OS X and Multi-button Mice – A Question

As stated recently, I’ve been looking for a 5 button bluetooth mouse to use with my iMac. One of the contenders has been the Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer for Bluetooth, but I’ve resisted buying it because I’m not sure how I like the positioning of buttons 4 and 5, and due to the asymetrical shape. Also, I didn’t really want to pay for the bluetooth adapter included with every MS Bluetooth mouse, since my iMac has Bluetooth built in.

A neighbor offered me his MS bluetooth keyboard and mouse kit, which he wasn’t using, to try out. I left the keyboard and bluetooth adapter in the bag, but hooked up the mouse. After installing the latest bluetooth firmware update and bluetooth software update from Apple, the mouse seems to be working reasonably well. However, OS X is not a support OS for Microsoft’s Bluetooth offereings, and the Intellipoint 5.1 for OS X software I’ve been using won’t recognize the mouse. This leaves me with no way to map buttons 3, 4, and 5 to any type of functionality.

The OS can recognize these buttons, however. I can map them to Expose functions in the Expose preference panel. However, I can’t map them to keystrokes (as the Intellimouse software did), and other applications (most notably Firefox) do not recognize the native button clicks or allow a way to map them. I’d like to map button four to Firefox’s Back button (aka Cmd+Left Arrow) and Button 3 (wheel-click) to the Firefox cmd Open Link in New Tab (Cmd+Mouse Click).

My primary need is for Firefox; I’ve looked for Extentions that would enable this functionality, but all I’ve found are extentions to enable mouse gestures, a feature I’m not fond of. I also stumbled across something call USB Overdrive, and OS X app to enable extra buttons on a USB mouse. Unfortunately, it’s designed of OS X 10.1, hasn’t been updated in over three years, and states that Bluetooth support would appear “in the next version”.

So, does anyone know how to generically map buttons 3,4, 5 in OS X, or a way to make Firefox recognize these buttons? Until I can configure this mouse the way I want it, It’s not going to be of much use.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

5 Responses to “OS X and Multi-button Mice – A Question”

  1. Peter Says:

    It appears no one really knows. I hope you get an answer soon, because I am also interested. Can you test if the bluetooth keyboard works? I am looking for a cross platform compatible bluetooth set but there doesn’t seem to be any around.

  2. iConrad Says:

    There are two solutions that work: GamePad Companion and ControllerMate.

    P.S. I posted a detailed comment here previously, but that never showed up. Just search for these two apps. You’ll find reviews.

  3. iConrad Says:

    I’ve been experimenting with both apps more. I think I like ControllerMate more. It’s very powerful, not too hard to use, and for purposes of controlling just those mouse buttons, can be used freely. Though I think it’s good enough that it’s worth the $10 to register it.

  4. iConrad Says:

    Can’t preview or edit comments here. no problem. Here’s the correct link to ControllerMate.

  5. Jason Says:

    Thanks for the pointer, Conrad; I’ve returned to my wired mouse at the moment; the MS Bluetooth didn’t seem to pair up after my last reboot. I’ve been too busy to investigate; when I have a chance to get the mouse working again I’ll give ControllerMate a shot.

    Sorry about the comment system; as you correctly pointed out, it’s severly lacking. Especially sorry you lost a comment; anything with a plain old HTML hyperlink () tag is ignored as spam. Cut my comment spam intake down from 20+/day to 1 in the last 4+ months. I should update the notes below the comment form to be more explicit, but I really don’t want the spammers to start using Markdown too.