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The Under-Utilized Middle Mouse Button

The middle mouse button could be called the "forgotten button", so many people ignore it. The scroll wheel when depressed on modern mice acts like a third mouse button. Here are some great uses for it.

  • When clicking on links in Firefox, the scroll button or middle button will open the link in  a new tab, preserving your current tab.
  • Clicking on a tab in Firefox will close the tab without having to click on the little red X in the right corner of the tab.
  • In Firefox, clicking on a bookmark folder opens all the bookmarks in that folder each in its own tab!
  • Pressing and holding the middle button lets you rapidly scroll through long pages in many programs like Firefox, Adobe Reader and Word.
Remember, both Logitech and Microsoft have software that comes with their mice, and Windows also has software, so you can often control the middle button more thoroughly. For example, I have my logitech mouse launch the file manager I use whenever I middle click but am not in Firefox. I use that program a lot so it is a valuable use of the button which most programs don't make good use of. Logitech's software allows you to program the middle button to do different things in different programs.

Microsoft's default for the button I believe is to zoom, which many people may find valuable.

Date: January 2010

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