Remapping mouse buttons


To remap mouse buttons permanently, you can use the xinput set-button-map command. Every mouse button click issues a button click with a specific id to X11. X11 recognizes the following buttons:

ID Button
1 Left click
2 Middle click
3 Right click
4 Wheel up
5 Wheel down
6 Wheel left
7 Wheel right
8 Thumb1
9 Thumb2
10 ExtBt7
11 ExtBt8

You can use the following command to remap the buttons:

xinput set-button-map <device-id> <button1> <button2> <button3> … <buttonN>

The <device-id> is shown in the xinput list output - you can use the name as a string or the id number. You can query the actual button state using xinput query-state <device-id>.

So the default configuration (xinput set-button-map <device-id> 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9) would give you the normal behavior. But if you prefer e.g. having the thumb buttons for WheelLeft and WheelRight, you would run this command:

#                       input id: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
xinput set-button-map <device-id> 1 2 3 4 5 8 9 6 7

This would map buttons 8→6 and 9→7 and vice versa.

To automatically set your preferred mapping on bootup, you can add the line to SystemPreferencesStartup Applications (formerly Sessions).

per application (Wheel/Thumb only)

To remap wheel-/thumb-mouse buttons per application, you can use imwheel from the same-named package. After installing the package, copy the default configuration to your homedir:

cp /etc/X11/imwheel/imwheelrc ~/.imwheelrc

And then enable the automatic starting upon start of X11 by editing /etc/X11/imwheel/startup.conf and changing the IMWHEEL_START value to 1.

Now you can modify your .imwheelrc to fit your needs. The format is

"window regexp"
Modifier, Mousebutton, Keypresses/Mousebutton

So for example to use the WheelLeft and WheelRight buttons to switch tabs in Firefox, you could use the following definition:

# Flip between browser tabs
None, Left, Control_L|Page_Up
None, Right, Control_L|Page_Down

This would map WheelLeft to Ctrl-PgUp and WheelRight to Ctrl-PgDn.

A Modifier of None means, this only works if no modifier (Shift_L, Shift_R, Control_L, Control_R, Alt_L, Alt_R) is pressed while clicking. If you leave this empty, the mapping works regardless of which modifier is held down.

Use this to go to previous/next track in Rhythmbox using the WheelLeft and WheelRight clicks:

None, Left, Alt_L|Left
None, Right, Alt_L|Right

(In this case, Rhythmbox defines the window resource name since Rhythmbox itself puts the currently playing song in the title bar. You could also match against rhythmbox which is the window class name. Since imwheel -c wasn't able to show them to me, I just guessed.)

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