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I just got a new mouse with 7 buttons. Is there any way to use these extra buttons in eclipse or emacs? Is it possible to have a mouse button for compiling? Do you have any other ideas how to use the extra buttons? I'm using linux, but I'd be interested to hear from windows or mac users too, just to get some ideas.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by MichaelT, Ampt, durron597, Snowman, gnat May 23 '15 at 7:19

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I would use it for gaming. – Marcelo Jun 25 '11 at 13:45
I wouldn't find additional mouse buttons very useful. My hands are on the keyboard, and the mouse is far far away. I can type ten characters in the time it takes to press a mouse button. – kevin cline Jun 25 '11 at 13:54
@kevin: good for you, not relevant to the question though – Kim Jun 25 '11 at 14:10
Do you have 7 fingers? – stackoverflowuser2010 Nov 7 '11 at 21:04
@stackoverflowuser2010: have you ever used a keyboard? – saus Nov 8 '11 at 2:58

Well if your IDE supports keybinds then you can either:

  1. Bind your mouse directly to functions in the IDE if it recognizes the buttons.
  2. Bind your mouse to a keyboard shortcut using external software (like AutoHotkey) and bind that keyboard shortcut in your IDE.

Some ideas for binds are:

  1. Go to definition (for C/C++ mainly).
  2. Collapse current block
  3. Google selected function (requires scripting support)
  4. Compile project
  5. Push changes to version control software
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6. page up 7. page down (quicker than scroll) – Dave Mess Jun 25 '11 at 19:01
@Dave Mess: Oh hello there shift+scroll :) – orlp Jun 25 '11 at 19:04
no good on the left hand emporiums – Dave Mess Jun 26 '11 at 21:43
evil idea: Mouse button bound to revert-to-last-checked-in-version (deleting all your work!) – Warren P Aug 6 '11 at 0:40
evil idea: Mouse button bound to find and replace for s/true/false/ – Malfist Nov 7 '11 at 19:40

Interesting idea. I never tried it, but I figure it might be interesting to bind some debugging buttons to your mouse. Often you are already using the mouse anyhow while debugging, in order to hover over variables to look at their values.

E.g. using the Visual Studio debugger:

  • Step over
  • Step into
  • Run to cursor (Probably the most useful one. I often find myself picking up the mouse exactly to place the caret on the location until where I want to run.)
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Would using a mouse actually lower your productivity? The point of an IDE providing keybinds is that the time taken to move your hands from the keyboard to the mouse and back again will lower your productivity throughout the day.

If you were to really want to use your new mouse, I'd suggest binding the buttons to some OS hotkeys, such as opening your email editor, opening your browser or something similar. I'd suggest these as most editors have keyboard shortcuts to provide performance improvements and OS shortcuts is where you could really utilise all of your buttons.

As an after thought, could you look to using these buttons in other programs, such as your browser. One example that springs to mind is maybe mapping one of your buttons to your browser to automatically bookmark a page. Imagine your reading a decent techy blog or seen a decent new framework; at the click of a button you could bookmark it so it's easier to find at a later date. There must be many more examples of how this mouse can improve your overall productivity with programs other than your IDE

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What about the times you are using your mouse? It is a good thing to rely on the keyboard while typing. This saves time switching over to your mouse. The same argument however also holds for your mouse. While you are e.g. browsing your project hierarchy for a certain file, some mouse shortcuts could prevent you from having to reach for your keyboard. – Steven Jeuris Nov 7 '11 at 23:05

Really depends on the specific mouse and how it is wired. But I love my logitech g500 as a business device. Feels "right" in the hand, the accuracy can't be understated. And the forward and back buttons work across the board. Including in visual studio.

From a practical point of view, you should look for the manufacturer's configuration software as it should let you make application specific hotkey mappings if the defaults don't work.

All that said, pointing devices are a very, very personal choice and the only thing that actually matters is "does it work for you?"

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GNU Emacs support 5 modifier keys: Control, Meta, Super, Hyper and Alt.

You might find it much more fun, if X11 recognize the keys - use xev to check (from memory, may be xevent) - because then you can reconfigure those to be just about everything. See for inspiration.

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