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Make Your Mouse Pointers Left-hand Friendly

It’s a right-centric world, with everything from pencils to computer mice expecting you to be right-handed.  Here’s how you can train your mouse and cursors in Windows 7 and Vista to respect your left-handedness.

Using your Left Hand the Right Way

It’s easy to switch your mouse to left-handed mode.  Enter “mouse” in your Start menu search, and select the first entry.

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Check the “Switch primary and secondary buttons” box to make your mouse more left-hand friendly.  Now your primary select button is your right button, and the secondary button (commonly referred to as right-click) is the left button.

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But, it can still be awkward to select items on screen with your left hand using the default cursors.  MSDN has a free set of cursors designed for left-handed users, that can fix this problem for you.  These cursors are exactly like the default Aero cursors in Windows 7 and Vista, except they are reversed to make them better for left-handed use.

The cursors are available in 3 sizes: normal, large, and extra large.  The normal ones are the same size as the default ones in Windows 7; feel free to choose the other sizes if you prefer them.  Click each link to download all 6 cursors for your size (link below).

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Click “I Agree” after selecting the cursors to accept the license agreement and download them.

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Once you have all 6 cursors downloaded, select the Pointers tab in the Mouse Properties dialog.  Click the cursor to change, and then click Browse to select the new cursor.

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Browse to the folder you downloaded your new cursors to, select the correct cursor, and click Open.

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Do this for each of the 6 cursors to be changed.  Strangely, the Busy cursor (the spinning blue orb) is a static cursor, so you may not wish to change it.  All the other ones look and act like their standard counterparts.

Here’s the cursors to be changed, and their equivalents in the default cursors:

Normal Select: aero_arrow_left.cur
Help Select: aero_helpsel_left.cur
Working in Background: aero_working_left.ani
Busy: aero_busy_left.cur
Handwriting: aero_pen_left.cur
Link Select: aero_link_left.cur

After changing all the cursors, click Save As… to save this mouse scheme so you can easily select it in the future.  Finally click Ok to close the Mouse Properties dialog and accept the changes.

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Now your pointers will be easier to use left-handed!

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Conclusion

Whether you’re right-handed or left-handed, you can enjoy the Aero cursors in Windows 7 or Vista in the way that works best for you.  Unfortunately, many mice are still designed for right-handed people, but this trick will help you make the best out of your mouse.

We included all of the 6 cursors for you in a zip file you can download Here. This will make it easier for you to get them all together without having to download them individually.

Link

Download Left-Handed Mouse Pointers from MSDN

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 04/30/10

Comments (7)

  1. Alec S.

    Pencils?! How does a pencil have handedness?

  2. Tangmeister

    I think it`s because the company name is written so only right handed people can see it right side up.

  3. Matthew Guay

    Yes, Tangmeister is right. That’s what I’ve always heard anyhow, but since I’m right-handed, I’ve of course never had a problem with it.

  4. Star Gatherer

    The pencil is tilted to either side depending on which way you write, so you can have a right-handed view of the pencil or a left-handed view that’s all. While I appreciate the effort, as a lefty, I use the mouse with my right hand, because of certain advantages, as well as because most public computers and those I use at work are right-biased machines. At home my setup is such that I can use the mouse with either hand. It would be nice if I could easily switch back and forth from a right-handed to a left-handed setup if I wanted to, but unfortunately I have to stick to use the mouse as a righty out of necessity. Seems a pain to change the mouse button setup each time I want to switch hands I use the mouse with.

  5. R.M. Koske

    Thanks for the tips, Matthew – I’ve never cared which way my pointers go, but my sister mentioned it a while back and it’s nice to have something to send her that might help.

    (The biggest “wow, that’s right handed, how weird” shock I got was the soda vending machine at work. The coin slot is recessed a bit with a protrusion on the left side. It’s very awkward to hold the coins in your left hand to feed the machine because your knuckles hit the protrusion. You almost have to do it right-handed.)

  6. Sadie

    Anyone know of a way to do this on a mac? I know how to change the primary mouse button but can’t figure out how to change cursors.

    BTW, mousing with your left hand can reduce risk of carpal tunnel for right-handed people.

  7. Cindy

    I am a righty, but my son became ambidextrous due to kids teasing him in kindergarten (of all places) when he used his left.
    But anyway, I would think it would be easier to click with the right and still have the left available to the keyboard – especially for the numbers – if you could.
    How does mousing w/ left hand reduce carpal tunnel? Doesn’t it just up the risk for the left hand??
    And the coin slot! WOW! Never would have thought!
    Anyway, thanks for the training. Got someone left handed taking over my job, and wanted to make things a bit more comfortable for her.

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