The majority of people around the world are right-handed, with statistics showing that somewhere between ten and twelve percent of the world’s population is left-handed. This large bias towards people being right-handed means that many products are designed to be held and used in or by the right-hand.
A lot of equipment designed with right-handed use in mind also has left-handed variants available. Unfortunately, left-handed variants often come with some sort of price increase due to the reduced economies of scale or are much less widely available.
The computer mouse is a key part of controlling a computer for most people, but the vast majority of mice are designed for use in the right-hand. This handed-ness design of computer mice comes in two forms, ergonomics and button order. Physically a broad range of mice come with shaping designed to fit one of a few common grip styles when used in the right hand. This ergonomic shaping is often mostly size, height, and length, but it also covers curvature and angle.
Physically the traditional design of the mouse with a left and right button and a scroll wheel in between is easily reversible. However, many mice now include extra buttons, placed where the thumb is designed to rest, for easy use. Unfortunately, this placing means they are specifically designed for right-handed people, as a left-handed grip just doesn’t hold the mouse in a way that makes those buttons convenient.
Some mouse manufacturers offer left-handed mice, designed with left-handed ergonomics and buttons positioned to be suited for use in the left-hand. Not everyone uses these types of mice though. Many cheap mice come with no ergonomics or extra buttons designed to make their use suited to a particular hand. This lack of extra design and features make many cheap mice suitable for use in both hands and are therefore pretty popular with left-handed people.
One issue with ambidextrous mice however is that the mouse still assumes that the physical left-mouse button is always the primary mouse button. For many left-handed users, this may be fine, as they may well be used to this being the case. Some left-handed users, however, may want to switch the order of the mouse buttons, essentially inverting or mirroring the traditional button layout. Linux Mint has a setting that allows you to invert the mouse buttons for those users that want a true left-handed mouse. To configure the handedness of the mouse in Linux Mint, press the Super key, then type “Mouse and Touchpad” and hit enter.
Tip: The “Super” key is the name that many Linux distributions use to refer to the Windows key or the Apple “Command” key, while avoiding any risk of trademark issues.
The top slider in the mouse and touchpad settings is “Left handed (mouse buttons inverted)”. Simply click the slider to the “On” position, to switch the left and right mouse buttons.
Note: This setting change will take effect immediately. Remember that you will have to use the right mouse button to left-click the slider to disable the setting again.
This post was written by Mel Hawthorne and was first posted to Technipages
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