Camtasia: Application specific mouse button mapping shortcut

While removing breathing sounds, I needed to double click hundreds of times on the timeline. That is cumbersome. So I used a spare button on the mouse to map it as a double click button in a single click – saving my joints from lot of damage! Read on how it was done. This article is only for frequent users of Camtasia.

The Learning for EVERYONE is that in some cases, for specific application, you can make special use of mouse by customizing its button actions.

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Easiest way to learn – Right Click

So far I have written 139 articles. There are thousands of features yet to be covered. There is another skill you need to learn – the ability to learn to learn!

In this article, I will demonstrate a simple method of learning. Usually, learning requires reading help files, books or visiting web sites. This method just uses mouse Right Click. Read on and find out how powerful this method is…

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Mouse as a learning tool (Using Mouse Efficiently – Part 4)

Yes. Mouse is a LEARNING device. Of course, originally it was intended to be a navigation tool – it still is. But if you use it smartly, you can learn a lot about the software you are using.

There are two ways to do this. Observe the mouse cursor and Right click.

Observe the mouse cursor and learn

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The cursor shape changes often. It changes for a purpose. It is trying to tell you that its behavior has changed. The question is that are you noticing it?

The idea is simple – notice the change in cursor shape and try to find out what changed. That is how you learn.  We do notice some of these shapes like the pointing hand and the four headed arrow. But there are more.

Here are some very useful examples of how observing the cursor shape helps you learn new things.

Pivot Table drag drop

In case of classic mode (blue border) Pivot Tables, the drag drop area shrinks when the data is small. We often end up dragging a field and dropping it in the wrong area. View this 10 second video to learn from the smart mouse cursor. (No audio)

How mouse cursor shape helps you prevent common Pivot Table mistake

Selecting single cell in a table

While editing long tables, it is often necessary to select a single cell. If the cell contains lot of data and it spills over to more than one page, selecting it becomes very difficult.

Watch this 12 second video to know how easy this activity becomes if you observe the mouse cursor. (No audio)

How to select entire table cell with just one click

PowerPoint Animation

Tweaking complex animation requires you to adjust the order of animation, timing and duration. This is usually done by repeatedly opening the Effect Options – Timing dialog.

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If you observe the mouse cursor in the animation pane entries, the delay, duration and start position can be adjusted very easily. Watch this 10 second video to learn how.
(No audio)

Instant tweaking of animation within the animation pane

The power of Right Click

Usually, right clicking on any object or area reveals a menu. This menu is very special. It helps you learn a tool or software quickly and easily.

What is so special about it? This menu shows options which are guaranteed to be relevant in the context of the place you right clicked on. That is why, it is called “Context Menu”.

The options shown in the context menu may be available inside the traditional menus as well. But these options may be scattered across different tabs and toolbars. Right click menu consolidates relevant options and shows these in one place.

Therefore, you simply have to right click on every object, notice each option, think a little about it, try it out if the meaning is not obvious… and you start learning immediately.

This is a simple but very powerful technique. Try this for a few days and let me know the feedback.

Important areas to right click in…

Word

Right click at various places within the table to discover more features.

Excel

Right click within Tables and Pivot Tables (Row and Data area separately) to learn about many new features. Pivot Table Data area has an option called Show Values As… which is the most powerful feature of Pivot Table.

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Right Click whenever the cursor shape changes

Finally, let us put both items together. When cursor shape changes – its behavior changes – its context changes … therefore, the right click menu also changes.

Changing cursor is inviting you to explore more by opening the right click menu … accept the invitation and learn more.

Using Mouse Efficiently – Part 3

Please read the previous two articles first. In this article we continue to explore the mouse usage scenarios further. In this article, I am using an abbreviated writing styles – using minimal words, reducing long paragraphs… making it short, sweet and to the point. Let me know if you like this style.

Drag Drop

Common activity. Usually used for Copy Paste operations.

Very nice feature – RIGHT DRAG DROP

Press the RIGHT mouse button while dragging and dropping … and see what happens.

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NOTHING HAPPENS…

You get a set of menus to choose from. Read the menus and then enjoy.
You will discover many options you always wanted…

Explanation: When you drag drop using left mouse – the default action happens.
Who decides the default action? The vendor who created the software.
But the default is chosen based upon what most users want in that situation.

Default is fine. But more actions may be possible. These are exposed to you when you perform RIGHT DRAG DROP

Here is a common place… go to Excel, type a number and drag it down (regular left drag)
It repeats the number. But try a RIGHT drag and see the options…

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Homework: For the next few days, try right drag drop in places where you usually drag drop – and learn more!

Canceling drag drop

Sometimes you start dragging something and change your mind. How to cancel the operation without any damage?

Think a little – guess … ESC key.

