Jump Start: PowerPoint Mouse Tutorial

About this lesson

The PowerPoint Mouse Questions

Confused about the changing screen cursor in PowerPoint?  There are pointers, I-beams, double arrow cursors on your monitors, and even four-way arrows.  What do they all mean?


And what about the three buttons on your mouse; do they all work with PowerPoint?


Plus there are so many menu action commands, but I only need to use a few; are there shortcuts to limit what I have to choose from?


The Answer: Our “10 Minute” Mouse Tutorial for PowerPoint

We will show and explain the mouse buttons, pointers, and controls.


This video training will show help you master the mouse buttons, decode the screen cursor indicators, and provide some tricks on selecting objects and text.


BONUS: All of Microsoft Office

While this is focusing on PowerPoint, these tips and tricks will work in Excel, Word and other Office 365 tools.


“The PowerPoint Mouse Tutorial” Topics with Time Codes

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 00:42 The Buttons
  • 02:39 Tip for Left-Handers
  • 02:51 Screen Cursor Clues 0
  • 04:28 Resizing Objects
  • 04:53 Trick: Mouse Hover Help
  • 06:35 Object Selection and Decoding Visual Indicators
  • 07:34 Object Rotation
  • 07:54 Selecting Multiple Items
  • 08:28 The Right Mouse Button for Contextual Commands
  • 10:19 Text Selection Tricks with the Mouse
  • 12:01 Wrap-UP


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility All versions of PowerPoint

Level Foundation

Course Completed Complete




Remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking the AUTO SUBSCRIBE! button below

Subscriptions help us create more free video training for YOU!


Video Course Transcription for “The PowerPoint Mouse Tutorial”

Welcome to the Power Up Training session of all about the Mouse in PowerPoint.


This quick session is targeted at new PowerPoint users or people that are confused by the various mouse cursor icons and what to do with all the buttons on their mice.

Along the way, I will throw in some pro tips to get you not just up to speed but an advanced commander of your mouse!

Do note that almost ALL of these tips and tricks will work with any of Microsoft Office programs, including Word, Excel, Outlook, and more. Plus, this is true with all the older versions of Office.


Let’s get started with the most common “three-button” mouse, as seen here. We are working with a Windows-centric mouse, but similar commands will also work on an Apple Mac.

The LEFT button by default is your PRIMARY button. 90%+ of your actions will be with this button. We will see both click and click and drag actions with the PRIMARY button in a few moments.

The RIGHT button provides some magical help to navigate through all the many commands that PowerPoint possesses. I will dive into this cool trick at the end of our training topics.

The middle button in the center is often both a button and a wheel. This will be found on almost ALL modern mice. . . In the early days, there were only two-button mice.

The center wheel button does double duty, it can click (some people don’t realize that you can press down on the wheel), plus it rolls forwards and backward to scroll through a list. Watch as I move through the slides on the far left by rolling my mouse wheel.

Using the same scroll mouse key, I can also do view-zooming in and out by holding down the CTRL key and rolling the mouse wheel forwards and back. See how it works.

Lastly, there are some fancy mice that do not have a scroll wheel, but a center touch glide spot to do both clicking and scrolling.

For laptop trackpads, you need to refer to your manual for the center button capabilities.

If you are left-handed, you can swap the primary mouse button from the left side to the right side by making a change in your Windows or Mac operating system. In Windows, hit your windows key and type MOUSE, and select mouse settings. There it is a simple click to swap the mouse buttons from left to right.

Ok, let’s move on to the various and changing cursor indicators on your screen. I will focus on the four major categories you find in PowerPoint, there are more, but not seen as often.

Let start with the POINTER or normal selector cursor. It is an arrow that is indicating what you are about to select when clicking.

Next, is the I Beam or text selector that looks like a capital I. It shows up when hovering over text items and indicates which spot you will land if you click, such as between which two letters.

Or if instead of clicking once, you click and drag (holding down the left mouse button as you move) you are then selecting text to work on.

Next is the four-way arrow that is an indicator that if clicked and drag (which is click and hold down the primary button) it will move the object selected. See how I am moving the text boxed around while the four arrow indicator is displayed.

The last screen cursor clue shape is a collection of four shapes. When an object is selected and you move to one of the corners, you get one of these two ways arrow indicators that will preview not moving but resizing. You can grow and shrink objects in all four directions.


PowerPoint has 100s of commands and it can become overwhelming for both new and long-time users if faced to find the right command. Microsoft introduced the RIBBON MENU in Office 2013 to help simplify the process by surfacing the more commonly used commands with icons.

Power UP training has a whole training video on the ribbon menu, see above for a link or check out the notes below for a link.

But even with the easier ribbon menu, it is sometimes hard to know what an action icon actually does. So to the rescue is the HOVER HELP.

Just hover your mouse pointer over an icon and WAIT for a moment to have a popup explanation

And also hover help for the QUICK ACCESS TOOLBAR.


When an object is selected here are visual clues of grab handles for you to resize an object. Once selected, eight small indicator dots will show up around the edge of the selected object.


So what can we do when an object is selected? We can MOVE and RESIZE IT based on our earlier lesson of the mouse cursor indicator.


When an object is selected this is a 9 indicator beyond the 8 edge dots. This “circular arrow” can be used to rotate the selected object. Just click and spin it like the hand on a clock.


A single mouse click will select one object but if you want to select multiple items, you need to use the LASSO Technique.


 Now the fantastic shortcut mouse trick that Microsoft introduced years ago to show only the relevant commands when selecting different objects A single right mouse button not left will pop up a context-aware menu of limited commands that apply only to the object selected. 


In the most recent version of PowerPoint you double-click on text provide a short menu of commands that are related to bought baked pieces here. Let’s make a change to make it red and you can see how that works and we can also make it larger. By select the object box that contains texts right click you see I have moved and topic here. 


So there are different menus. I now go ahead and click a select word. A right-click on it and here you’ll see we go beyond just the box but if a variety of actions but they’re all pertinent to the selected text. Just a highlight that it is context-sensitive most like an object this time and our right-click is the all the menu choices here are relevant to an object not words. 


Let me change the color of this object to let’s say yellow and be not as done. Now they go to the table and I select the column the table when I like click on that we’ll see that there are many choices that are specific to a table and we’ll see that the same thing will happen if I right-click on a photo and see that there’s a tie to the picture that is selected. 


This is extremely cool. Text selection tip I have one last tip But this specific the selecting and working with text and issuing a formatting command. If a single character is selected then the change will impact only the one character. See here. I’m going to change it to red and make a little larger only the character H. 


However, with the I-beam selector is between two letters in the formatting applies to the whole word. Take a look there’s a flashing icon and then go ahead and change this specific word to a different color. Let’s do blue and you’ll see it applied to the word even though the selector isn’t the flashing ID between the W and the O. 


And also the way the selecting symbol would just double click on the word and then you can do the same pipeline different kinds of formats. Lastly if you select the outside text box not me the text but the box itself see the indicators when you apply formatting now applies to the inside contents of that box Let’s take a look Let’s change the color to purple for the whole contents of the box and then I’m going to change the text size for everything in this box. 


You take a look after I do underline which means the font name does not show up because inside that box there are different fonts being applied so can’t show you a simple name but if I choose a single name it will apply it to the whole contents of that box. 


So there you go. You should now feel comfortable using all the buttons in your mouth and understanding how to interpret the different cursors. On your screens. If you want more video training on PowerPoint like this do subscribe to our channel. And if this was useful give me a thumbs up like some courageous me to make more free training videos for you. 


And if you want more information visit our YouTube channel or visit our website at HTTP://POWER-UP.TRAINING.