to focus the cursor on the taskbar. This is the section with the icons at the bottom right of the screen.
Access desktop icons without a mouse
Press Win + D. to display the desktop (which hides all open windows). Once your desktop is in focus, use the arrow keys to select a desktop icon and press Enter to start it. You can press Win + D. again to restore your minimized programs.
Manage program windows without a mouse
While you are likely to use the mouse to manage open windows, you can easily manage them with a few keyboard shortcuts. Here is a list of the most useful:
- Close the program: Alt + F4
- Restore / minimize window: Win + down arrow. Pressing once restores a maximized window and minimizes it when pressed again.
- Maximize window: Profit + up arrow.
- Snap a window to half of your screen: Win + left or Win + right
- Move window: press and release Alt + spacebar, then press M. to select the Move Possibility. Use the arrow keys to move the window and press Enter when done.
- Change window size: Press and release Alt + spacebar, then press S. to select the size Possibility. Use the arrow keys to change the window size and press Enter if you are satisfied.
- Switch between open windows: Alt + tab
- Open the task view: Win + tab
- Switch virtual desktops: Ctrl + Win + Left / Right
Use apps with the keyboard
The exact controls for controlling software depend on the app. However, there are some general tips that apply to most programs. Read our extensive guide to Windows keyboard shortcuts
Windows Keyboard Shortcut 101: The Ultimate Guide
for more help.
Press the tab Key to move the focus between elements in a window. This usually selects different text fields or buttons. If you want to activate the highlighted option or button, use Enter (sometimes room) to activate it. Use to move the focus backwards Shift + Tab. In some apps, such as B. browsers, Ctrl + Tab will scroll through open tabs.
You can also often use the arrow keys to switch between buttons and options in a window. Note that this will not work if your cursor is currently in a text entry field. Press tab to get the cursor out.
To use a program's menus, which almost always appear at the top of the window below the title bar, click Old Key. Certain letters in the menu bar are shown as underlined. Press this button to activate the corresponding option.
For example in the following screenshot for Firefox after pressing Old, tap the H. Key to open the Help Menu then A to show that About Firefox Dialog. If you want, you can also use the arrow keys to navigate.
While most Windows programs use this menu system, not all do. Chrome is a notable exception. Alt + E. opens Chrome Three-point menu. From there you can access the elements with the underlined letters or arrow keys.
You can right-click on the current cursor position using the keyboard. However, this is not the same for all apps. Some activate a right click with Shift + F10. Use others Ctrl + Shift + F10, but some don't work with it either.
If your keyboard has a menu key that looks like a drop-down menu and is usually displayed at the bottom right of the keyboard CtrlYou can also use this to right-click.
Work with text using only one keyboard
These text editing links can also be useful if you are a large mouse user. Since your fingers are already on the keyboard when entering text, using keyboard shortcuts instead of the mouse can speed up the workflow.
- Press the button to scroll up or down in a document or web page picture on or Face down Key.
- Use the button to jump to the top or bottom of the page At home or The End Key. Within a text field, these move the cursor to the beginning or end of the current line.
- You can move the cursor with the arrow keys.
- Hold down the key to move the cursor word by word instead of a character Ctrl while pressing the arrow keys.
- Use to jump to the beginning or end of a text box Ctrl + Home or Ctrl + end.
- Use Ctrl + Backspace or Ctrl + Delete to delete one word at a time instead of individual characters.
- Press and hold to select text shift while using the arrow keys. Combine for faster selection shift You can quickly select a large amount of text using the key combinations above. For example, Ctrl + Shift + End selects all text from the cursor position to the end of the document.
- Use Ctrl + A. to select everything in the current text box or on the current page.
- With text selected, press Ctrl + C. to copy it or Ctrl + X. to cut it. Use later Ctrl + V. insert at the current position of the cursor.
- Ctrl + Z. will undo your last action while Ctrl + Y. will repeat an undone action.
How to move the mouse pointer without a mouse
If the keyboard shortcuts above don't work for certain tasks, try the Mouse Keys feature in Windows. You can use the mouse buttons to control the pointer on the screen with the number pad on the right side of your keyboard.
Press the button to activate the mouse buttons left alt, Left shift, and Num Lock Key at the same time. You should hear a tone and see a prompt for the function. Press Enter to confirm.
If you've disabled this shortcut combination in the past, you'll need to access the mouse button options
How to control your cursor pointer without an actual mouse
manually. You can do this either through the Settings app or through the Control Panel, but this is more convenient through the Settings. To change it, press Win + I. to open the settings window. Beat tab To focus the cursor on the list of categories, use the arrow keys to select Ease of access and hit Enter.
Next press tab again to move the focus to the left sidebar. Use the arrow keys to scroll to interaction Section and choose mouse. Then hit tab again to turn that Turn on the mouse buttons Possibility. Now you can use the number buttons to move the mouse pointer as long as Num Lock is on; Press 5 click with the left mouse button.
Once it's on, press tab again if you want to change any of the options, including the pointer speed.
Broken mouse? The keyboard works fine
Now you know how to navigate Windows with just one mouse. There are other useful shortcuts, but these will help you navigate most places in Windows. Don't forget that you can use Ctrl + Alt + Delete Open the Windows security screen with shortcuts for easy access options, the power menu, and other useful tools.
If you need a new mouse, read our mouse buying guide
The Computer Mouse Guide: 8 Things You Should Know When Buying a Mouse
for some advice.
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