Blind Drag Drop

Common scenario. you are composing a mail. you want to attach a file… you open  Windows Explorer… find the file – drag the file …. now there is a problem if you cant see the mail window

That is when we try to copy and paste. No need to do so.

Drag from one window, take the cursor to the Outlook icon on the taskbar..
Even if there are multiple Outlook windows shown it is ok…
Move cursor on the thumbnail or name of the desired window and ..

WAIT THERE FOR FEW SECONDS

Now the window will automatically come in front… move the mouse and then complete the drag drop]

Drag Drop Across multiple monitors

If you use multiple monitors, you can drag-drop items across the monitors. This is useful when you have a laptop and an external monitor / LCD screen attached.

Depending upon where the external monitor is physically kept in relation to your laptop, your mouse cursor can move from edge of your screen to the external desktop. This is configured using Display Properties – Settings tab. This tab will show two monitors. If monitor 2 is physically on the left side of base laptop, then you can move the monitor 2 icon accordingly.

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Once this is configured, the laptop mouse cursor will move over to the external monitor from the LEFT edge.

If monitor 2 was configured to be on the right side of the laptop screen, the mouse cursor will spillover from the RIGHT edge of laptop screen.

You can even arrange the second monitor above or below the main laptop screen. This configuration is often done when your external monitor is physically installed above your work table to save space.

Observe the mouse cursor while dragging

This is very important. It changes to show many useful things during drag drop… Observe it and try to decipher the meaning…

Best example to illustrate this is drag dropping fields into a Pivot Table (Classic mode only – blue border pivots).

When you start dragging a field and move to the Excel sheet, cursor is like this

when you are over row, column or data area it changes dynamically.

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Observe it and you will never make the mistake of dragging a field to the wrong area in Pivot table!

Mouse Wheel

Used for scrolling vertically.

Document Zoom In / Out

Press CTRL key and move the wheel – ZOOM in and out the document. Practice it a little.

Useful scenarios:

  1. Zoom in to do intricate work an zoom out to see overall impact in a PowerPoint slide or Word Document
  2. Find missing areas of data quickly – zoom out maximum in Excel
  3. Useful while browsing web pages as well

If you just move the scroll wheel while the cursor is over the RIBBON (Office 2007 onwards), it changes the selected menu (Tab) very quickly.

If you don’t use a mouse with your laptop, this feature can still work if you have a touch pad with right margin configured for scrolling.

Horizontal Scrolling: Tilt Wheel

Most newer models of mice have a horizontal scroll facility, called the “Tilt Wheel”. This is often ignored and we never end up using it.

Here are some common uses of horizontal scrolling.

1. Excel: Horizontal scrolling is probably most important in Excel as you have large number of columns to view.
But I find the keyboard shortcut SNAGHTML1683205SNAGHTML1685627 or SNAGHTML1683205SNAGHTML168a263 more convenient here.

2. Large browser pages. Some browser pages are very wide and therefore horizontal scrolling is necessary

3. PowerPoint / Word document with large Zoom level

4. Photographs / images which are too large for your screen

5. Any document which needs Panning functionality.

Tilt wheel may not be supported by all software applications.

Ribbon Tabs and Scroll Wheel

This is a very useful tool.

Just position the mouse cursor anywhere on the ribbon and use Scroll Wheel. It shuffles the ribbon tabs – try it NOW.

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Using Keyboard along with mouse

Mouse has limited number of buttons.
But combining it with keyboard keys (Shift, Alt, Ctrl) makes it more versatile and useful.

SNAGHTML17077a3 + Mouse Drag = Copy

Generally while working with shapes / objects/ files if you press Ctrl key while dragging, it usually means COPY the object. To indicate the copy operation, the mouse cursor typically shows a PLUS sign. If you don’t see the plus sign, it means a MOVE operation!

This works with file drag drop as well. The default action is reversed by pressing CTRL key while dragging a file. If you are dragging a file from one folder to another on the SAME drive – default action is MOVE. Across drives, default action is COPY. So be careful while pressing CTRL key while dragging files.

SNAGHTML17077a3[5] Resize = Resize from center

Usually, to increase the size of a picture or shape, you drag from the corner. However, this disturbs the alignment of the picture because it grows in size in the direction you drag. If you press Ctrl key while dragging from any corner, resize happens, but without disturbing the center position.

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This is very useful for resizing pictures after pasting in PowerPoint.
Pasted object is automatically put in the center – usually.
Exception… if you copy an object from one slide and paste it into another slide, it is pasted in the ORIGINAL position – not the center of the slide. Nice touch … someone thought about our convenience!

Zoom in and out with SNAGHTML17077a3[7] Scroll

We have covered this above.

