Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

The problem is that if the drivers for your mouse don't support that kind of button swapping, it may not be possible.

I have an Anir Mouse, which is the forerunner of the 3M ergonomic mouse. It uses a rocker switch at the thumb for left and right clicking. I have a sore thumb and I cannot click all day with it. The mouse also has a third mouse button well placed in the handle. How can I make this button the regular left-click button? In XP, in the mouse control panel, there is an option to switch the left and the right mouse buttons but that is not what I'm looking for. I want to make the third, middle mouse button into the left mouse button. I'm using PCs running both XP and Windows 7. Thank you in advance.

In this excerpt from Answercast #65, I look at the possibilities of assigning a function to a third mouse button, if it is not available in the mouse driver software.

Swapping mouse buttons

So, I will claim that the simplest solution is probably to get a new mouse that is more ergonomically appropriate for your situation.

The problem here is that if the drivers for your mouse don't support the kind of swapping that you're looking for, it may not be possible to do so.

Accessibility options

There is one other place to consider looking, which is going to be fairly different in Windows XP versus Windows 7.

  • In Windows XP, in Control Panel, look for Accessibility.

  • In Windows 7, look for Ease of access.

What those are are controls for folks with assorted disabilities (or difficulties) using mice, keyboards, screens, whatever. And there are various options to change the behavior of the mouse.

I do not recall ever seeing anything about reassigning mouse buttons or reassigning or even assigning specifically the third mouse button (the middle mouse button) that you're seeing.

But it's worth something. I'm going to direct you at that simply to see if we can get lucky. Maybe there's something in there that would suffice as an approach to modify the way the mouse works, in your situation, to make it more palatable.

Control panel mouse driver

But ultimately, honestly, I think that, if there's nothing in Control Panel right now that allows you to control your third mouse button, I just don't see it happening.

I really think that the pragmatic solution is to find yourself a mouse (a current mouse) that has this functionality - one that has the ergonomic features, that you're looking for to make it easier for you to use on a long-term basis.

Article C5970 - October 29, 2012 « »

Share this article with your friends:

Share this article on Facebook Tweet this article Email a link to this article
Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

October 30, 2012 10:31 AM

I don't know if it is of any use to anyone but I just found the following article about assigning functions to extra mouse buttons. I haven't looked at it myself because I have a laptop and I don't use an external mouse, but it claims to work with the major brands so hopefully it will do what you want!

John Servis
October 30, 2012 7:10 PM

It's way easier & less expensive to buy a new mouse, Logitech or Microsoft. They come with the driver disc & the ability to swap buttons how ever you like 'em. And most are wireless.!

Albert Crosby
November 1, 2012 2:42 PM

The Anir Mouse almost belongs in the "assistive technology" category. I haven't used one myself, but it really looks like a nice device. And if you need it, buying a new mouse at your nearest big box store isn't going to replace it...

It looks like the extra button on the Anir (or its successor) may act like the middle mouse button on many mice...

You might try installing Logitech SetPoint. I know some older versions would work with any mouse, not just Logitech's products. The same is true for older versions of Microsoft's Intellimouse software. You should be able to download them from the Logitech and Microsoft websites.

Fentek ( makes foot pedals that can be programmed for keystrokes and mouse clicks. That may be another great option for you.

Yet another solution for your sore thumb (and free) is to turn on Mouse Keys. Mouse Keys is an accessibility feature for people with limited mobility that lets you use the numeric keypad as a mouse. The great news for you is that when Mouse Keys is on, the 5 key on your keypad works as a left mouse button.

If you have connections with a doctor's office or school that works with physically limited computer users, they may be able to recommend assistive technology for you as well.

Joe F
November 2, 2012 12:43 PM

I've been using MouseTool v3.13 by JR Software for the last 12 years, and now just can't live without it - a wonderful little utility that clicks the mouse for you. It used to be free, but if you really need it, it's worth paying for.

There are others, just google "dwell click" to find them. Most Linux distros come with one that works fairly well.

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to to ask your question.