The best way to Remap Your Further Mouse Buttons for Optimum Productiveness

Modern mice have at least one or two additional buttons that can be reached with the thumb, and many also hide two more on their sides of the scroll wheel. What if we told you that you are doing yourself a disservice by using a multi-button mouse like this with its default button assignments?

So please allow us to offer an alternative that we promise can radically change the way you use your computer and increase your productivity dramatically. And no, we're not overdoing things.

Your mouse's default settings could be better

The default assignments for the extra buttons in mice are a relic from when Internet Explorer got the upper hand. Today, however, we navigate the web differently.

Instead of constantly going back and forth, we open and discard tabs. So what's the point of assigning the thumb buttons on our mice to a relic of Internet Explorer functionality?

Similarly, on many mice, you can tilt the wheel to scroll left and right. Theoretically, that makes sense: It's not called "scroll wheel" for nothing. Yet how often do you scroll horizontally each day? If you don't spend most of your time in Excel, the answer is likely "never". Why don't you assign something really useful to these buttons?

How to improve your mouse for the modern day

You may not use back and forth navigation or scroll left and right very often. Still, there's no argument: having easy access to these features is admittedly helpful. Why map these keys to something else?

The answer is simple: because you will be using that "something else" all day, every day. As you will see, our assignments are not random, nor are they based on how we use our PCs. On the contrary, they are even more useful than the default settings for the vast majority of users.

With this guide, you can complete software installations, accept and cancel almost all prompts, and even do basic text edits without lifting a finger!

Which mouse should you use?

We are using the G502 Hero mouse from Logitech for this guide. Given its popularity, we can safely assume that many of you may be using it as well.

You can move along with another mouse as long as it is also programmable. All you need is the official software or a third-party tool that allows button remapping.

While our G502 Hero comes with 11 programmable buttons, you don't need that many for what we're about to see here. Our most important optimizations only need the two thumb and two wheel buttons.

Update your click

If you have been using your mouse without any additional software, now is the time to install the official software or a third-party solution that allows for customization.

Since we will be using the Logitech G502 Hero mouse, we will also be using the official bundled software that we had already installed. However, since this is not a mouse-specific guide, we won't go into how to find and install the software for a particular mouse.

Reprogram the thumb buttons

Launch your mouse configuration software and visit the page or menu from where you can reconfigure the thumb-accessible buttons.

In the Logitech software we were using, we had to first click on the G502 Hero mouse.

Then select the second entry from the icon menu on the left of the window to go to the Assignments Screen. We also clicked the left / right buttons on the sides of the mouse preview that dominates the window to "rotate" the mouse sideways, which allows us to remap its side buttons.

Select the first thumb key and map it to a simple enter key. Repeat for the second thumb key, but map it to Escape. If, like our G502 Hero, you also have access to a third key accessible with the thumb, assign it to the "Shift" function of your mouse. This function swaps the primary functions assigned to the mouse buttons for a second set when you press this button.

That was the first piece of magic. Let's get to the bike.

Creating a better mouse wheel

Go to the wheel configuration page or your mouse's menu. Map the left tilt / click of the wheel to the backspace key on your keyboard. Then remap the right slope / click delete.

Make sure to check out our guide on how to fix a mouse that double-clicks on a single click. It's mostly about the main left button, but some of our suggestions apply to all buttons on your mouse. After you've assigned deletion to one of them, you don't want them to click "by itself".

Does your mouse support a shift function that makes it possible to assign more functions to its keys, like our G502 Hero? Let's look at a great way to use it.

In the case of the G502 Hero, these additional function slots are available if you have the Standard / G-Shift switch under the mouse preview.

However, we will not assign them to individual keystrokes. Instead, we're going to use macros.

Creating a wheel offset and macros

To assign macros to the buttons on your mouse, you must first create them. In the case of the Logitech G502 Hero we're using here, this is done by selecting MACROS under Assignments on the left side of the mouse configuration window.

Create a new macro and name it "Minimize Window" because that is exactly what it will do. Set the macro to run only once when you click the mouse button where it is assigned. For us it meant choosing the NO REPETITION Opportunity.

Choose to manually enter a series of keystrokes on your keyboard (we have the RECORD KEYSTROKE Opportunity).

Hold down the left Windows key and press the cursor down key twice. For us the macro showed Left window + down + down.

Save your newly created macro, then repeat the process to record a second one. This time, give it a name like "Reopen closed tab" or "Undo close tab" and press the key combination CTRL + SHIFT + T on your keyboard.

Return to the main mouse button remapping screen or menu. Then assign these two macros to the "shifted" left and right wheel inclinations / clicks.

There also a map Side up and Picture down Pressing keys in the "shifted" state of your bike scrolls up / down. Page up for Shift + wheel up, Page down for Shift + wheel down.

It's also worth checking out our guide to the 6 best apps to automate your keyboard and mouse to further expand the functionality of your mouse.

And we're done with these final tweaks. But how and why should our setup be "better" than the default settings?

Absolute control at the push of a button

Assigning Enter and Escape to your mouse buttons may seem useless at first. Until you find out that these keys also control most of the requested requester on both Windows and Linux! Enter corresponds to a click on a preselected "OK" button, Escape corresponds to a click on Cancel. In other words, from now on you can accept or reject any requester that shows up by simply rocking your thumb back and forth!

With the backspace and delete assignments on your wheel, you can correct your entry by deleting letters to the left or right of the cursor.

The backspace key is also the equivalent of "going back" in many applications, from your web browser to the KODI Media Center. Just remember to not tilt your wheel to the right in your preferred file manager (where you assigned deletion). Unless you wanted to delete what you selected.

We probably don't need to explain what our aptly named Reopen Closed Tab and Minimize Window macros do. Hold down the Shift-Status-Key of the mouse and move the mouse wheel to the left or right. Either the tab that you accidentally closed in your browser will be shown again immediately, or you can send its window – or any window – to be hidden in the system tray.

After all, the page-up and page-down mappings are just the icing on the cake for even faster scrolling up and down. These weren't available on our Logitech G502 Hero mouse, but we included them because you can use them with other mice.

Try out your mouse with these tweaks for at least a day and we promise you will keep it forever! What's even better, since most modern mice can also store these settings in their built-in memory, you can use them on multiple computers.

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About the author

Odysseas Kourafalos
(11 articles published)

OK's real life started at 10 when he got his first computer – a Commodore 128. He has since melted keycaps by typing around the clock and trying to spread The Word Of Tech to anyone interested enough to listen . Or rather read.

From Odysseas Kourafalos

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