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:
You can use the following command to remap the buttons:
xinput set-button-map <device-id> <button1> <button2> <button3> … <buttonN>
<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 System → Preferences → Startup 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
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:
"^Firefox-bin$" # Flip between browser tabs None, Left, Control_L|Page_Up None, Right, Control_L|Page_Down
This would map WheelLeft to Ctrl-PgUp and WheelRight to Ctrl-PgDn.
A Modifier of
None means, this only works if no modifier (
Alt_R) is pressed while clicking. If you leave this empty, the mapping works regardless of which modifier is held down.
Use this to go to previous/next track in Rhythmbox using the WheelLeft and WheelRight clicks:
"^Rhythmbox$" 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.)