One Click or Two?

This is one of the most confusing issues for users. Should I use one click or two to initiate the action I want? Unfortunately, the short answer is that it depends.

The General Rule:

  • On a computer, one click will select something. Two clicks will open or run that thing.
  • On a phone or tablet, one tap will open or run the thing. Holding your finger down on the icon (a long tap) will select it.

Some Exceptions:

  • Menu items only require a single click.
  • Buttons only require a single click.
  • In a web browser, like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge, most actions require one click.
  • On the task bar or dock, a single click will open the program, but on the desktop a double click is required to open a program or document.
  • In a word processing program like Microsoft Word, a single click sets the text insertion point, and a double clicks selects a word, while a triple click selects the paragraph.

So go ahead and try one click first, and if that doesn’t do what you wanted, try two clicks. Make sure to watch for signs of activity because continuing to click after the initial action has begun will only slow down the result and may actually perform additional actions that you are not expecting.

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