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-- by Hailey Lynne McKeefry
Microsoft just taught everyone's favorite old mouse a few new tricks-and gave the mouse a new name.
The Microsoft IntelliMouse, a high-end version of the company's traditional mouse, has a wheel embedded between the two standard buttons. I tested this mouse using the Microsoft Office 97 beta version and Windows 95 Explorer. The wheel lets you scroll your document in two ways-either by resting your middle finger on the wheel and rolling it, or by pressing down the wheel and moving the mouse. Either method gives you the same result as clicking on and dragging the down arrow on the navigation bar at the right of most program screens. When you move the cursor, one of five large arrow cursors (up, down, right, left or four- way) appears to indicate the direction of movement. Clicking the wheel once for AutoScroll activates the teleprompter mode, automatically scrolling the document at a speed you select.
This functionality isn't integrated yet into most programs. Currently, the IntelliMouse wheel works in the soon-to-be-released Microsoft Office 97, Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 and Windows 95 Explorer. It's also supported by Microsoft's Publisher 97, Expedia and Automap Streets Plus, as well as by programs from Micrografx, Visio Corp. and 3D/Eye. AutoScroll is available in Word 97 and Internet Explorer.
There's new functionality waiting for you within these programs. For example, by holding down the Ctrl key and rolling the wheel backwards, I reduced my document's size; I enlarged it by rolling forward. The data zooming feature provides several functions in Outline mode; in Internet Explorer 3.0, you can connect to hotlinks or trace back through previously visited Web pages.
The IntelliMouse software lets you assign a variety of functions to the wheel. You can access the Start menu, invoke the Help system or access the system shell. The wheel can act as a double click. You can choose more than 25 different cursors, from the practical (large arrows, 3-D pointers) to the whimsical (food, sports, reptiles). For better visibility, you can use pointer trails, make the cursor wrap around the screen, or make it disappear while you type or add "sonar"-large gray circles that envelop the cursor when you press the Ctrl key.
If you love the traditional Microsoft Mouse 2.0, you'll flip over the IntelliMouse. If you plan to use the programs that take advantage of this mouse's functionality, the few extra dollars will be worth it.
Copyright © 1997 CMP Media Inc.