Discontinuous selection using SNAGHTML17077a3[9]key

To select items (like a shape) we usually click on them. To select text / data we click and then drag.

But what if we want to some items and skip some items?
That is when CTRL key is useful.

Here is an example:

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Click on the first file to select it, then keep pressing CTRL key and click on rest of the files. When you finish selection, release the CTRL key

Similar concept works in Excel if you want to select multiple ranges.

SNAGHTML17138ef key

Very useful for selecting many things which are far away from each other.
Windows Explorer – want to select from fifth file to the last file…
Click the fifth file…. use scroll bar to move to the last file…
Press SHIFT key .. keep it pressed and then click on the last file
Now release the SHIFT key.

It can also be used with CTRL key to select combination of continuous and discontinuous object selections. Difficult to describe – try it out.

SNAGHTML171dc34[5] key

In MS Office (up to version 2003) Pressing Alt key makes all menus and visible toolbars customizable (without opening the Tools – Customize dialog)

While pressing ALT key you can drag any menu item and move it to another place. If you want to COPY it, you need to press CTRL key as well.

This feature DOES NOT work from Office 2007 onwards. In newer versions, right click on the desired toolbar button and choose Add To Quick Access Toolbar (see this blog post for details).

Last article in this series coming up soon…

We will discuss how to use mouse to learn new features, while you work… This is a completely new (and originally unintended) use of mouse!

Using mouse efficiently – Part 2 – Buttons

Mouse buttons

Every Windows mouse has at least two buttons. Usually there is a mouse wheel as well – for scrolling. But nowadays there can be many more buttons available.

I use this mouse

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This is the one I use. Microsoft Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000. In my opinion, the best mouse ever created (across vendors, not just Microsoft). This one is Bluetooth, has a tilt wheel (for horizontal scrolling, very good for Excel), Zoom button, PowerPoint draw button.

But that is just the beginning… When you turn it around, it becomes a presenter…

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with next / previous slide, Volume up down, Play pause (for media center or WM player) and finally has a built-in laser pointer.

Unfortunately, this model is discontinued long back, but I have my own stock Smile

 

Left click is obvious… or is it?

Left button (for a right handed person) is the default button. A left handed person can configure Right button as the default.

The question is – what is more efficient? Using mouse or using keyboard?

The answer: use both … depending upon what is more convenient at that point of time.

If you are typing text and then you want to highlight it, keyboard shortcuts are preferred.
If you were scrolling and reading a document using mouse wheel and now you want to highlight some part of it, then use mouse because your hand was already holding the mouse.

The key thing is to maintain your flow. If you are busy typing something and then just to click on the OK button you move your hand all the way from keyboard to mouse … it disturbs your concentration and thought process.

Customizing mouse button actions

If you have additional buttons (for example, mouse wheel is also a clickable button), then you can customize the action. Go to Control Panel – Mouse – Customize and you will be surprised to see so many options…

Here is what can be done using a button click : Back, Forward, Next window / Previous Window, Autoscroll, Cut, copy or paste, Undo / Redo, Digital Ink On/Off, Instant viewer, Alt, Shift or Ctrl keys, New, Open, Close documents, Double click, Exit program, Gaming toggle, Magnifier, Show / Hide Desktop, Zoom in / out, Precision booster, Start … a program, Keystroke…

Instant Viewer

I find the Instant Viewer to be very good. This shows you all open applications on the desktop – allowing you to choose the desired one quickly. This is faster than Alt – Tab or Taskbar.

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Magnifier

For technical presentations, you need to explain the UI, Code, Dialogs, configuration options and so on. Regular PPTs have large font. But these elements are never seen properly by the audience. Therefore the full screen Magnifier (included since Vista) is a very good tool to map to an extra mouse button.

Using Magnifier correctly: When you invoke it, the Magnifier window appears on screen. If you try to get rid of it, the window converts into a lens and that lens remains on the screen. This disturbs your presentation.

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Solution: Click on the lens to show the magnifier window again and click Minimize button on the window.

Gaming

Precision booster, key combinations and Macros can be very useful for gamers. Special gaming mice offer even more sophistication.

Program specific button customization

Yes there is more!

For example, in case of Excel you may want wheel button to scroll but in PowerPoint you want that same button to be a Zoom In / Out button. This type of customization is called Application Specific Settings. Explore this for applications you use commonly.
Imagine how much thought has gone into a simple, taken for granted thingy called mouse! Just to make our lives easier.

How many times can you click?

We know single click and double click. But there is more.

Double Click: Special cases double-click_thumb2

Application Effect of double click
Word Double click selects the word at cursor. Triple click selects the entire paragraph.
Office Format Painter double click allows you to pick formatting once and then apply it to many different areas / objects
Office Double clicking on some specific buttons allows you to do repetitive actions. This is called Locking the mode.

