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Mouse more with X-Mouse

Customize your mouse controls with this ultraflexible freeware.

Your mouse probably has several buttons and maybe a scroll wheel or two, but are you using the default settings or can you open and close Web pages, turn the volume up and down when you play music, or simulate any keystroke? You can, with X-Mouse Button Control. This free utility lets you set customized profiles, called Layers, with individually customized mouse controls in each, and rapidly switch between them. You can create separate mouse control profiles for individual applications, such as games that don't support extended mouse buttons. Or, you can have the scroll wheel change to a volume control when you hover your cursor over the system tray.

X-Mouse Button Control's main interface shows your profiles in the main window and configures them via a series of tabs labeled Layer 1 through 5, with another tab for Scrolling & Navigation. Each Layer has a name entry field and up to 8 mouse controls, including left, right, and middle buttons; wheel up and down; and tilt right and left. Drop-down lists let us choose from a huge range of commands or No Change (Don't Intercept), which leaves the default command intact. We started by naming our first Layer and selecting our control options. In the Application/Windows Profile pane, we browsed to several applications to create custom mouse commands, such as opening Outlook's inbox. The Settings button offered three tabs of options to configure: General, Global Hotkeys, and Modifier Keys. When we'd made all our selections, we clicked Apply. X-Mouse seamlessly applied our settings, with no discernible difference in performance or feel. We tried the program with several different mice, including a wireless laser laptop mouse and a wired laser gaming mouse that actually had too many controls for X-Mouse, including a thumbwheel. However, X-Mouse let us map any control we chose. We could right-click the program's system tray icon and choose any Layer, enter Setup, disable X-Mouse's controls, and other choices.

X-Mouse is a great way to get more out of your mouse. With a little effort, you can set up individualized control profiles that let you do things with your mouse that you'd need a series of clicks and keystrokes to do the usual way.

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