Ubuntu, being an open-source operating system, lets you make a lot of configurations to even the smallest of the system modules. Among these things, is the way you want to use your external USB mouse. In this article, we will describe how to make the following changes to your mouse settings:

  • Set either left/right button as the primary button (through Ubuntu Settings)
  • Configure Mouse Speed (through Ubuntu Settings)
  • Enable/disable Natural Scrolling (through Ubuntu Settings)
  • Configure Acceleration Profile (through Gnome Tweaks)
  • Highlight pointer location when Ctrl key is pressed (through Gnome Tweaks)
  • Middle Click Paste (through Gnome Tweaks)

We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Ubuntu 18.04 LTS System.

Using Ubuntu Settings Utility to make Mouse configurations

If you prefer using the GUI for performing simple administrative tasks, you can make use of the graphical Settings utility.

You can access the Settings either through the system Dash or by accessing it as follows:

Click on the downward arrow located at the top-right corner of your Ubuntu desktop and then click the settings icon from the following view:

Settings menu

The Settings utility opens in the Wi-Fi tab by default. You need to click on the Devices tab, and then the Mouse & Touchpad in order to make the required configurations.

Alternatively, you can directly launch this view by entering relevant mouse and touchpad keywords in the Ubuntu Dash search, as follows:

Mouse and Touchpad

This is how the Mouse & Touchpad view looks like:

Mouse and Touchpad settings

You can make the following settings through this view:

Set either left/right button as the primary button (through Ubuntu Settings)

To make the mouse use more comfortable for a left-handed user, you can swap the order of physical buttons both on mice and touchpads. In the General panel of the Mouse & Touchpad view, click on the button you want to use as a primary button.

Configure Mouse Speed (through Ubuntu Settings)

Not all mice(hardware) move the pointer perfectly at the default mouse speed set on your Ubuntu. You can adjust how fast or slow the mouse pointer moves by sliding the Mouse Speed slider left or right, on the Mouse panel of the Mouse & Touchpad view.

Enable/disable Natural Scrolling (through Ubuntu Settings)

By enabling/disabling natural scrolling, you can configure whether scrolling moves the content or the view you are on. Turn the Natural scrolling slider button, in the Mouse panel of the Mouse & Touchpad tab, On or OFF in order to enable/disable natural scrolling.

Using Gnome Tweaks Tool to make Mouse configurations

The Gnome Tweaks Tool also lets you make some configurations to your USB Mouse. In order to install this utility, open the Ubuntu Software Manager and look up for Gnome Tweaks:

GNOME Tweaks utility

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:

Configure Mouse by using GNOME Tweaks

You can make the following settings through this view:

Configure Acceleration Profile

The Acceleration Profile drop-down on the KeyBoard & Mouse view lets you choose among three profiles:

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

Adaptive: This profile takes the current speed of the device into account when deciding on acceleration.

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

Highlight pointer location when Ctrl key is pressed

The pointer location feature can be turned on by using the slider button. When this feature is turned on, you can highlight the location where your pointer is currently located simply by hitting the Ctrl key.

Middle Click Paste

If your mouse has a wheel scroller between the left or right button, or a third button between the two, you can use it for pasting copied content(text, images etc.). You can turn this feature on or off using the slider button adjacent to Middle Click Paste in the Keyboard & Mouse view.

So these were the mouse configurations you could do using the Settings UI and the Gnome Tweaks Tool. There are some other settings that you can make using the Dconf Editor and some command line utilities; we will discuss those some other time!

How to Configure Mouse Settings in Ubuntu