Remap your mouse buttons on Windows
X-Mouse Button Control is a free portable software for Windows that you may use to remap any mouse button of the computer mouse.
The Windows operating system does not provide you with options to configure the buttons of your mouse. While you can use a five or more button mouse without issues on the system, you are stuck with the default functionality that Windows makes available which usually is left-, middle- and right-clicking for buttons one, two and three, and page up and down (or back and forward) for buttons four and five. If you do not need the page up and down functionality and want to change it to something that you find more useful, you may realize that it is not really that easy to do that.
While you can install a heavy driver package that companies like Logitech, Razer or Microsoft provide you with, it may feel like overkill if you only want to re-map those two buttons and nothing else as these run in the background all the time and use quite a bit of memory and also at times CPU.
X-Mouse Button Control
Enter X-Mouse Button Control: a lightweight program for the Windows operating system that you can use to map all mouse buttons and the mouse wheel to new functions for specific windows or applications, or globally. The program is compatible with all recent versions of Windows including Windows 10 and available as a portable version and a version that gets installed.
I reviewed the program in 2008 for the first time and it has come a long way since then justifying a new review. All you need to do is open the settings menu after installation to configure a profile. Profiles, of which the program supports multiple, are mouse configurations that you may load.
What is interesting in this regard is that you can create multiple profiles that you can switch between easily. This opens up options to create a profile for web browsing, one for coding, another for gaming, and one for Photoshop. Since you can map profiles to different programs you'd switch between different mouse profiles automatically to make use of the functionality when you need to use the programs.
Tip: you find a user guide in the program folder that explains core functionality.
Configuration is a two step process
- Keep the global reach of the profile, or add select windows or applications to the profile so that the mouse profile is only active in them.
- Remap the mouse buttons as you see fit.
A click on the menu next to each mouse button or wheel option displays a long list of functions that you can map to the selected action.
Here is a short overview of what is available:
- Clipboard manipulation actions (copy, cut, and paste).
- Starting programs or scripts.
- Simulate keystrokes.
- Control media playback.
- Click-drag actions.
- Use operating system specific features such as Virtual Desktops in Windows 10.
Options range from opening important programs such as the Control Panel over copying and pasting text, to switching profiles, running applications, using the magnifier, and simulating key strokes. The last option provides you with the means to map custom key combinations, for instance Ctrl-Shift-Esc, that you want to activate when you press the mouse button. Custom key combinations support extra commands on top of that.
A selection of commands is available; wait for instance to wait, or hold to hold down a key for some time, which you can make use of to customize the command further. You may also change the cursor appearance, e.g. to use a different cursor for different profiles. Once you are done hit apply to work with the new mouse functionality.
The program makes available additional functionality in its interface. The Scrolling tab for instance lets you invert mouse wheel scrolling, enable page scrolling instead of line scrolling, or change the number of lines that are scrolled when you use the mouse wheel.
The options tag similarly displays additional customization options like changing the default mouse speed or disabling the program's scroll under cursor functionality for windows that are not active.
Program settings list equally powerful options:
- Set hotkeys to activate certain mouse profiles.
- Define program update behavior.
- Swap mouse button 4 and 5.
- Activate layers temporarily by enabling certain modifier keys.
- Set CPU priority of the application.
What I particularly like about the program is that it uses a couple of Megabytes of RAM when it is running in the background and that it is probably the most powerful mouse mapping program for Windows.
The layers (profiles) make it an interesting program as it provides you with options to customize the mouse buttons based on your activity on the computer. It is one of the new features that the author implemented into the program recently.
X-Mouse Button Control is an excellent program to map functionality to mouse buttons. While you may not want to use it to map different actions to the left and right mouse button, it is excellent for adding actions to additional mouse buttons of the mouse.Advertisement