What is computer mouse?

Computer Mouse

The mouse is an example of a pointing device. A ball is used underneath the mouse to detect movement, so by moving the mouse around the user can control the position of a pointer on the screen. There are usually two buttons, which have different functions: very often the left button is used to select something by double-clicking it and the right button brings up drop-down menus.

Many mice also have a scroll button, which speeds up the process of moving through a document.

Recent developments have produced the optical mouse (where movement is detected by reflected light rather than the position of a moving ball) and the cordless mouse (which is an example of a wireless device). The advantage of an optical mouse is it has no moving parts and it also doesn’t pick up any dirt. This makes it more robust and improves its performance since the older type of mouse can ‘skid’ on certain surfaces reducing the control of the pointer.


  • Mice can be used for opening, closing, and minimizing software.
  • They can be used for grouping, moving, and deleting files.
  • They are very useful when editing images, for example controlling the size and position of a drawing pasted into a document.
  • Mice are used for controlling the position of a pointer on the screen to allow selection from a menu or selecting an icon and for scrolling up and down/left to right.


  • It can be faster to select an option using a mouse rather than a keyboard.
  • Mice enable rapid navigation through applications and the internet.
  • Mice are small and so take up little area.


  • People with restricted hand/wrist movement can find it hard to operate a mouse.
  • Mice are easily damaged and the older type of mouse also quickly becomes clogged up with dirt.
  • They are difficult to use if there is no flat surface readily available (e.g. on an airplane).


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