Have you ever heard of customizing your mouse? Almost everyone has a desktop and a mouse to perform all tasks on the computer. We spend so much time using the mouse, but we usually don’t spend time getting the most out of this little controller!
However, you can dramatically increase your productivity with a few simple mouse settings in Windows or with some third-party apps. I’m going to go through a couple of apps I’ve come across over the past few years that turn my mouse into more than just a moving pointer! My last post was about customizing the right-click context menu, so be sure to check it out after finishing this article.
Always Wheel is a tiny portable application that I think should have been built into Windows as a function. This basically makes all windows scrollable even if they are not active. Such a simple little tweak, but it’s amazing how many times I’ve actually used it.
Personally, I have a bunch of windows open all the time, and since Windows doesn’t have the same virtual desktop functionality as OS X, you end up with a lot of overlapping windows. After starting the default program, it simply redirects the wheel command to that particular window, but you can also move the window forward using the wheel.
Fortunately, it has the ability to run from Windows, and if you only need it for one session, you can simply press the To-Tray button to minimize the program, but leave it running in the background. Highly recommended even if you think you will never use it. Another program that does the same is WizMouse.
As I mentioned earlier, I like the programmers at Nirsoft because they always create wonderful little utilities that fix certain Windows problems. Volmouse is a great little app that lets you control the volume with your mouse wheel.
Don’t worry, it won’t replace the mouse wheel, only the volume control! By default, the program is configured to use the mouse wheel to control the volume only when holding down the ALT key or holding down the left mouse button. You can choose from a huge list of other options if you like by clicking on the dropdown.
In addition, you can change the component you want to control from the default playback, which is just the volume, to the default recording, speakers, microphone, screen brightness, etc. So you can customize different configurations and control many elements at the same time using this program. All this will not even interfere with the normal operation of the mouse in any of your programs. If you often adjust the volume on your device, this program is perfect for you.
NeatMouse really comes in handy when you can’t use your mouse anymore. This doesn’t happen very often, but I’ve run into this problem several times over the years, and I’ve actually managed to use NeatMouse twice. Basically, it allows you to control your mouse pointer using your keyboard.
It’s worth noting that this program won’t actually work with a laptop because it requires the numeric keypad, which is to the right of the desktop keyboards. I tried it on a laptop but it didn’t work! Either way, the program just runs in the background and you can activate it with Caps Lock, Scroll Lock, Num Lock, or a custom hotkey.
Then you can move the mouse using the keys on the numeric keypad. You can control almost everything from scrolling, left / right / middle buttons, moving up, down, left, right and diagonally. If you really need to use one of the keys on the numeric keypad, you can check out the No emulator modifier and select a key so that when you press it and then press the numeric key, it works fine instead of moving the mouse.
X-button control button
Finally, for those serious about customization, X-Mouse Button Control is a dreamland for computer geeks to customize their mouse. It has so many options and features that I had to sit down and read the user manual before I could figure out how to use it correctly. However, once I set it up and started working, I was amazed at how much functionality I can add to my mouse with this application.
If you have any of these new 4-5 button mice, you can really go crazy with the X-Mouse Button Control. Actually, the developer claims that this program is only useful for a mouse with 4-5 buttons. The main thing in the program is to create different profiles for each application you use. Each mouse button can perform different actions depending on whether you are using Chrome, Word, Explorer or Photoshop, etc.
Plus, you can customize up to 5 layers for each profile and then switch between them using mouse buttons or hotkeys. This means that one mouse button can perform up to 5 different actions in one application. If you click on any of the drop-down menus, you’ll see a huge list of actions that you can take.
There are, of course, tons of other programs for customizing the mouse, but these are my favorites. If you have another program that you would like to recommend, do not hesitate to post it in the comments. Enjoy!