Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

Automatically Remapping Mouse Buttons at Startup

Ubuntu 14

In this article, we will delve into the process of automatically remapping mouse buttons at startup. This can be particularly useful for those who want custom functionality from their mouse buttons, especially in a Linux environment. We’ll be using the xinput command-line tool for this purpose, and we’ll explore two different solutions.

Quick Answer

Yes, it is possible to automatically remap mouse buttons at startup in a Linux environment using the xinput command-line tool. There are two different solutions discussed in this article: using xinput and .xsessionrc, or using xinput, xbindkeys, and xautomation. Both solutions involve identifying the mouse device, determining the button numbers, and writing a script to remap the buttons.

What is xinput?

xinput is a utility to configure and test X input devices, such as mouses, keyboards, and touchpads. It’s a powerful tool that allows you to change the way your input devices behave. In this tutorial, we will use it to remap mouse buttons.

Solution 1: Using xinput and .xsessionrc

Step 1: Install xinput

If xinput is not already installed on your system, you can install it using the package manager of your Linux distribution. For Ubuntu, you can use the following command:

sudo apt-get install xinput

Step 2: Identify your Mouse Device

Use the xinput command to list all your input devices. Your mouse will be listed there with its name and ID. The command is as follows:

xinput

Step 3: Determine Button Numbers

The xinput test command can be used to determine the button numbers you want to remap. Simply replace “device_id” with your mouse’s device ID:

xinput test device_id

Step 4: Create or Edit ~/.xsessionrc

The ~/.xsessionrc file is a script that is executed when your X session starts. We can add our remapping command here. Open the file with a text editor of your choice and add the following script:

my_mouse_id=$(xinput | grep -m 1 "Your Mouse Name" | sed 's/^.*id=\([0-9]*\)[ \t].*$/\1/')
xinput set-button-map $my_mouse_id 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 2 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

In this script, “Your Mouse Name” should be replaced with the name of your mouse as shown in the xinput output. The xinput set-button-map command is used to remap the buttons. The numbers after $my_mouse_id represent the new button mapping.

Step 5: Make ~/.xsessionrc Executable

Save the file and make it executable by running the following command:

chmod +x ~/.xsessionrc

Your mouse buttons will now be remapped automatically at every startup.

Solution 2: Using xinput, xbindkeys, and xautomation

Step 1: Install xinput, xbindkeys, and xautomation

First, you need to install these three tools on your system. For Ubuntu, you can use the following commands:

sudo apt-get install xinput
sudo apt-get install xbindkeys
sudo apt-get install xautomation

Step 2: Identify your Mouse Device and Button Numbers

This step is the same as in Solution 1. Use the xinput command to find the ID of your mouse device and the xinput --get-button-map command to determine the button numbers you want to remap.

Step 3: Create or Edit ~/.xbindkeysrc

The ~/.xbindkeysrc file is where xbindkeys looks for its configuration. Open the file with a text editor of your choice and add the following lines:

"/usr/bin/xte 'mouseclick 1' 'mouseclick 1' &"
b:8 + Release

This example remaps button #8 to perform a double-click of the left button (#1). Adjust the command and button numbers according to your needs.

Step 4: Add xbindkeys to Startup Applications

You need to add an entry to your startup applications to run xbindkeys at startup. Create a new file in ~/.config/autostart/ with the .desktop extension and add the following lines:

[Desktop Entry]
Type=Application
Exec=/usr/bin/xbindkeys
Hidden=false
NoDisplay=false
X-GNOME-Autostart-enabled=true
Name[en_US]=xbindkeys
Name=xbindkeys
Comment[en_US]=
Comment=

Now, your mouse buttons will be remapped automatically at every startup.

Conclusion

Remapping mouse buttons at startup can be achieved in a Linux environment using the xinput command-line tool. Whether you choose to use xinput with .xsessionrc or with xbindkeys and xautomation, the process involves identifying your mouse device, determining the button numbers, and writing a script to remap the buttons. Remember to adjust the commands and button numbers according to your specific mouse model and configuration.

What is the purpose of remapping mouse buttons?

Remapping mouse buttons allows users to customize the functionality of their mouse buttons according to their preferences. This can be helpful for tasks such as navigating through web pages, opening applications, or executing specific commands.

Can I remap mouse buttons on any operating system?

Yes, you can remap mouse buttons on various operating systems, including Linux, Windows, and macOS. However, the specific methods and tools used may vary depending on the operating system.

Do I need to have administrative privileges to install and use `xinput`?

Yes, administrative privileges (root access) are required to install packages and use xinput on most Linux distributions. You may need to use the sudo command before package installation or running xinput commands.

Can I remap multiple mouse buttons at once?

Yes, you can remap multiple mouse buttons at once by specifying the new button mapping in the xinput set-button-map command. Simply list the desired button numbers in the desired order, separated by spaces.

How can I undo or reset the remapped mouse buttons?

To undo or reset the remapped mouse buttons, you can either remove or comment out the remapping script in ~/.xsessionrc or delete the ~/.xbindkeysrc file, depending on the solution you used. After doing so, restart your system or log out and log back in for the changes to take effect.

Can I use `xinput` to remap buttons on other input devices like keyboards?

Yes, xinput can be used to remap buttons on various input devices, including keyboards and touchpads. However, the process and commands may differ depending on the device and the specific remapping you want to achieve.

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