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Is there any way to represent a mouse button with something like a <kbd> tag?

I currently have this: Middle Mouse Button. However I think that is unappropiate.

I thought to put this: OOO, but is unclear.

Link to answer: https://askubuntu.com/a/625284/387382

  • Represent it where, for what purpose? – James May 18 '15 at 18:31
  • @James: In AskUbuntu to indicate a user to do middle click somewhere... I thought that if there is a icon for that, it would better than text. – Helio May 18 '15 at 18:32
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    @JasonC: Updated with the link! – Helio May 18 '15 at 18:38
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As far as I know, there are no universally recognized symbols for left-/middle-/right- mouse clicks, so the question of how to show such a symbol may be moot.

Usually, I just spell these things out, e.g.:

  1. Right-click the object you wish to edit.
  2. Type X then J to apply the effect.

If you are giving instructions and your individual steps are starting to look confusing because of all the click instructions, one thing you can try is expanding into more but simpler steps.

In the specific answer that you linked to, you have:

  • Select the entry number (it's at the left of the command). You can paste it pressing Middle Mouse Button.

I would say that's a good case for just typing it out. It will still be clear:

  • Select the entry number (it's at the left of the command). You can paste it by clicking the middle mouse button.

And possibly dividing into smaller steps:

  • Select the entry number (it's at the left of the command).
  • Middle-click to paste it.

I'd stay far away from OOO or other attempts at a graphical representation in text, by the way. It is definitely unclear for a number of reasons that you have probably already considered.

As an aside, you may wish to consider ordered lists rather than unordered lists if your instructions consist of steps that should be performed in a sequence.


Also, I can't find the "Middle Mouse Button" key on my keyboard! :)

  • Ok, thank you very much! – Helio May 18 '15 at 19:50
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I think you should write it out rather than try to find a shortner.

e.g. MMB seems fairly commonly used - Middle Mouse Button. Same with LMB and RMB.
But many people will not know what it is.
And if you're giving someone tech advice, it needs to be very clear, especially on Stack sites as the questions and answers are there to help other users.

So if there isn't currently a well known and common option to use, then whatever you use is not common and well known, and so likely requires explanation, and in the end takes longer than just typing "using your middle mouse button".

Your example answer is bullet points and tightly written (not descriptive paragraphs etc), so if you need to state "middle mouse button" often, you can put at the top "MMB = Middle Mouse button", and then use "MMB" thereafter.

But only if it's worthwhile. Abbreviations, acronyms, initialisms, etc are all great, but only if the person trying to get help knows what it is, and you don't need to explain it as it's pointless using something to shorten once or twice, but then have to still use the full version to explain the shortener.

  • and the downvote is for? – James May 18 '15 at 18:43
  • I did not downvote it (in particular I think the "So if..." and final paragraphs are good general advice) but my guess is somebody did not recognize MMB. Personally, if I saw that, it would take me a moment to get it. – Jason C May 18 '15 at 18:47
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    @JasonC Thanks for feedback. MMB is searchable on internet, but my point was even a "known" initialism is not useful, you've proven that :) – James May 18 '15 at 18:55
  • Of course, if you want to make it your personal mission to make people more aware of MMB, you could make it a link to its definition, or explain it at the top like you say (or a footnote). Harder than typing it out but helps the cause! – Jason C May 18 '15 at 18:57
  • @Tim NP. I rushed my answer TBH, and my actual advice was to not use MMB or anything else, "if there's not already a known one then it's not commonly known". NW – James May 18 '15 at 19:02

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