One click or Two?

This is one of the most confusing issues for users. Should I click, or tap, once or twice 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, and two clicks will open or run that thing.

On a phone or tablet: one tap will open or run the thing, and holding your finger down on the icon (a long tap) will select it.

Some Exceptions:

Menu items always only require a single click.

Buttons always only require a single click.

In a web browser, like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge, most actions require only a single 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, single clicking sets the text insertion point, and double clicking selects a word, while triple clicking selects the paragraph.


So go ahead and try a single click/tap first, and if that doesn’t do what you wanted, try a double click. Make sure to watch for signs that the program/page/document is opening, 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.