Even More Life Changing Mouse Buttons

I recently wrote a post on how to change your life by changing a mouse button.  My life has been vastly improved since I added a delete button to my mouse.  My hair is growing thicker and fuller, my eyesight has improved, my lawn is greener, and I can delete things so much faster than before.  My life has been great, but I still felt like something was missing.

Easy access Delete
As a refresher, we at Endigit all use the Logitech M570 wireless trackball mouse.  With that mouse you can change the button settings.  I have assigned the forward button to be the delete button.  I rarely used the Forward button and often need to delete things.  This saves me from moving my hand from the mouse to the keyboard to hit the delete key.  Notice that I have the Back button still set as the Back task.  I use this often when navigating Windows Explorer and on the Interwebs.

SetPoints dialog showing delete key.

Introducing: Quicker Quick Drop
I don't use the back button ever in LabVIEW though.  That makes that button worthless to me when developing software in LabVIEW.  I thought about it and talked about it with the other Endigiters and we thought it would be great to add ctrl-space for even quicker quick drop.  Now instead of wasting so much energy moving my pinkie finger all the way down the the control button and pushing space, I can gently press a mouse button and have quick drop open.  Take that Carpal Tunnel!

Application specific settings for ctrl-space.

But wait there's more!
The middle mouse button is really useful for opening links in new tabs online, or opening a new instance of applications, but again, worthless to me in LabVIEW.  Another common task is cleaning up wires.  Clean Up Wire is normally the top option when you right-click on a wire so it is quick and easy.  However, I have modified my right-click menu so that Create Constant, Control, and Indicator are at the top.  (That is another great time saver.)  So I had to right-click and choose the 4th option down.

Right click dialog showing clean up wire.

That is just too much work for me.  I started selecting the wire and then hitting ctrl-u to clean it up.  That was nice, except the U button is way on the right side of the keyboard.  I have to move my pinkie down to the Control button and then stretch way out to get the U key with my index finger.  That is exhausting!  Why not map the middle mouse button to ctrl-u to save me so much energy?  Unfortunately, the middle button cannot be configured for application specific behavior.  Luckily, AutoHotkey.com came to the rescue!  With AutoHotkey you can set specific keys to run scripts.  I have an AutoHotkey script that looks at the middle mouse button.  When it is pressed it checks if I am using LabVIEW.  If I am then it clicks and sends ctrl-u.  If I am not using LabVIEW it sends the normal middle click.  BOOM!  Now I have block diagram clean-up, and wire clean up with a quick easy push of the button.

Autohotkey script to clean up the diagram

What is next?
I have been thinking of other things that I can do to maximize my mouse and keyboard.  I think the next thing I am going to figure out is using the mouse buttons to copy and paste.  I am going to see if I can have ctrl modifier to have the Forward and Back buttons be copy and paste.

What ideas for mouse shortcuts do you want?
Comment your ideas on what you would like to have simplified with your mouse.  I would love to hear some new ideas.

Edit 8/10/2017:
Toggle between Front Panel and Block Diagram
I added so that when I press both the left and right mouse buttons at the same time it sends Ctrl-E to toggle between front panel and block diagram.

Autohotkey script to switch between front panel and block diagram.

Bryan Heslop

Vice President - Sales and Marketing, Staff Systems Engineer

Bryan first discovered he was a megageek in a college physics class when he got way too excited about tesla coils (most people figured it out much sooner). Bryan worked as a machinist programming and operating CNC lathes while attending Brigham Young University. He earned a degree in Computer Engineering with a Business Management minor in 2008. After graduation Bryan moved to Austin, Texas to work at National Instruments. He worked as an Applications Engineer in the Engineering Leadership Program for 2 years then spent 1 year in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a Field Sales Engineer. He then moved back home to Utah and worked as District Sales Manager for National Instruments where he managed NI’s large accounts in Utah like Hill Air Force Base, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, OrbitalATK and L-3.

At Endigit Bryan is responsible for sales and marketing. As a Certified LabVIEW Architect, he also works as a Systems Engineer doing LabVIEW development.

Bryan enjoys everything about water (boating, swimming, rock skipping, drinking, etc.), riding ATVs, comedy writing, exploring the mountains around his home and dreams of going to space.  He also serves as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical responder in his community.


Mark Balla

August 7th, 2017 at 12:59 am

Ive been using mouse button shortcuts for years. Back when i was in manufacturing and did most of my LabVIEW development at my desk or home I took this idea to the exteme. I Hacked an Xkey device and velcroed buttons to my mouse and USB joystick. Every finger and palm had access to a botton and later I added foot pedals all fully programmable. It took a few weeks but I was able to get to the point where I would only use the keyboard to type as I had every shortcut tied to a single press. When I moved to consulting I was assigned a laptop and was forced to become more mobile leaving the joystick and foot pedals behind. I have gone throgh many itterations of programable mice but I am currently using the logitech 710. The 3 Thumb buttons are set to the mod buttons. back to Shift key, fwd to Ctrl and thumb down to Alt. This allows me to do all mouse functions one handed (ctrl drag, alt drag, multi select, drag copy....). This also allows me to use single left hand key presses for all shortcut functions. (RH-ctrl LH-space, also RH-Ctrl-Shift LH e ). I also program the delete key but use the scroll wheel button instead.

Bryan Heslop

August 7th, 2017 at 9:19 pm

That is great Mark! The Xkey devices (http://xkeys.com/index.php) look interesting.

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