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Left-Handed Mouse in KDE

I have recently wanted to use the mouse on the left hand side. My right arm is starting to get sore from using the mouse contantly. Perhaps the carpal tunnel syndrome is finally catching up with me. I've notice that the standard keyboard has the arrow keys and number pad on the right, forcing the QWERTY keyboard to the left. So, when I type, my body is shifted to the left.

With the mouse on the left, the QWERTY keyboard is centered at the screen, and my left hand gets some more exercise that it normally doesn't get. Perhaps it's time for my left hand to be as dexterous as my right hand.

I use KDE on SUSE everyday. The first thing to do is to remap the mouse buttons for left hand use. I still want to use my index finger on the "left" mouse button. I found the "Mouse" module in "Control Center" > "Peripherals".

"Button Mapping" is the first set of options in that module. However, it is grayed out! I can't change it! But at least I finally found where to change "Single-click to open files and folders" to "Double-click to open files and folders". Now the Konqueror file browser would work more like Windows Explorer.

Attached Image:

Mouse Button Mapping is Disabled.png

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 03 Oct 2006 16:57:24 -0700

After a bit of searching, I found that "xmodmap" could solve my problem. So I issued the following on the command-line to remap the mouse buttons:

xmodmap -e "pointer = 3 2 1"

The normal right-handed mouse button sequence is "1 2 3". The command above basically swap the button 1 and button 3 position. Unfortunately, the above command gave me an erro message:

xmodmap:  commandline:0:  bad number of buttons, must have 7 instead of 3
xmodmap: 1 error encountered, aborting.

Well, I decided to take a chance. The error message said I have 7 buttons. Even though I don't know where the other four are, I don't want to change their position. So I issued the following command:

xmodmap -e "pointer = 3 2 1 4 5 6 7"

Viola! It worked. I am typing this write-up with the mouse buttons swapped. ;-) Now, I wonder if the change if permanent until I re-issue the command, or if I have to issue this command everytime I log on. We'll see tomorrow.

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 03 Oct 2006 17:02:43 -0700

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