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Learn More About Mice and Keyboards

What kind of mouse or keyboard do you need?

Optical mouse


Ideal for: Reducing mice breakdowns and repairs. Since it has no trackball and no moving parts, an optical mouse, unlike a conventional mouse, requires no cleaning and no replacement of parts.

Key features:

  • Tracks motion with an optical sensor, rather than with a ball, which leads to improved motion tracking.
  • Works on a wide–range of surfaces and doesn't require a mouse pad.
  • Comes with a scroll wheel, which allows for easy, up–and–down navigation of any Web site or document — without moving the mouse or using the side scroll bar.
  • Depending on the mouse, it will be compatible either PCs and/or Macs. Be sure to check operating system requirements (for instance, an optical mouse might work with Windows® 95 and above, or Mac OS 8.6 and above).
What's available: Corded or cordless optical mice. Corded optical mice connect to either a USB, PS/2, or (for older computers) to an AT port. Cordless optical mice come with a receiver that plugs into either a USB or PS/2 port and then receives signals from the mouse. Make sure your computer has the right port for a mouse before making a purchase. Some mice come with a PS/2, AT adapter. Otherwise, an adapter can be purchased separately.

Tip: An optical mouse won't work on reflective surfaces (such as a glass coffee table), unless you use a mouse pad.


Cordless mouse


Ideal for: Eliminating desktop clutter. A cordless mouse functions just as a corded mouse does, without all of the wires.

Key features:

  • Most models work up to 6 feet away from a computer.
  • Can be either a wheel or an optical mouse.
  • Comes with a scroll wheel, which allows for easy, up–and–down navigation of any Web site or document — without using the side scroll bar.
  • Powered by its own AA batteries, which conserves a laptop's battery power. AA batteries last up to two years, depending on frequency of use.
  • Comes with a receiver that plugs into either a USB or PS/2 port and then receives signals from the mouse. If you have an AT port only, some mice come with a PS/2–AT adapter. Otherwise, an adapter can be purchased separately.
  • Depending on the mouse, it will be compatible with either PCs and/or Macs. Be sure to check operating system requirements (for instance, the mouse might work with Windows® 95 and above, or Mac OS 8.6 and above).
Tip: If setting up multiple computers at work or at home with cordless mice, try to keep the computers 10 feet apart. Otherwise, the cordless mice might transmit signals to the wrong computer.


Trackball mouse


Ideal for: Reducing arm fatigue. A trackball mouse is stationary and features either a large ball on the mouse's top that can be moved by your palm or fingers, or a ball on the side that can be moved with your thumb.

Key features:

  • Can be either corded or cordless.
  • Depending on the trackball mouse model, you either click two buttons (and then use the trackball) or use a scroll wheel for easy, up–and–down navigation of any Web site or document — without using the side scroll bar.
  • A corded trackball mouse connects to either a USB, PS/2, or (for older computers) to an AT port.
  • A cordless mouse comes with a receiver that plugs into either a USB or PS/2 port and then receives signals from the mouse.
  • Make sure your computer has the right port before making a purchase. Some mice come with a PS/2–AT adapter. Otherwise, an adapter can be purchased separately.
  • Some offer advanced features, such as one–touch access to favorite Web sites and programmable buttons to handle repetitive mouse tasks.
  • Depending on the mouse, it will be compatible with either PCs and/or Macs. Be sure to check operating system requirements (for instance, the mouse might work with Windows® 95 and above, or Mac OS 8.6 and above).
What's available: Several creative designs and unusual colors to infuse any workspace with character.


Wheel mouse


Ideal for: People who like the design of the original mouse and want the ease of quick Web navigation.

Key features:

  • A scroll wheel that allows for easy, up–and–down navigation of any Web site or document – without moving the mouse or using the side scroll bar.
  • A corded wheel mouse connects to either a USB, PS/2, or (for older computers) to an AT port.
  • >A cordless wheel mouse comes with a receiver that plugs into either a USB or PS/2 port and then receives signals from the mouse.
  • Make sure your computer has the right port before making a purchase. Some mice come with a PS/2–AT adapter. Otherwise, an adapter can be purchased separately.
  • Depending on the mouse, it will be compatible with either PCs and/or Macs. Be sure to check operating system requirements (for instance, the mouse might work with Windows® 95 and above, or Mac OS 8.6 and above).
What's available: Corded or cordless wheel mice.


Keyboard


Ideal for: Entering data and typing text on a computer.

Key features:

  • Can be either corded or cordless. A corded keyboard attaches to a computer's PS/2 or USB port. A cordless keyboard comes with a receiver that plugs into one of the same ports and then receives signals from the keyboard.
  • Some keyboards have programmable keys — for quicker, more convenient access to common desktop applications, as well as the Internet, email, and multimedia devices.
  • Some keyboards have a scroll wheel, which allows for easy, up–and–down navigation of any Web site or document — without having to move your hand, your mouse, or the side scroll bar.
  • Many are designed with special ergonomic features, including a split keyboard and/or a detachable palm rest.
  • If you use a Pocket PC or Palm OS–based handheld, you can attach it to a portable, foldable keyboard for easy data entry.
  • There are a variety of keyboard accessories that either reduce hand and forearm strain (such as wrist rests) or save space (such as a keyboard tray, which stores your keyboard in a small drawer under your desk).
Tip: If your computer is older and has limited ports, look for a keyboard that has two USB ports. The keyboard, then, can allow for more peripherals (such as a digital camera or a printer) to be connected to your computer.


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