Software

Five Apps for customizing a mouse

A number of utilities allow you to reassign mouse buttons or change a scroll wheel's behavior. Brien Posey lists a few he has found.

Computer mice have been used for decades and are easily taken for granted. Even so, it is possible to make your mouse a little bit more appealing by customizing its behavior. A number of utilities exist that allow you to do things such as reassigning mouse buttons or scroll wheel's behavior. There are even utilities that can record macros of your mouse movements. This article lists five such utilities.

This blog post is also available as a TechRepublic Screenshot Gallery.

Five Apps

1. Mouse and Keyboard Center

Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center is a free utility for customizing the behavior of Microsoft mice. The Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center allows functions to be assigned to individual mouse buttons. Although this basic functionality is helpful, the utility's best feature is that it allows for application specific button assignments. As such, the right mouse button could be assigned one function in File Explorer and a different function in Microsoft Office.

2. WizMouse

WizMouse is a free utility that can be used to customize mouse behavior. The utility's main function is to enable the mouse wheel for applications that do not natively support its use. There is also a handy "reverse" function for use those situations where the mouse scrolling is backwards. WizMouse can be enabled or disabled from the system tray.

3. KatMouse

KatMouse is a free utility that allows the mouse's scroll wheel to be used in the window beneath the mouse cursor. This can be done independently of the window that is currently selected. In other words, KatMouse lets you scroll a non active window.

The utility can also be used to assist with task switching. Since the wheel button is not normally used in a consistent manner, KatMouse allows it to be used for switching tasks by pushing the current window to the back of the stack of open windows. KatMouse also has the ability to assign custom scroll settings to an application.

4. MouseWrangler

MouseWrangler is a free tool that is designed to automate otherwise tedious tasks. Holding the right mouse button initiates the recording of a macro (which MouseWrangler refers to as a gesture). Macros can be used to automate any task that would normally be done with a mouse. In a roundabout way it is even possible to simulate keyboard input. For more complex operations, MouseWrangler can be used to launch external macros (such as those found in Microsoft Office).

One of the nicest things about MouseWrangler is that it is portable. Although the utility comes with an installer, you don't have to use it unless you want to.

5. Ghost Mouse

Ghost Mouse is a free utility that is designed to record macros. This tool offers a very simple user interface that is easy to learn. The macro recording process can capture mouse movements, mouse clicks, delays, and keyboard input. Once captured, macros can be saved or played back immediately.

Also read:

About

Brien Posey is a seven-time Microsoft MVP. He has written thousands of articles and written or contributed to dozens of books on a variety of IT subjects.

6 comments
cdbob18
cdbob18

Do these utilities work on a touchpad (as on a laptop) as described? If yes, you should say so. If not, is there software specifically for a touchpad?

techrepublic
techrepublic

I use X-Mouse Button Control and have been very happy with it. Here's its description from the website at http://www.highrez.co.uk/downloads/XMouseButtonControl.htm: X-Mouse Button Control is a Windows application to remap your mouse buttons and expand the capabilities of your mouse! You are able to provide application or window specific mappings, which means an application or window can use the mouse buttons differently from another. For each profile you can optionally define up to 5 'layers' of different button configurations which you can switch between using hotkeys or mouse buttons. You can also alter the behaviour of the scroll and tilt wheel functions, fixing windows that don't normally respond to these controls. Profiles are automatically activated by moving the mouse over the defined window or alternatively, when the specified application is active. This has many uses, for example: In games which do not natively support the extended mouse buttons, you can map keys to each button. Changing the behaviour of the mouse over certain windows, such as making the mouse wheel change volume when hovering over the system tray. The extensive list of functions available to map to your mouse buttons includes options such as: Send any keys using the simulated keystroke editor Launch any windows application Copy/Cut/Paste Media control (play/pause/stop/volume/mute etc.) Capture screen (or active window) image to clipboard Click-Drag [Sticky buttons/keys] Vista (and Windows 7) support with some Vista/7 only features such as 'Flip 3D' And much more!

Old Salt
Old Salt

go-to feature is not even mentioned: it gives you scrolling function on any window it's moved to, without having to click. You hover on a window, it has focus right then. I find this indispensable at work when I have 4 or 5 windows open at once for the same project (maybe one or more Excel sheets, several reference lookup windows, browser).

Kieron Seymour-Howell
Kieron Seymour-Howell

I have some more suggestions: DragToScroll - Universal Drag & Fling/Flick Scrolling http://www.autohotkey.com/board/topic/55289-dragtoscroll-universal-drag-flingflick-scrolling/ KatMouse - mouse wheel utility for Windows http://ehiti.de/katmouse/ MouseImp PRO http://www.mouseimp.com/ - Intellipoint Pro: (I prefer the older versions), - TweakUI: for WinXP, ver1.33 for Vista and Win7, no go for Win8, - Logitech SetPoint II: just to program my G mouses, then I uninstall it and they work across all systems and OSs with the custom settings.