IntelliMouse isn't smarter than usual, but it scrolls

I guess someone in Redmond, Wash., astutely recognized that users' most common tasks
involve scrolling.

The new rodent is shaped like the old Microsoft Mouse II, but there's a small gray
wheel between the two buttons. If software is properly enabled, the wheel lets you scroll
through documents. Press the wheel like a button to pan through a document. In Office 97,
hold the Ctrl key down and rotate the wheel to zoom in or out.

Microsoft's own Office 97 and Internet applications are the only products currently
compatible with the IntelliMouse.

The software support is similar to that of the previous version of IntelliPoint, first
introduced with the Microsoft Natural Keyboard two years ago.

The cursor can snap to active buttons; wrap around from top to bottom, left to right or
vice versa; and do other tricks such as show trails. If you're like me, you'll leave most
of this stuff turned off.

If you want to turn any features on, IntelliPoint will deposit a small icon in the
taskbar tray to the right of the screen, near the current time. Double-click to adjust the
mouse features.

At $85, IntelliMouse is a little steep; $60 will buy a good mouse. The extra $25 for
the wheel is nice but not necessary as standard issue.

But even if Microsoft were the only company to put IntelliMouse wheel support in its
software, that would still add up to a lot of IntelliMouse-compatible products.

If you're buying the $599 Office 97 Professional, you can select a bundle that includes
IntelliMouse for $30 more-an improvement over buying it alone.

I look forward to the day someone makes a mouse smart enough not to clog with lint.

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