Using the mouse takes a bit of hand-eye coordination. The mouse is set up to be used by right-handed people and is traditionally placed on the right side of the keyboard. A PC-based mouse will have 2 or 3 buttons while a Macintosh mouse will have only one. There is a ball inside the bottom of the mouse that rolls whenever you glide the mouse across a surface. As the ball rolls, it sends instructions to the computer telling it where to place the arrow on the computer screen.
Most of the time, the mouse is placed on a smooth, rubber-backed surface called a mousepad. While not necessary, a mousepad can make the movement of the mouse smoother and easier. The mouse ball can pick up dirt, dust, and oils from the surface that it is gliding over. These contaminants then gum up the internal rollers and cause the mouse to work improperly. Removing the ball and cleaning the rollers is a routine maintenance procedure. Keeping the mousepad clean also helps.
When the mouse is rolled across the table, the arrow on the screen moves in the same direction. If you move the mouse to the right, the arrow moves to the right. If you move the mouse forward, the arrow moves upward. Practice is the only way to become acclimated to using the mouse. If you run out of room on the mousepad or desktop, simply lift the mouse off the table and place it back in the center of your work area. As long as the mouseball is not touching a surface, the arrow won't move.
The mouse is used to point at and select items. Pointing involves moving the mouse until the arrow tip lies on top of the item on the screen that you wish to work with. Selecting involves clicking the left mouse button. There are two kinds of "clicks" . . . "single-clicks" and "double-clicks". Single-clicking (clicking the left button once) is used to select objects and make them active. Double-clicking (clicking the left button twice in rapid succession) is used to launch programs and cause computer actions. The general rule of thumb is, "if single-clicking doesn't work, try double-clicking".
Windows 95/98/NT makes use of the right button on the mouse. One of the most helpful tools that was included in the Windows95/98/NT OS was the ability to right-click on all kinds of objects to bring up choices of things that can be done with those objects. Right-clicking will make your computing tasks much easier to accomplish.