Why You Need 9 Buttons Mouse

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Why you need a mouse with more than 5 buttons?

Logitech G600 mouse 2-s295x212
Logitech G600
Logitech G602 mouse-s284x220
Logitech G602

You want to be able to press a button on mouse to:

Copy cut paste, switch tab, close tab, back, forward, zoom in/out.

You don't want to move your hand back to keyboard and press key combinations.

Here's commands we use frequently. Roughly in order of importance:

  1. left click.
  2. right click.
  3. middle click.
  4. go to previous page in browser.
  5. go to next page in browser.
  6. close tab. (Ctrl+w)
  7. prev tab.
  8. next tab.
  9. copy.
  10. paste.
  11. select all. (usually very often needed before copy or paste)
  12. zoom in.
  13. zoom out.

That's 13 commands. Need 13 buttons.

Then, there's desire. You desire:

Tilt wheel. Once in a few days, you need to side scroll a large image, or view code snippet inside a tiny scrollable inner window. Tilt wheel is easier and faster than dragging the side scroll bar. Tilt wheel counts as 2 buttons.

Logitech's Spin Wheel. This is especially useful on Linux, because X11 doesn't support accelerated scroll. [see Mouse with Spin Wheel]

DPI Resolution switch. Usually, there are 2 buttons for this. This is quite important in some games. For example, in first-person shooter games, when you snipe someone far away, reducing resolution helps aiming significantly. If you do a lot 3D modeling work, it can be also very useful.

Tips for Button Assignment

Logitech G700 mouse software

There are more commands for operating a {computer, app, game} than there are mouse buttons. So, you'll have to make some choice. Here's some tips in button assignment.

First of all, the most important tip for assigning buttons is to put the most frequently used function to the most easy-to-press buttons.

What is most need command depends on the game/app you play, and your own preference.

For general office work, the most needed commands are, roughly from most needed to least:

  1. Standard left click.
  2. Standard right click.
  3. Double click. (but you should set your system to use single click instead. See: Windows: Single-click Open File.)
  4. Close current tab. (a button on mouse is better than moving mouse and aiming at the tiny close mark, or moving hand to keyboard to press Ctrl+w)
  5. Switch to {previous, next} tab.
  6. Switch to last window/app.
  7. Single click to paste.
  8. Single click to copy.
  9. Go Back previous page.

Here's some tips.

How to Chose a Mouse

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