Using drag and drop

There's two things that simply amaze me about using drag and drop in Windows:

  1. How few people use it
  2. How much stuff it works with

The term 'drag and drop' refers to the action of clicking once on something with your left mouse button, and then, while holding down the button, 'dragging' the item into another window and 'dropping' it. These actions can range from the very simple to the very complex. Let's try one of each.

I'm going to assume you've got Microsoft Office loaded on your computer (why do I assume that?). Go ahead and open up Word. Now, type or cut and paste the following text into the document:

  • The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

wwindows drag drop 1

Now, highlight the word 'dog' by placing your mouse in front of the 'd', then clicking the left mouse button and holding it down while dragging over the rest of the word:

windows drag drop 2

Now, let go of the button, and place the mouse pointer over the highlighted word. You should get the standard mouse pointer that will look like this:

windows drag drop 3

Press and hold the left mouse button, then drag the word 'dog' in front of the word 'fox'. Let go of the button:

windows drag drop 4

Now, highlight the word 'fox' and drag it where 'dog' used to be:

windows drag drop 5

Simple, and works great, too. Once you get used to doing it dragging and dropping text within a document can be one of the fastest and easiest way to move words, sentences, or whole blocks of text.

Many times you can also drag more complex items from one program to another. For example, you can drag an Excel spreadsheet into a Word document, which 'embeds' the spreadsheet into the Word doc. It can then be edited and used just like any spreadsheet, it just 'lives' in the Word doc. Start by opening Excel, creating a simple spreadsheet, and saving in My Documents (if this is confusing to you check out the forums in the Excel section:

windows drag drop 6

Now, you'll need to have the Word opened, but not maximized so that you can see other parts of your screen. If you don't have My Documents open you should open it up, and arrange that window with the Word window so that you can see them both:

windows drag drop 7

Now, simply click once on the Excel spreadsheet you just saved in My Documents with the left mouse button, and while holding it down drag the file into the Word document:

windows drag drop 8

The spreadsheet becomes embedded in the Word document. If you want to edit the spreadsheet just double-click on it, and you can edit it just like any other spreadsheet.

This is a little more complex than some of the other subjects we cover here, if you have any questions reply to this thread and I'll respond to it here.