Mouse and mouse interaction terms

Most of the time, don't talk about the mouse, mouse actions, or the pointer unless it's necessary to avoid confusion. Instead, talk about customer interactions with the UI. To learn more, see Describing interactions with UI.

When you need to talk specifically about the mouse, mouse interactions, or the pointer, use these terms.

Mouse actions

Term Usage
click Use to describe selecting an item with the mouse by clicking the mouse once. Don't use click on.
click in Use only to refer to clicking in a general area within a page, window, or other UI location.
double-click Use to describe selecting an item by clicking the mouse twice in rapid succession. Hyphenate. Don't use double-click on.
drag Use to describe holding down a button while moving the mouse, and then releasing the button. Don't use click and drag or drag and drop. It's OK to use drop by itself if drag isn't precise enough.
hover over, point to To describe moving the mouse pointer over an area of the UI without selecting it, use hover over or point to, as appropriate for your audience. Use hover or hovering as the adjective and noun form.
In Microsoft Edge, when you hover over a link, the URL appears in the lower-left corner.
The hover image is displayed when the user points to the button.
To program the pop-up action that's triggered by hovering ….
Pop-up windows that appear on hover

Don't use mouse over or move the mouse pointer to. It's OK to use move the mouse pointer to in content that teaches beginning skills.
press and hold Use only in content that teaches beginning skills.
right-click Use to describe clicking an item by using the secondary mouse button (the right button by default, but the user can customize this).
scroll Use only in content that teaches beginning skills. In other content, use a phrase such as move through.


Term Usage
mouse Use mouse to refer to one mouse. If you need to refer to more than one mouse, use mice.
mouse button Use to refer to the left mouse button. Use left mouse button only to teach beginning skills or when not doing so would cause confusion. When more than one mouse button is used in a procedure, name the least frequently used button only.
right mouse button Use to refer to the secondary mouse button. By default, this is the right mouse button. Customers who change the default understand that right mouse button indicates the secondary button.
wheel button Use to refer to the third or middle button on the mouse. Customers rotate the wheel and click the wheel button.

On-screen pointers

When you must talk about the appearance of the pointer on the screen, include a picture of the pointer if possible. Don't use a picture instead of the word pointer—use both.

Term Usage
busy pointer Use to describe the pointer when it consists only of an activity indicator.
double-headed arrow Use to describe how the pointer looks over a split line (). Don't use double-headed arrow as a name for the pointer.
When the pointer becomes a , drag the pointer to move the split line.
pointer Use to refer to the pointer on the screen. Use cursor only for a technical audience or when it's necessary to describe the point where text or graphics will be inserted. Don't use insertion point.
working in background pointer Use to describe the pointer when it consists of both the pointer and an activity indicator.