Part I. A Tour of the GNOME Desktop

Chapter 1. Basic Skills

This chapter introduces you to the basic skills that you need to work with the GNOME Desktop.

Mouse Skills

Even if you are very familiar with mouse devices, you should still familiarize yourself with the button conventions and action terminology used in this manual. This section also describes the mouse pointers.

Mouse Button Conventions

All the instructions in this manual are for the following types of mouse devices:

  • Devices that are configured for right-hand users.

  • Three button devices. If you have a two-button mouse device, then your system may be configured to allow you to press the left and right mouse buttons simultaneously to simulate the effect of a middle mouse button press.

The mouse button conventions used in this manual are as follows:

Mouse Button

Definition

Left mouse button

The button on the left side of a mouse device configured for normal right-hand use.

Middle mouse button

The middle button of a mouse device configured for normal right-hand use.

Right mouse button

The button on the right side of a mouse device configured for normal right-hand use.

To reverse the handedness of your mouse device, start the Mouse preference tool, then select the options that you require. If you do reverse the handedness of your mouse device, then you must reverse the mouse button conventions used in this manual.

Mouse Actions

The following table describes the actions that you can perform with the mouse:

Mouse Button

Usage

Left mouse button

Use to perform the following actions:

  • Select text.

  • Choose items.

  • Drag items.

Middle mouse button

Use to perform the following actions:

  • Paste text.

  • Move items.

Right mouse button

Opens a menu for the selected object, if a menu applies.

For example, if you want to copy text then perform the following steps:

  1. Select the text with the left mouse button.

  2. Move the mouse pointer to the location where you want to copy the text.

  3. Click on the middle mouse button.

You can also right-click on the desktop to open the Desktop menu.

Mouse Action Terminology

The conventions used in this manual to describe actions that you take with the mouse are as follows:

Action

Definition

Click

Press and release the left mouse button, without moving the mouse.

Click-and-hold

Press and do not release the left mouse button.

Left-click

Same as click. Left-click clarifies the action when there might be confusion with right-click.

Middle-click

Press and release the middle mouse button, without moving the mouse.

Right-click

Press and release the right mouse button, without moving the mouse.

Double-click

Press and release the left mouse button twice in rapid succession without moving the mouse.

Drag

Click-and-hold a mouse button, then move an object. For example, you can drag a window or an icon. The left and middle mouse buttons can perform drag actions.

Drag-and-drop

Click-and-hold a mouse button, then move an object. For example, you can drag-and-drop a window or an icon. Release the mouse button to place the object in a new location.

Grab

Point to an item that you can move, and click-and-hold on the mouse button. For example, you can grab the titlebar of a window, then drag the window to a new location.

Mouse Pointers

As you use the mouse, the appearance of the mouse pointer can change. The appearance of the pointer can provide feedback about a particular operation, location, or state. The following table lists and describes some of the mouse pointers.

Pointer

Associated Action

Description

Normal pointer.

Point to an item, choose a menu item

Normal pointer. The pointer that appears during normal use of the mouse.

Move pointer.

Drag-and-drop

Move pointer. Indicates that when you drop the object, the object is moved from the old location to the new location.

Copy pointer.

Drag-and-drop

Copy pointer. Indicates that when you drop the object, a copy of the object is created where you drop the object.

Symbolic link pointer.

Drag-and-drop

Symbolic link pointer. Indicates that when you drop the object, a symbolic link to the object is created where you drop the object. A symbolic link is a special type of file that points to another file or folder.

Ask pointer.

Drag-and-drop

Ask pointer. Indicates that when you drop the object, a menu opens. You can choose to move or copy the object, or to create a symbolic link to the object.

Not available pointer.

Drag-and-drop

Not available pointer. Indicates that you cannot drop the object at the current location.

Move panel object pointer.

Move panel object

Move panel object pointer. Indicates that you have selected a panel object to move.

Horizontal resize pointer.

Resize window horizontally

Horizontal resize pointer. Indicates that you have selected a vertical window border to resize the window horizontally.

Vertical resize pointer.

Resize window vertically

Vertical resize pointer. Indicates that you have selected a horizontal window border to resize the window vertically.

Corner resize pointer.

Resize window horizontally and vertically

Corner resize pointer. Indicates that you have selected a corner of a window border to resize the window horizontally and vertically.

Window pane or table column resize pointer.

Resize window pane or resize table column

Window pane or table column resize pointer. Indicates that you have selected a column in a table to resize.