· Till version 2003, in PowerPoint, double clicking on any drawing shape button allows you to draw the shape repeatedly

· 2007 onwards, you right click on the shape and choose Lock Drawing Mode

Excel Double clicking in a cell allows you to view and edit the formula (if present)
PowerPoint Double clicking a shape or picture or vide brings up the relevant Ribbon tab.
Chart elements Since Office 2010, if you double click on any chart element, its customization dialog appears.
Any file based object Double clicking executes the default action.

For Word and Excel objects default action is Open. For a movie / sound object the default action is Play.

Pivot Table Double clicking in row or column area brings up the drill down dialog.
Double clicking in data area creates a new sheet and shows you all the rows from raw data which contributed to that value. Very useful to find out lineage (underlying raw data) behind summarized reports.
Do NOT double click on the Grand Total, it will create a new sheet with all the raw data copied! (This is actually very useful in a specific situation, but we will cover that some other time)

Slow Double Click! slow-double-click_thumb2

Sounds funny? But it is true and it is very useful in day-to-day work.

While customizing charts, we need to format a particular series or marker or data label. We want it to stand out from the rest. How do we do it?
Depending upon which version of Office you are using, Double Clicking the item of interest will have different results.

Before Office 2010, double click had no impact. Single click on any element selects the entire series.  From 2010 onwards, double click will open the format dialog / task pane for that element.

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What we want is to select a single item – not the series. That is where SLOW double click comes into picture. This works in ALL VERSIONS of Office.

Click on the element – let it select the whole series. Wait for 2 seconds. Now click on the element you want to want to customize. Now the single element is selected.

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Try it immediately …

Triple Click triple-click2_thumb2

Yes this is possible Smile in Word. (I don’t know of any other examples of Triple Click for Office. If you know any, I would love to hear from you)

  1. If you double click in a paragraph, it will select a word. But if you TRIPLE CLICK, it will select the entire paragraph. This is very useful to select long paragraphs, without having to struggle with cumbersome drag based selection.
  2. If you double click on the left side of a paragraph, it will select the entire paragraph. If you triple click there, it will select the entire document. Of course there is a much simpler keyboard shortcut – Ctrl – A to do that. But still triple click may be more convenient in some situations.
  3. Triple Click in a table cell, it selects the entire contents of that cell.

Press Ctrl key and click anywhere in the paragraph to select the SENTENCE – a very smart and useful feature in Word.

Selecting things using Mouse

Many useful variations you must know…

Before you proceed, just remember that pressing SNAGHTML11e6bbb  helps in working with many items at once whereas  SNAGHTML11e8751  helps us work with one item at a time.

Selecting large amounts of text

Usually we drag the mouse to select text. However, if the text is very lengthy, there is another method available.  3 steps…

  1. Click where you want to begin. This will position the text cursor at the beginning.
  2. Now DO NOT DRAG and select the text. Simply scroll till you can see the end point of selection.
  3. Now press SHIFT key and then CLICK at the end point. Now all the text from begin to end point will be selected.

Very useful while selecting large chapters in Word or Selecting long tables in Browser. Of course, if you use Styles, you DON’T need to select large blocks of data EVER AGAIN in Word (will explain some other time).

Selecting large blocks of data in Excel

The same concept applies to Excel as well. If you have a large block of data, click in the first cell, scroll to the last row and column and then SHIFT-CLICk.

However, in Excel finding the last row itself may require lot of manual scrolling. There is one useful shortcut which can help you. Press   SNAGHTML11eaae6  SNAGHTML11f34f6 keyboard shortcut.

This takes you to the LAST CELL in Excel. This is the cross section of the last row and last column used in that sheet. If your worksheet contains just one large block of data, you can know the last row by pressing CTRL-END quickly.

However, CTRL A is a faster way of selecting large amount of data in Excel. Click anywhere inside the data block and type CTRL A.

Selecting multiple items in a list

This is also done in a similar way. Click in the beginning, move to end and SHIFT-CLICK.
If you want to remove some selected items, use CTRL-CLICK.

Selecting objects

You need a different approach to select multiple drawing objects, shapes, images etc in PowerPoint (and other programs).

  • To select a single object, just click on it
  • To choose and select multiple objects one by one, use CTRL-CLICK. You can also use CTRL-CLICK to UNSELECT an object which is already selected.
  • To select multiple objects in one action, draw a large rectangle AROUND the objects. Any objects which are fully within the rectangle will be selected.

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Part 3 needed…

There is much more to write about : Drag Drop, Keyboard along with Mouse, Right Click…

I know it is becoming a very long topic. However, the feedback has been very encouraging and it is useful on daily basis. So I will do justice to this important, yet ignored topic by covering it in detail.

Do post your comments…