Use Middle Click on Your Mouse to Simplyify Tasks
That wheel in the middle of your mouse is good for more than just scrolling—in fact, the button can do quite a bit. Here are some of the oft-ignored shortcuts built in to the middle mouse button.
If you’re on a laptop and don’t have a middle mouse button, you can probably still perform many of these actions. Many laptops will simulate a middle click if you press the left and right buttons simultaneously, or you can add that ability with a program like AutoHotkey. Of course, most of these things are easily accessible from other places, too—they’re just a bit quicker if you have a middle mouse button.
In Your Browser
Either with Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer you can:
- Close a tab by middle-clicking on the tab
- Open a link in a new tab by middle-clicking on the link (this also works in the address bar’s drop-down menu and back and forward buttons)
- Open all bookmarks in a folder at once by middle-clicking on the folder in your bookmarks bar
- Enable auto-scroll by middle-clicking on a web page
- Paste text in Firefox with a middle click, by enabling the
middlemouse.pasteoption in about:config
Apart from the browser shortcuts, Windows has a few other shortcuts built-in for the middle mouse button. You can:
- Open a new instance or window of a program by middle-clicking its taskbar icon
- Close a window by hovering over its taskbar icon, then middle-clicking the thumbnail that pops up
- Enable auto-scroll in Microsoft Office by middle-clicking in the document
For more custom actions and shortcuts check 3rd party applications like AutoHotkey.
We’d be remiss not to mention Linux, which has one particularly famous (and awesome) middle click shortcut: if you middle click in a textbox, you can paste text from the clipboard in just about any app. It’s pretty darn handy!