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Mouse pointer positions outside screen

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015945D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Jun-16
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21
Document File: 3 page(s) / 49K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Some systems have pickable objects at the extreme edge of the screen. For example, the Windows task bar may be set to 'AutoHide'. In this mode it is effectively hidden (saving screen real estate) until the mouse moves to the edge of the screen at which it is parked. At that time, the task bar opens.

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Mouse pointer positions outside screen

Some systems have pickable objects at the extreme edge of the screen. For example, the Windows task bar may be set to 'AutoHide'. In this mode it is effectively hidden (saving screen real estate) until the mouse moves to the edge of the screen at which it is parked. At that time, the task bar opens.

     The problem with this arrangement is that it is all too easy to overshoot and pick the 'border' object by mistake when trying to select an intended target object near the edge of the screen. This problem becomes worse when either/or
(a) selection of the border object causes the overwriting on screen of the intended target object,
(b) the border object may be selected by pure mouse movement, without the need for a selection 'click'.

     For example, both problems (a) and (b) apply to the parked taskbar. If the task bar is parked at the bottom of the screen a problem arises when the target object is the Notes 'font' or 'format' bars (bottom left). There are similar problems at each edge of the screen. Once the task bar does open up, it writes over the area of the intended target object. The mouse must be moved away from the edge of the screen to get out of the opened task bar (at which point the task bar disappears -- but it never seems as quick at disappearing as it did at appearing in the first place). The mouse must then be moved back (more carefully this time) to the intended target object.

     This can be resolved by placing hidden selectable areas OUTSIDE the screen area, with appropriate alterations to the mouse pointer position driver.

This solution is particularly valuable where
(a) we have a fairly expert user, and
(b) the user is making heavy use of the mouse, and
(c) screen real estate is at a premium. Example applications are CAD and graphic design applications. (Programming and word processing experts will be making much greater use of the keyboard).

     This disclosure combines the benefit of the 'AutoHide' task bar (saving real estate) while avoiding (of reducing) the irritations of accidental selection.

     For simplicity, consider the case just at the bottom of the screen. A trivial variation of the argument applies at each edge. Suppose that the bottom of the screen is at y=SY (screen coordinates conventionally use y increasing downwards).

     A standard mouse driver will always return mouse pointer position my such that my<=SY. A typical algorithm relates a new mouse pointer position my2 to an old mouse pointer position my1 in reaction to a mouse movement dy using a formula such as my2 = min(my1 + dy, SY)

(A corresponding max(..., 0) is used for the opt of screen ).

     The hidden task bar is given a rectangular position x=0..SX, y=0..SY, so that it is selected when the mouse pointer position is returned as my=SY.

     This disclosure suggests that a pointer position y>SY is also permitted. The hidden task bar will be located at some rectangular position below the screen. Various

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