Tag Archives: Mouse

How to use the Surface pen as a mouse with Office

If you use Surface or other Windows tablets/ laptops with a stylus, the default action is to draw on top of the document. This can be annoying. Here is how to use the Surface pen as a mouse with Office tools.

Use the Surface pen as a mouse with Office

The default setting is to use the pen for drawing. In the image below, I tried to select the textbox and move it using the pen. This is what happened.

Pen used as a drawing tool

Annoying, is it not?

This is NOT a bug. This is a feature. The idea is simple. Microsoft wants you to use the pen as a pen by default. You can use it to annotate things in Word, Excel or PowerPoint.

Pen used for annotation

But what if you want to use it as a regular mouse?

No problem. Just go to File – Options – Advanced and activate the option
Use pen to select and interact with content by default

Use the Surface Pen as a mouse option

Now the pen works like a mouse. This setting is available in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Outlook does not need this setting because, although we use Word as the editor, the mails go out as HTML.

OneNote is a completely different story. If you have a pen, you would like to take notes as handwriting. If you have a keyboard, you can type. Therefore, with OneNote, the pen is always in draw mode.  There is a setting which is very intelligent. It is under File – Options – Advanced – Pen, but it has many more options.

By default it is set to understand which input method you are using automatically. I suggest that you do NOT deactivate this setting. It works perfectly as it is. But in the rare circumstances where you want to use the pen as a mouse rather as a handwriting tool, you can deactivate this setting.

OneNote Pen options

By the way, the new surface pen has different pen tips.
You can buy these tips for just 10 USD. These tips change the resistance or friction while you are writing on the screen. The default pen tip is like an HB pencil. The kit gives you more options. If you use the pen extensively, I strongly recommend that you buy and try different tips and figure out which one suits you better.  Mind you, the kit looks deceptively bigger on the Amazon site. The actual dimensions are 1.6 x 1 inch only!

Surface Pro Pen Tips


Pen, Touch, Trackpad and Mouse have their own strengths. Having to use multiple input devices can get confusing. But do not worry. Just use the tool which is best suited for the job at hand. For example, for creating complex presentations, I use a mouse. Reading and annotating large document is best done using touch. Drawing and handwriting is easiest with the pen.

Using the right tool in the right place is called efficiency!

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.

Continue reading Camtasia: Application specific mouse button mapping shortcut

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…


Continue reading Easiest way to learn – Right Click

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


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.


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…


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


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.


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.