Introduction: Become an Ambidextrous Computer Mouse User

Picture of Become an Ambidextrous Computer Mouse User

Simple really: practice! :]
Seriously though, RSI due to computer mice is no joke and I've suffered from it myself.
In one desk job I had some years ago (mapping city council park assets), I had such a problem with RSI that I investigated several mouse options, eventually ending up with the joystick-type 3M Ergonomic mouse in ewilhelm's "Ergonomic work station" Step 5. The main problem with this was it uses the bigger muscles of your arm so I found it difficult to easily get the fine movement control I needed. Way before even that, though, I'd bought a Genius Trackball which I loved. Other family members didn't though...

Step 1: Train Your Other Hand

Picture of Train Your Other Hand

What I've done in recent years is simply train my left hand to use a right-handed mouse (ie left click with my left middle finger, and so on). This is so natural now that I can swap the mouse from side to side of the keyboard as if I was ambidexterous. This has resolved the RSI issue for me, and I can highly recommend it. It doesn't take long to get the hang of using the "wrong" hand fingers to operate the mouse.

It also means that you don't need to swap the mouse button functionality for each side of the keyboard, and other people can use the mouse as normal. AND lefties can use other people's mice.

I now play Deus Ex right-mouse with the left hand operating keystrokes, and browse the Net (eg Instructables) left-mouse so Page-Up etc are controlled with the right hand. An added advantage is mousing with the left hand while number entering with the right (so you don't have to keep shifting your right hand from number-pad to mouse), and wordprocessing left-mouse so you need not reach so far for the mouse.


PaulR234 made it! (author)2016-07-29

Hi Finton, I switched to using my left hand 5 years ago and kept doing it ever since. Thanks for sharing your experience, I forward this page too a colleague who has RSI in his right wrist. Here is a photo of my mouse and keyboard. I also like to take notes on paper with the right hand while navigating in a document with the left hand.

finton (author)PaulR2342016-07-29

That's good to hear Paul and thanks for replying! I hadn't thought to add the note taking, but now that you mention it, I do that also (in left-mouse mode). You might also like to see Lithium Rain's more recent

Tecwyn Twmffat (author)2014-06-12

I've been doing this for about 5 years now and can say 100% it works. I've also trained myself to use opposite postures for digging, using a hoe etc. No more back/arm pain now.

th8gamer (author)2013-09-12

I use uhjk for gaming with my left hand on the mouse

Boppylop (author)2012-05-15

this is cool. im practicing right now! or left now?...

Boppylop (author)2012-05-15

this is cool. im practicing right now! or left now?...

Yakumo (author)2011-10-07

I wouldn't really call an instructable because everything you have said is: train to use the mouse with the other hand. But I get your point, its a good skill to learn if you count in how long everyone sits in front of a PC these days and how easy something can happen to your right hand. I only have one question left: what keys do you use instead of WASD? ^^

finton (author)Yakumo2011-10-08

Yep, totally agree with you about the Instructableness; perhaps it should be a Guide or somesuch instead. Or even just an answer on another Instructable. Tell you what: after I put up my next proper "ible", I'll take this off :] .
With your question: not sure what you mean. When playing games with a right-hand mouse, my left hand uses the WASD keys. I only use left-hand mousing for browsing, word processing, number crunching (i.e.heavy use on the number pad), and suchlike - never for Deus Ex.

Yakumo (author)finton2011-10-09

I mean WASD-replacement when using the left hand on the mouse while gaming. I just ask because I don't see any keys that are sorted like a mirrored WASD. That and I don't have a keypad (Microsoft ARC Keyboard) ^^ If I would use YGHJ as a replacement my middlefinger ends up between Y and U, for example.

Anyway I tried switching my mousehand yesterday (for the whole day) turned out better than expected a little lack of finemotoringskills in the beginning and nothing I would compete with in an onlineshooter but it was a nice experience and I'll make sure to switch hands when my right arm hurts the next time :)

achievement unlocked ^^

I don't think you should remove this just rework it. Add a step by step guide or a training plan or find a few games that teach finemotorskills and add them to the list. I was just giving it a try because of your article so it can't be that bad.

finton (author)Yakumo2011-10-19

Ah, well, I simply don't do gaming left-handed, so I can't help you there. Actually, having just tested it, I think I'd use the O-P-[     L-;-'-Enter    .-/-Shft keys as that puts my right hand in the same spread as my left hand on the WASD keys (with Space for "jump" in both cases).
I'm glad to hear you have found the benefits of "ambidextrosity", thanks for the feedback, and I may just do what you suggest with the 'ible. Cheers.

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