Reducing mousing risk factors with shortcuts for copying, pasting, dragging, scrolling, etc

Revised 2019.03.18

Section A gives an overview of the steps involved with copying and pasting and some of the tools available to make those steps easier. Section B goes into more detail about those tools.

A. Copying and pasting typically involves the following steps

  • Selecting text
  • Copying
  • Moving insertion point to destination
  • Pasting

A1. Selecting text

Typically done by dragging the mouse pointer over the text to be copied

  • Double click to select a word
  • Triple click to select a paragraph
  • Click at beginning of text, Shift-Click at end of text
  • DragLock (See Section B for more details)
  • Keyboard shortcuts (See Section B for more details):
    • Shift-End
    • Shift-Home
    • Shift-arrow key
    • Shift-PageUp
    • Shift-PageDown
    • Add Ctrl to all of the above to speed up the movement (e.g. Shift-Ctrl-End)
    • Ctrl-A (select all/everything)
    • Tab (to select next cell, if you are in a table)

A2. Copy/Paste

Typically done by:
  • Clicking on copy/paste button (this can involve a lengthy pointer movement)
  • Right click, click copy/paste


  • Press quick menu key, press C for copy (or press P for paste)
    • If there is more than one paste option in the Quick Menu, look for underlined letters which will identify the hot keys or hover your mouse pointer over the icons to reveal the hot key, if any. After pressing the paste hot key, you may need to press Enter as well, if the hot key appears more than once in the list.
  • Press Ctrl-C (or Ctrl-V for paste)
  • Press Copy or Paste hot key or button (See Section B for more details)

A3. Move to destination

Typically done by:

  • Clicking on taskbar (if destination is in another window)
  • Scrolling to destination


Instead of clicking on taskbar:
  • Autoclick or keyboard click on taskbar (See Section B for more details)
  • Press Alt-Tab to move to last used window (or create Alt-Tab hot key, see Section B)

Scrolling alternatives:
  • Use scroll wheel on mouse (use Control Panel to modify scrolling speed)
  • Click in the track above or below the scrollbar
  • Press Arrow keys, Home, End, PageUp, PageDown
  • Holding the Ctrl key down while pressing any of the above, increases the amount of insertion point movement

B. Tools for copying, pasting and other mouse related tasks

B1. Keyboard shortcuts (Replace clicks with keystrokes)

  • Many functions that we typically perform with a mouse can be performed with a keyboard. To learn more, search for “keyboard shortcuts” in your favourite search engine.
  • Some of these are one-key shortcuts (Esc, Tab, Home, End, “Start key”, “Quick menu key”, etc). Others require 2 or 3 keys (Alt-tab, Crtl-C, Ctrl-V, etc). Be careful with those, as pressing 2 keys with one hand is another source of hand strain. Use 2 hands to prevent this.
  • Learn to do these without looking at the keyboard to avoid neck strain

B2. Hot keys/buttons

  • These are keyboard shortcuts that are activated with one key.
  • As mentioned above, standard keyboards contain a few of them.
  • Macro software can be used to create more hot keys by reprogramming keys on your keyboard that you may otherwise not use that often (function keys, pause, tilde, etc)
  • Some mice & keyboards have additional built-in hot keys or buttons or programmable keys/buttons

B3. DragLock (aka ClickLock)

Dragging, having to move your mouse while keeping a button pressed, is the most awkward mouse activity. DragLock is a feature that “keeps a button pressed” automatically, so you don’t have to manually do it.

  • Most operating systems offer this in their mouse settings
    • Look for ClickLock, which is activated by a long click
  • If your mouse has more than 2 buttons, you may be able to program one of the buttons to activate DragLock (the mouse's software may be required).
  • DragLock can also be activated with a hot key (Mouse Keys or macro software will be required. See below for more info on Mouse Keys.)

B4. Click with your keyboard instead of your mouse

There is 3rd party software that will let you set this up but most computers come with a program called Mouse Keys already built in. It enables mouse pointer movement and clicking without a mouse by using number pad keys. This works well when your mouse is placed on the left side of your keyboard. You can move the mouse with your left hand and “click” with your right hand, sharing the workload between 2 hands.

  • Turn on Mouse Keys in your computer’s Control Panel or Settings menu. Look for Ease of Access or something similar.
  • Click: NumPad 5 (double-, triple-click by pressing the key multiple times)
  • DragLock On: NumPad 0
  • DragLock Off: NumPad .

Note: I don’t like that 2 keys are required to use DragLock. Third party software is available that lets you reprogram a single key to do this.

More info on Mouse Keys can be found here:

B5. Autoclicking software

  • Lets you click without pressing a button
  • Autoclicks are generated when you stop moving your mouse
  • Takes some getting used to but can be a very effective tool to reduce mouse strain
  • Because you don’t have to worry about manually pressing mouse buttons you can completely alter the way you grip your mouse to a more comfortable hand posture