In order to use your computer effectively, you must interact with it using both the mouse and the keyboard. The above image of a keyboard may closely resemble (if it is not identical to) the keyboard in front of you; learning the function of just a few keys will help you to interact better with your computer and individual programs. The following is a list of commonly used keys that have special functions (keep in mind that key functions can change depending on which program you are using):
1. Backspace: This key deletes letters backward.
2. Delete: This key deletes letters forward.
3. Shift: This key, when pressed WITH another key, will perform a secondary function.
4. Spacebar: This key enters a space between words or letters.
5. Tab: This key will indent what you type, or move the text to the right. The default indent distance is usually ½ inch.
6. Caps Lock: Pressing this key will make every letter you type capitalized.
7. Control (Ctrl): This key, when pressed WITH another key, performs a shortcut.
8. Enter: This key either gives you a new line, or executes a command (pressed in a word processing program, it begins a new line).
9. Number Keypad: These are exactly the same as the numbers at the top of the keyboard; some people find them easier to use in this position.
10. Arrow Keys: Like the mouse, these keys are used to navigate through a document or page.
While the keyboard is primarily used to insert/input and manipulate text and numbers on a computer, the mouse is used mostly for navigating around the screen. Mice come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some of the strangest-looking mice often look that way because they are designed to be more ergonomic than traditional mice.
The type of mouse that you choose to use is totally based on your preference—If you want a fancy mouse, that’s fine; if you prefer a simple mouse, that’s OK too. Each mouse, however different it may be, has similar functions. As you can see on the “traditional” model above, a traditional mouse has two buttons with a wheel between them (gray) that spins, called a “scroll wheel.” Both buttons can perform separate functions, and are referred to by which side of the mouse they are located on. Pressing the LEFT mouse button is called “left-clicking,” while pressing the RIGHT mouse button is called “right-clicking.”Left-clicking is used far more often than right clicking. For now, know that left-clicking is used to select or click on something, while right-clicking presents additional menu options.