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a close up of a computer mouse with a scroll-wheel

What's coming up?

Sometimes a page in a document or a website is too tall or too wide for you to see everything on the screen at once. When that happens, you need to move around the page to see it all.

This is called scrolling. You may already know how to do this using a keyboard, but you can also do it using a mouse.

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The scroll wheel

You might see a small wheel on your mouse, located between the left and right mouse buttons. This is what is known as the scroll wheel. The scroll wheel can be rotated by your index finger and used to move up and down a document or a webpage. You can scroll quickly to move rapidly through the page, or scroll slowly to move through at a gentler pace.

Some computer mouses don't have a physical wheel, but the mouse back is sensitive to touch and you can gently drag a finger tip forward and back over the back of the mouse to achieve the same effect as a scroll wheel.

a computer mouse showing the ways a scroll-wheel can be moved
the scroll bar, scroll bar thumb and up arrow that you often find on the right hand side of a web page

The scroll bar

If your mouse doesn't have a scroll wheel, or you find it tricky to use, don't worry. There are other ways that you can scroll using the mouse.

On the right-hand side of a webpage or document, you may see a narrow vertical bar with arrows at the top and bottom. This is called the scroll bar.

Inside the scroll bar, there will be a small, draggable box, known as a scroll bar thumb. The height of this thumb will depend on the amount of content on the page you are viewing.

Dragging the scroll bar thumb

To move up or down through the pages on a screen, move your mouse cursor over to the scroll bar on the right-hand side. Click on and hold the scroll bar thumb and then move your mouse forward or back over the mouse mat to move up or down on the screen.

In programs like spreadsheets, where there is a lot of content that's too wide to fit on the screen, you will often find a horizontal scroll bar. To use this, click and hold the scroll bar thumb on the horizontal scroll bar and move your mouse left or right to reveal more of the page.

the close up of the scroll bar thumb in a vertical scroll bar

Using a scroll bar

So, how do you use a scroll bar? In the next slide, you can watch the video that demonstrates how to use your mouse to control how the page scrolls up or down. Press the Continue button and then play the video.

Using a mouse: The scroll bar

This demonstration video is approximately 31 seconds in duration. It demonstrates how to use the mouse to scroll up and down a web page.

Once the video starts, the intro panel fades and we see the screen is split into two parts. On the left-hand side is an animation of a web page which is too tall to fit all of it on the screen. On the right-hand side, there is text displayed, which is the script for the voiceover track.

Voiceover: "With your mouse, you have to move the cursor over the scroll-bar box."

The left-hand panel shows the mouse cursor move to the right-hand edge of the web page and hover over the scroll-bar box.

Voiceover: "Then, you have to press and hold the left mouse button and move the cursor down. You will see that the page scrolls down."

The left-hand panel shows the mouse cursor click and hold the scroll-bar box and drag it down to see more of the page contents. We watch as the cursor drags the scroll-bar box all the way to the bottom of the page and release.

Voiceover: "Lastly, you need to press and hold down the left mouse button again, then move the cursor up. You will see that the page scrolls up."

The left-hand panel shows the mouse cursor click on the scroll-bar box once again, and this time drag it up all the way to the top of the page.

Video ends.

a laptop computer showing how you can scroll using the touchpad

Scrolling on a laptop

On a laptop, you can also scroll up and down a page using the touchpad (also known as a track pad).

To do this, place two fingers together and rest them gently on the touchpad, move them forward or back in a dragging motion and the content on the screen should move in the same direction, like pushing a sheet of paper.

Likewise, move your fingers left and right to scroll horizontally.


You've completed the Scrolling activity.

You've learned about using the scroll wheel on a mouse, as well as using the scroll bar on a computer and laptop.

If you have registered and are logged into the Be Connected website, you'll now be able to take a short quiz to finish the Using a mouse course. If you're not registered, you are now at the end of the course.

a man relaxing with his laptop computer