Any computer user will know that the default actions for the standard mouse buttons are left click to select, right click to show the context menu and the wheel is used for scrolling. Most mice also have a third button on the scroll wheel that doesn’t really have a default function and can perform different actions depending on the software you are using. For instance, the middle mouse button in Google Chrome can close tabs, open links in new tabs and auto scroll.
More expensive or premium mice can come with upwards of ten or more buttons. Using the software that is designed for the mouse, you will be able to configure the buttons to perform a number of different tasks. The company that makes this software will usually only support the mice it manufactures, so you can’t use Logitech software with a Razer or Corsair mouse, and etc.
While most companies support their mice with software, some mice are more generic or come from a manufacturer that hasn’t made its own software. If that is the case, you will need another way to change and customize your mouse button actions because Windows doesn’t have any built in options to do it. Here we show 5 ways how you can assign various predefined actions to your mouse buttons.
1. Mouse Manager
If you have a four or five button mouse, Mouse Manager could come in useful. It’s a free and simple program that allows you to set any keys or combinations to the fourth and fifth buttons. Mouse Manager doesn’t have loads of advanced commands or actions which you can select from and is easy to use. The fourth and fifth mouse buttons on your mouse are classed as the extra buttons in addition to the left, right and middle (scroll wheel) buttons.
Click Add to create a new profile and enter your keys, text or combination into the box, shortcuts like Ctrl+V are supported. Mouse Manager supports multiple profiles so you can use different combinations when you like, just press Add to create another profile. The profiles can be accessed and selected from the Mouse Manager tray icon menu.
2. X-Mouse Button Control
X-Mouse Button Control is probably the most known about mouse button customization tool on the internet. It’s free, has a portable version and does not have any limitations to its functionality. You can add specific applications to be monitored by X-Mouse Button Control as well as opened processes and open windows. The three main mouse buttons are supported along with possible buttons four and five, the scroll wheel and the left/right tilt wheel.
Actions for each button are selected from the drop down and there are around 100 different actions to choose from. They range from simply swapping or disabling mouse button actions, simulated keystrokes, button chording/hold actions, window manipulation, Explorer commands, Windows settings, media and web browser commands, sticky buttons and cursor slowing.
X-Mouse Button Control supports up to 10 layers which are basically different sub-profiles you can use with each main profile. The options allow you to configure miscellaneous options such as scrolling background windows, changing the mouse speed, hotkeys to switch between layers and etc. X-Mouse Button Control can seem quite daunting and complicated for inexperienced users but you only have to click a few buttons for basic usage.
HydraMouse is a powerful piece of software to assign actions to mouse buttons. Although HydraMouse is shareware, the free version is almost fully functional. The only major limitation is you cannot add new entries to the applications list after the 30 day trial period expires. Although you can still purchase HydraMouse it looks like program development has long since been abandoned, the last version is from 2011.
Some of the 100+ predefined actions included in the program are the ability to open files/folders/programs, access special folders like My Pictures, press combinations of shortcut keys such as copy/paste/cut/save, mouse click simulation, media keys to play/pause/stop/control volume, and other miscellaneous actions to open/close CD tray, minimize/maximize window and etc. The list of actions is quite impressive.
To perform a simple remap from one mouse button to another, all you have to do is select the application from the list, click the input trigger box and press the desired button, click the action box and press the button to remap to, then press Set Trigger/Action. HydraMouse also comes with a powerful macro editor to create complex sequences of actions that can be executed with the click of a button.
ClickyMouse is from 2015 and has since been replaced by another piece of software called Macro Toolworks. There is also a free version of Macro Toolworks but we found ClickyMouse is easier to use and a bit more reliable when assigning mouse buttons. Although it can be done, this program is more tricky to set up than the others here if you just want to do something simple like disable or remap mouse buttons.
In addition to simply triggering actions on a normal mouse button click, you can also trigger other mouse events such as double clicking, holding down the mouse button, shaking the mouse horizontally or vertically, scrolling the mouse wheel forward or backward, and moving the cursor to the edge or corners of the screen. ClickyMouse supports the standard five mouse buttons of left, middle, right, X1 and X2.
To assign one mouse button, first you have to create a simple macro. Press Add Macro, go to the Macro Triggers tab, select an event such as “Mouse button click” and which button triggers the event from the dropdown. Then go to the Macro Text tab, click on Add CMD and add a Button Down and Button Up command. ClickyMouse can perform some quite complex and advanced commands and functions with the mouse if you invest some time into learning how it works.
5. Remap Mouse Buttons with AutoHotKey
If your needs are pretty simple and you only want to remap one mouse button to another, disable a mouse button or disable/reverse the scroll wheel, AutoHotKey will handle that task easily. AutoHotKey is not an end user utility but is a scripting language and interaction with the mouse and keyboard is one of its specialties.
Firstly, download AutoHotKey and install it. Right click on the desktop and select New > “AutoHotKey Script”. Give the script a name but make sure its extension stays as “.ahk”. Right click on the new file and select “Edit Script” to open the script in Notepad.
In AutoHotKey the actions are named LButton, RButton, MButton, XButton1 and XButton2. The X buttons are classed as the fourth and fifth mouse buttons if your mouse has them. The mouse wheel is supported with WheelUp, WheelDown, WheelLeft, and WheelRight (left and right are not guaranteed to work though).
The syntax to use in the script is very easy. On a new line type the mouse button/scroll action you want to change, add two colons and then type the new action you want to give the button. Use Return after the colons to disable the button. Here are some examples:
MButton::RButton – Makes the middle mouse button perform right click actions.
RButton::LButton – Makes the right button perform left clicks.
WheelUp::WheelDown – Scroll up will instead scroll down.
WheelDown::WheelUp – Does the oppposite. Use this and above together to reveres the scroll wheel.
XButton1::RButton – The fourth mouse button will perform a right click.
XButton2::Return – Disables the fifth button.
RButton::Return – Disables the right mouse button.
Save the file when you are finished and then double click on it to run the script. The running script sits in the system tray with a green icon, you can right click on it and suspend the script (stop custom mouse actions), reload the script after a change, edit the script, or exit. If you disable the right mouse button in your script, all context menus can still be accessed by holding Shift while right clicking.
AutoHotKey can be used in more advanced ways such as mapping keyboard keys or shortcuts to mouse buttons, launching programs/macros with a mouse click and even assigning custom mouse button actions to specific programs. Have a read of the AutoHotKey guide for more information.