Linux: Mouse Hover-Click

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

You can make mouse do automatic click.

That is, hover mouse over to the place you want to click, as soon as the mouse stops moving, after 1 second delay, it'll click.

Install 「mousetweaks」

# install mouse hover click tool
sudo apt-get install mousetweaks

It may already be installed if you are using Ubuntu or LXDE. [see Linux: How to Switch to LXDE, Xfce]

Start hover-click Daemon

To turn it on, start the background process (aka daemon).

# turn on hover click. dwell-time is delay. threshold is pixels movement allowed
setsid mousetweaks --dwell --dwell-time=1.2 --threshold=10 &

Note: the delay time is critical. If too short, you'll have problems.

Note: some GUI “universal access ” utility may turn this on, but their delay time is too short.

To stop hover-click, run this command:

# kill mouse hover-click daemon
mousetweaks -s

Issues with Hover-Click

Hover-click is really great if you suffer Repetitive Strain Injury.

Hover-click is also great if you just want convenience.

However, it will take a week and good patience to get used to it.

With hover-click, you need to move the mouse only when you absolutely need to. Because everytime the mouse moves, it will activate a click. In the first few days, you'll learn this the hard-way, because you'll randomly hit links, buttons, windows. Then, you'll start to try to find a empty space to rest the mouse pointer. But, eventually, you'll learn that actually it's best to not move the mouse, when you don't need to.

But even if you adopted to hover-click, there are still some issues.

Hover-Click Problems

difficult to use actual hover User Interface, such as tool-tips, or web menu that are activated by hover. Normally, you hover over items and read about it. But now, hover over, it's going to make a click within 1 second, because you just moved the mouse.

difficult to select item in a web menu that requires scroll to see parts. Example:

difficult to make copy/paste or selection or any dragging (such as select area in image editor). Because after you finish selection, it will activate a click.

Solution is to drag, and wait for the click to happen while still holding the mouse button. After the click happened, release button, but don't move the mouse.

For text selection, right-click immediately after selection, then move mouse pointer to the “copy” context menu. Even better is to roll the scroll wheel immediately after selection, as scroll also disables the click activation.

autoscroll is difficult. (Autoscroll is a Microsoft Windows browser feature. Middle click to turn it on, then move mouse in any direction to scroll/pan. [see Firefox: Set Mouse Autoscroll, Linux])

[see Firefox: Set Mouse Wheel Scroll Speed]

Should You Turn on Hover-Click?

If you have Repetitive Strain Injury, then yes. (but there are probably better solutions, such as using a big trackpad, touch screen, pen tablet, etc. [see Input Devices: Mouse, Jog Wheel, Touchpad, Pen Tablet, Trackball, Joystick] )

If you don't have mouse induced hand pain, and trying to use hover-click just for the convenience or efficiency reasons, it may not be worth the trouble. I myself do turn it on sometimes, when i don't feel like clicking. It's kinda nice, as if you are floating and things just happen sans exertion.

Using Trackball

Kensington Expert Mouse trackball wireless
Kensington Expert Mouse

Hover-click and trackball are great combinations. Because, trackballs are less likely to move by accident.

[see Best Trackballs 2017]

I'm using it with Logitech Trackman Marble Mouse. [see Logitech Trackman Marble Mouse Review]

Mouse topic

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  4. Linux: How to Set Mouse Speed
  5. Linux: How to Swap Mouse Buttons
  6. Linux: Set Trackball/Mouse Do Scroll
  7. Linux: Setup Accelerated Scroll and AutoScroll
  8. Linux: X11 Mouse Button Numbering