Use a switch in the place of the mouse button

Many people find it difficult to use the mouse buttons. One way of solving this problem is to use one or two external switches that emulate these buttons. People who use head pointers and eye gaze can also benefit from switches acting as mouse buttons.

The switch can be activated with the same hand that is used to operate the trackball or joystick. Some people prefer to use the other hand, although be mindful of involuntary movements in some cases that will move the mouse pointer while the switch is being pressed. You can also attach a switch to a manfrotto universal mount (or similar) so it can be operated by the head or any other part of the body,

Single clicking

In the example above, dating from 2002 but still very much in use today, we can see a BigTrack Rollerball with an external Jelly Bean switch added in to substitute the left button. Some trackballs / rollerballs and specialist joysticks have input sockets to plug the switches into. If you do not have a device with these sockets then you will need to use a USB switch interface box.

Double clicking

If you have a USB switch interface box and the accompanying software (Crick USB Keys or Sensory Software Switch Driver) you can set the switch to send a double click.

Click and drag

It’s can be very difficult for people who use joysticks and trackballs to press and hold a button while moving the cursor on the screen. This is known as “dragging” and while not essential it does make using a computer much more efficient. Many specialist joysticks and trackballs have a drag lock feature that lets you latch, or toggle, the left button on and off. Most of the devices that have this mode also have a socket that enables you to plug a switch in which toggles the drag mode on and off.

For those that do not have a specialist device with this socket you can you the free Microsoft Windows’ Click Lock feature. This built-in option allows you to press and hold the switch (or standard mouse button) for a second or two to toggle the drag lock mode on and off.

Other options

It’s also worth trying a range of different mouse alternatives to see if the built-in buttons are more accessible. Also free dwell software can allow a person to use a computer without the need to click at all.


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