I Like Having Three Buttons

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I like having three buttons on my mouse. I use the third button all the time! Do you? If you use a Windows PC like me, then you too have three buttons... (unless... how OLD is your computer?) The third button is also known as the "wheel" on your wheel mouse. But it is more than a wheel. Did you know you can click the wheel down as a third button?

My favorite use of the middle button (i.e. clicking down on the wheel) is to open a link on a webpage in a new tab. What's cool about having it open a new tab is that you can go to the article and then easily come back to the page that launched you there. Sure you could use the back button, but if you're like me, one article takes you to another and another and you are several steps away from a single back step by the time you are done.

Two sites where I often am clicking away with my middle button are ActiveRain and Google. So you start your morning on the ActiveRain home page? How many of those featured articles do you read? I start at the home page and then "click, click, click, click, click" along with my middle button on the articles there to create a reading list. Now I can start reading the first article while the other pages are loading in the background and when I'm ready to switch, they are instantly ready having been already loaded for me (no waiting!)

Google is the other place where my middle button gets used frequently. Your Google search turns up a long list of results. On a more difficult topic, which article is going to be the one you want? It's going to take several click-throughs to find it. I click the page links with my middle button so I can easily get back to my search results list.

Just as a side note, alternatively, you can Ctrl+Click a link (clicking with the regular left button on the mouse) to also open a link in a new tab. I have a hunch Macs do command+click or something like that (and mac readers, please tell us if that is so)

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Bill Pohl
Tetra Homes, Inc. - Loveland, OH

Craig - I use my wheel clicker all the time too.

Dec 23, 2010 09:36 AM #10
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector


Half the time I do not know all the things I can do with my mouse.

Dec 23, 2010 03:58 PM #11
Toronto, ON

Hi Craig - I never knew about the feature with using the wheel to open new tabs in the background.  I have always used right-click then "open link in new tab" or "open link in new window". 

Dec 23, 2010 08:48 PM #12
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired


How many years have I been using a computer, and I DID NOT KNOW that you can click on the wheel on the mouse!

Had to try it just to make sure!!

Thanks, and Merry Christmas to you.


Dec 23, 2010 09:23 PM #13
Vance Booher
Re/Max Select, SRES - Greensburg, PA

Merry Christmas Craig.  Not being a techie I am amazed that I actually knew this and use it all the time.  True confessions though - I did discover it totally my accident.  I have a little "twitch" in my right forefinger.  Mostly it gets me in trouble with things like hot coffee.  In this case it opened a new world of browsing ease!

Dec 23, 2010 11:29 PM #14
Steve Scheer
Realty Oasis - Metro Brokers - Highlands Ranch, CO
Highlands Ranch Real Estate - Denver Real Estate

I don't think I knew either, nice tip Craig.

Dec 24, 2010 02:39 AM #15
Betsy Schuman Dodek
Washington Fine Properties - Washington DC Area Real Estate - Potomac, MD

Craig - I always learn something helpful from your classroom!!! Happy holidays!


Dec 24, 2010 04:49 AM #16
Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

Thanks, I didn't even know that there was a middle one.  So you have invented the wheel for me.  :)

Dec 24, 2010 07:00 AM #17
Karen L. Pietsch
Cary Property Pros - 4 Sale Realty, Inc. - Crystal Lake, IL
Cary Property Pros. Cary Property Pros Premier Real Estate

Craig, I already emailed you on this one but this is one of the 5 (I think) that I just read in order.  Way to go.  I'm walking away with a little something from all of them.  :)

Feb 14, 2011 11:17 AM #18
Jeremy Wrenn
Winslow Homes - Youngsville, NC
C.O.O., Winslow Homes

WHOA!  I had no idea about the clicking on a link with the wheel, and simply getting a new tab.  WHOA!!

Where do you find this stuff, Craig?  Who teaches it to you!?

Mar 30, 2011 02:43 PM #19
Jeremy Wrenn
Winslow Homes - Youngsville, NC
C.O.O., Winslow Homes

I just found out, in Firefox at least, that if I click anywhere on a tab with the middle button/wheel, it makes the tab close.  Don't even have to hit the "X".  Cool!

Mar 30, 2011 02:49 PM #20
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

You just got a new Twitter Follower! Let me focus on reading this a few times.

Mar 30, 2011 03:08 PM #21
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

Now I get it. I never even wondered what the third button did. Now I know! Merci Many Buckets! Check out my puppy video on AR today. BTW, what is the code to center it and why do you have to do the draft step on html? Why all the steps and why does it vanish sometimes when you forget to do them?

Mar 30, 2011 03:11 PM #22
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Jeremy - love when I hear the "click" light bulb goes on! :) yes you can middle click an open tab too and I use that too! (works in chrome and IE also)

Cheryl - thanks for jumping over to this post from the other one, glad you picked up something new today - I'll have to check out your mentioned video... -c-

Mar 31, 2011 04:04 AM #23
Kathy Opatka
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches

So that's what that 3rd button is for!!! I've always hated having to go from on place to the next.... I keep LOSING my original blog!  You're so TECH-Savvy!

Mar 31, 2011 04:55 AM #24
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


Too cool.  I have to try the middle button.  You are great.  Thanks for the info.

Mar 31, 2011 06:18 AM #25
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, RealtorsĀ®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

I knew it also acted as a button, but I never use it that way. I learned early on to right click, open in a new tab. It's something I've just always done.

May 01, 2011 09:21 AM #26
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Oh, Craig, I hope that your wife understands when I say that I'm in love with my Computer Guy--YOU!! There are so many cool simple things that you offer that I had no idea existed, it's marvelous to know that at my fingertips, are opportunities to ease the stress of "computing".



Sep 21, 2011 06:42 AM #27
Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire


Ditto on the thanks, I didn't know this function, cheers cvc

Feb 04, 2012 04:21 AM #28
Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Bowie, MD
I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES

Craig can you please show me how to link a URL to a cool button? I just wrote a blog about that asking for someone to help me. I have no clue. You are one of the Super Tech Titans here which is why I am asking you.

Feb 04, 2012 04:35 PM #29
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Craig Daniels

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