Weekend Question: What do you use those extra buttons on the side of your mouse for?

PCG Ted

Staff member
May 3, 2022
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Good afternoon gamers, every week I ask a Weekend Question of our staff and forums for a regular feature on the site (usually published the Saturday after asking). If you've got an answer you'd like to add for consideration, please share it in this thread!

This week's question is: What do you use those extra buttons on the side of your mouse for?

We have a surfeit of mouse buttons these days, what do you use yours for? Call me old fashioned, but I'm a three, maybe four mouse button guy tops. Give me left, click, right click, a scroll wheel, and maybe a cheeky thumb button for when I'm feeling spicy. My current mouse has nine buttons, including two set for DPI shifting right next to left click. I kept accidentally going from 1600 to 1200 to 800 while furiously clicking on heads or ordering around my party, so I defied the brain trust at Logitech and disabled them completely. I'll use a thumb button for melee or a special ability on occasion, with the other one reserved for push-to-talk on the tail end of curry night when I don't want to go burping on the Discord call.

Meanwhile, I have a dear friend who's so hopelessly hooked on those weird mice with the full number pads on the side, he wouldn't even consider anything else when shopping around for a new one recently. What's your take on all these dang mouse buttons?
 
I've never used the side buttons on any mouse, and I prefer a heavier mouse that isn't loaded with a bunch of buttons that I'll never use. Left mouse button, right mouse button, and scroll wheel are all I need in a game. I've been using Rats for years, with my current "mouse" being a Rat 8.1. Only three left side buttons which I never use. There is one button, right behind the scroll wheel that controls DPI on the fly, and I will occasionally use that in game. All the other controls are for weight adjustment, length, and side panels; so it fits & feels perfectly in my hand.
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mice with the full number pads on the side
Yeah, they're for MMO-type games—and for people with small fingers and excellent spatial memory, as I discovered in one very clumsy week!

I've been using Rats for years
Got one as a present long time ago—RAT 3 I think—very cool mouse! Wasted on me tho since I use finger grip.

Current mouse is the original Logi MX Master, with a spare for whenever this one wanders off to double-click heaven. 8 buttons in all, of which I use 5:
♦ LC, RC & scroll on top
♣ Side scroll for Front & Back moves, plus one of the clicky ones for Paste when I don't want to move finger to KB shortcut.

Work is my #1 priority, but this works great for my gaming also as I have the DPI fixed at 800 if I recall correctly, which keeps headshots rolling in :)
 
My wife bought a mouse with a bunch of extra buttons after she started playing World of Warcraft seriously, because her guild members kept telling her she would need it. She still hasn't started using them and recently got the achievement for getting a 2000+ Mythic+ rating, so it seems to me they're overrated.

I do occasionally use one of the side buttons. In Vermintide 2 I mapped one of them to the tag function, because otherwise I would forget to tag stuff or not be able to in the middle of combat. I've also mapped it to the melee attack, grenade throw or going prone in other games.
 

ZedClampet

Community Contributor
I always use ambidextrous mice with buttons on both sides, and I remap important keys to them. For instance, I don't want to ever take my hand off the mouse, so anything that would require my right hand while typing gets put to the mouse, like "M" for map, "J" for journal, "I" for inventory, etc. Sometimes, like in V Rising, I put all my specials on the mouse buttons. They are just easier to hit for me.
 
Mine has 3 buttons on the left side that I have never used. Front one is actually disabled, whereas other 2 are forward/back on webpages I think.
I generally only use the left click, right click & scroll wheel. I only use the cpi toggle if I have accidentally clicked it already. The faster speed on mouse only really exists for when I am in bios.

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I like having just two buttons on the side for my thumb, I don’t want more than two. I like using the back one for changing firing modes in FPS games, or for accessing my favorites menu in Skyrim. The front button is used for changing optics (canted iron sights or zoom level), or to quick cast a healing spell. Each button is multifunctional for different kinds of games.
 
I have the razor basilisk which gives me 3 side buttons. The top button that slows down your DPS (to make super accurate shots) i never use. it doesn't do anything for me and i've never needed to use it. Plus its sort of too far for my thumb to use.

The other side buttons get a lot more use. Outside of gaming, its merely the forward and back buttons when browsing the web. When i play games the use for the keys are more varied depending on the game tbh. At a basic level its the "use" button. So i can free up the E or F key. other times i bind grenades or recovery. On some occasions, its the melee key or they are for special abilities that are the most useful or too far away from the keyboard that i have to lift my hand off to press(so generally anything in the 5 key - 0 keys)
 
Last edited:
Jan 14, 2020
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I have a Steel Series Rival 300 which is a pretty standard mouse. It's right hand only* and has two side mouse buttons.

I normally just use the side button nearest my wrist. If it's a game with a lot of jumping involved then I use it for that, I find it much easier than hitting the right spot on a massive space bar.

For Path of Exile I if I'm using a Mana Flask I have it mapped to that. If not I have it mapped to my Quicksilver Flask.

If I'm using Push to talk on Discord then I use the other side mouse button.

*I'm actually left handed but never got on with using a mouse in my left hand.
 
Aug 3, 2022
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Can hardly use a mouse with out 2 buttons on the side since i use them allot going forward and backwards in programs and web at work, and in games i use them for whatever they are good for in the specific game i supose :)
 
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Zloth

Community Contributor
How often does anyone use the scroll wheel as the third mouse button? Egosoft's X games use that button to fire weapons toward where your pointer is located, so I'm using mine a lot lately, but I don't remember using it much in any other games.
 
How often does anyone use the scroll wheel as the third mouse button? Egosoft's X games use that button to fire weapons toward where your pointer is located, so I'm using mine a lot lately, but I don't remember using it much in any other games.
I use the scroll button all the time. It's in fact one of the reason I always have a lot of tabs open.

If I had more buttons on the side, I would move that middle button function to one of them for a more pleasant middle button pressing experience.


I also use one of my keyboards G-keys to switch between sound ouputs, headset and speakers.
 
Jun 22, 2021
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Thumb button for melee attack. Any game that had that I would bind it to the thumb button. I find when guys jump in on screen or through doors I'd kind of clinch my hand while moving. So I figured I'd just toss it to the thumb button since I would push it every time instinctively. Worked out good for how I play.
 
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To conveniently switch between tabs in the browser and adjust mouse sensitivity in the game.
Necro'd the hell out of this thread, but: my people!

This is what I use mine for. Every mouse I program the forward thumb button to go forward a tab and the rear to go back a tab. Then DPI, though I don't use it much anymore, was very helpful when I was heavily into World of Tanks and a higher DPI was necessary for general movement and snap shots, but then while sniping a low DPI was very helpful for precise aiming.
 

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