General Mouse Settings

On the General tab of the Mouse Preferences dialog box, shown in Figure 10-11, you can configure the following options:

Figure 10-11. The Mouse Preferences dialog box lets you tame that mouse.

Mouse Orientation: This option lets you set whether the mouse is to be used by a left-handed or right-handed person. Effectively, it swaps the functions of the right and left buttons.

Locate Pointer: This option allows you to show where the mouse is by displaying a ripple surrounding the mouse pointer when you press the Ctrl key. This can be useful for partially sighted people who may not be able to locate the cursor on a busy desktop.

Acceleration: This setting controls how fast the mouse moves. Whenever you move the mouse, the pointer on the screen moves a corresponding amount. However, the cursor actually increases in speed the more you move your hand (otherwise, you would need to drag your hand across the desk to get from one side of the screen to the other). This is referred to as acceleration. If you set the acceleration too high, the pointer will fly around the screen, seemingly unable to stop. If you set it too slow, you'll need to ramp the mouse several times to make it go anywhere.

Sensitivity: This setting controls how quickly the acceleration kicks in when you first move the mouse. Choosing a higher setting means that you can move the mouse relatively quickly before it starts to accelerate and cover more screen space. A low setting means that acceleration will begin almost as soon as you move the mouse. Higher sensitivity settings give you more control over the mouse, which can be useful if you use image-editing programs, for example.

Drag and Drop: This setting determines the amount of mouse movement allowed in a click-and-drag maneuver before the item under the cursor is moved. It is designed for people who have limited dexterity and who might be unable to keep the mouse perfectly still when selecting an item. In such cases, a large threshold value may be preferred.

Double-Click Timeout: This is ideal for people who are less physically dexterous, because the double-click speed can be slowed down. On the other hand, if you find yourself accidentally double-clicking items, you can speed it up. Test your settings by double-clicking the light bulb image.

Changes are made as each setting is adjusted, so to test the new settings, simply move your mouse.

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