Setting mouse options on a Debian system

Debian allows you to create many configurations for even the smallest system modules, because it is an open source OS. One of the things you can customize is the way you use an external USB mouse. In this article, we describe how to make the following changes to mouse settings:

  • Set either the left / right button as the main button (via the Debian settings utility)
  • Setting the mouse speed (using the Debian Settings utility)
  • Enable / disable natural scrolling (via the Debian settings utility)
  • Set acceleration profile (via Gnome tweaks)
  • Highlight the pointer location when pressing the Ctrl key (via Gnome tweaks)
  • Mid-click insert (via gnome tweaks)

You can run all the commands and procedures from this article on the Debian 10 Buster system and even on slightly older versions of Debian.

Customize your mouse with the Debian Settings Utility

If you prefer to use the graphical interface to perform simple administrative tasks, you can use the graphical settings utility.

You can access the settings either through a search in the Application Launcher, or by opening it as follows:

Click the down arrow located in the upper right corner of the Debian desktop, and then click the settings icon in the following view:

In the Settings utility, you need to click the Devices tab, and then the Mouse and Touchpad tab to make the necessary settings.

Alternatively, you can directly launch this view by entering the appropriate mouse and touchpad keywords in the Search Application Launcher as follows:

Mouse and touchpad

Here’s what the mouse and touchpad look like:

Mouse and touchpad settings

You can make the following settings through this view:

1. Set the left / right button as the main one (via Debian settings)

To make the use of the mouse more convenient for a left-handed user, you can swap the physical buttons on both mice and touch panels. On the General panel of the Mouse and Touchpad view, click the button you want to use as the main button.

2. Adjust mouse speed (via Debian settings)

Not all mice (hardware) move the pointer perfectly with the default mouse speed set on your Debian desktop. You can adjust how quickly or slowly the mouse pointer moves by moving the Mouse Speed ​​slider left or right on the Mouse panel in the Mouse and Touch Panel view.

3. Enable / disable natural scrolling (via Debian settings)

By enabling / disabling natural scrolling, you can configure whether scrolling will move content or the view you’re in. Rotate the Natural Scrolling slider on the Mouse panel on the Mouse and Touch Panel tab to On or Off to enable / disable natural scrolling.

Create mouse settings using the Gnome Tweaks Tool

The Gnome Tweaks Tool also allows you to customize your USB mouse. To install this utility, open Debian Software Manager and find Gnome Tweaks:

GNOME Tweaks

Click on the similar search result that you see above and install it on your system.

Now open the Tweaks tool from the system Dash and open the Keyboards & Mouse tab:

Keyboard and mouse settings

You can make the following settings through this view:

1. Set up acceleration profile

The Acceleration Profile drop-down list in the Keyboard and Mouse view allows you to select one of three profiles:

Default: this profile ensures that the mouth pointer moves very smoothly and accurately when moving over short distances.

Adaptive: this profile takes into account the current speed of the device when choosing acceleration.

Flat: This profile adds a constant factor to all device deltas, regardless of speed.

2. Highlight the pointer location by pressing the Ctrl key.

The pointer location function can be enabled using the slider. When this function is enabled, you can select the place where your pointer is currently located by simply pressing the Ctrl key.

3. Insert middle click

If your mouse has a scroll wheel between the left or right button or a third button between them, you can use it to paste copied content (text, images, etc.). You can enable or disable this feature using the slider next to the middle-click insert in the Keyboard and Mouse view.

So these were the mouse configurations that you could make using the settings user interface and the Gnome settings tool. There are some other settings you can make using the Dconf Editor or some command line utilities; we will discuss it another time!

Setting mouse options on a Debian system