Using the Mouse on a Hardware Terminal

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Certain IBM Terminals in the InfoWindow II line of products have an additional port where one can attach a PS/2 mouse. Information about using the Mouse on a Hardware Terminal is scarce and not too easy to find.[1]

Two basic functions are available, and described in more detail on PDF page 13 of the below mentioned PDF document.


Two types are available:

  • For copying a line, press and hold the shift key, press and hold the left mouse button and select the desired text by dragging. Releasing both shift key and the mouse button copies the marked characters into a local buffer.
  • For copying a block, press and hold the shift key, do a double-click with the left mouse button, but do not release the button at the second click.[2] Instead drag the mouse to mark the desired screen area. Releasing both shift key and the mouse button copies the marked characters into a local buffer.

Pasting is done at the current cursor position by shift key + right click.

This function allows copy-paste not only working within one terminal session, but also between multiple ones.

About Multiple Sessions

There are two types of multiple sessions.

One is provided by the operating system in the host through the secondary interactive job facility. Jobs can be switched between by pressing the attention key and choosing the appropriate menu item. The two jobs limit can be expanded by making use of so called group jobs.[3] The inactive session(s) is/are suspended and not given CPU time.

The other is provided by the terminal itself, without needing any special OS support, and might take additional addresses on the daisy-chained twinax line. The number of additional sessions is dependent on the terminal's capabilities and configuration. Some terminals even allow sessions to be concurrently visible and active on the display. In any case, switching between sessions is done with a hotkey.

Simple Hotspots

These provide alternate ways of interacting with the system.

  • Double-click with the mouse's left key is the same as pressing Enter.
  • Subfiles can be scrolled downwards by left-clicking on the More… indicator at the bottom right of a subfile, and upwards by right-clicking there.
  • The description of command keys — usually found at the bottom of a screen — is automatically converted to hotspots which can be left-clicked instead of pressing the respective function key.
  • Appropriately written applications might provide a menu bar, and pulldown menus which can be used like well-known from GUIs through left-clicking them.[4]

See also


  1. Who would search a Marketing Manual for information usually being written in a User's Manual?
  2. I wonder what type of engineer comes up with such a cumbersome idea!
  3. See Work Management, PDF Page 195 for an entire chapter dedicated to this topic.
  4. I've not yet seen such an application in the wild. I refuse to utilize this technique in my applications because for plain keyboard users, a menu bar is more cumbersome to use than pressing a simple function key. Also, they look good only on a terminal (emulator) supporting the enhanced interface. Finally, implementing menus is also very cumbersome, a lot of definitions in the screen's DDS source.