Your mouse is a vital part of how you interact with your Windows 10 PC, and getting the speed of the cursor right is a huge part of that. The other characteristics of this input device tuned to your own personal preferences are a big part of ensuring a comfortable and productive computing environment for you.
Unfortunately, a lot of people just leave their mouse settings at the defaults and adjust their workflow to the computer’s settings – which is crazy. The computer is there for you, not the other way around, so let’s get that mouse performing the way you want it to. In this article, I will show you how to set all your mouse performance characteristics, including the mouse pointer speed, in Windows 10.
What kind of mouse do you have?
We’ve come a long way from the days of the first computer mouse, all the way back in 1964. That clunky roller-based monster was an amazing conceptual advance in user input, but not something anybody would want to use – which is why the first genuinely popular consumer computer mouse didn’t come around until the release of the Apple Macintosh twenty years later.
Today, even the most bare-bones prepackaged mouse is a highly advanced optical mouse with no moving parts and a dazzling level of resolution. There are gaming mice with exotic controls built-in for various popular games, artist-oriented mice with incredible resolution and precision, and ergonomic workhorses designed to minimize stress on a power users’ arm, wrist, and hand.
If you have one of those advanced mice, it almost certainly came with its own controller software to supplement the basic mouse handling software that is standard with Windows 10, and this article will be somewhat superfluous for you – you should be using your aftermarket software to configure your mouse.
However, even those super-mice will respect the settings that Windows 10 has, and it may be that those controls are all you really need. If you’re using a standard came-with-the-computer mouse, then this article will have exactly the information you need.
Accessing mouse settings in Windows 10
As with most user settings in Windows 10, there are a couple of different ways to get at your mouse settings. The easiest way, in my opinion, is to type the word “mouse” in the search box of the taskbar and hit return. This will bring up the top-level Mouse settings dialog.
To tell the truth, this is one of the more bizarre dialogs in the Windows settings universe. It provides you with the ability to modify four mouse settings. At this top-level dialog, you can change which button you want to use as your primary button (useful for left-handers, mainly), how many lines at a time the mouse wheel will scroll, and whether inactive windows will scroll when you hover over them.
So how do you get to the good stuff? Simple – over on the right hand side, click “Additional mouse options,” and behold, the actual and real mouse control panel will appear.
We have five tabs worth of controls, and four of the five have a lot of great settings to tweak on them. Let’s go through the tabs one by one and I’ll show you how to optimize the mouse settings for your personal preferences.
How do I Make my Mouse Faster?
The following section will show you how to navigate your computer to make your mouse work for you.
The Button Tab
The button configuration checkbox lets you reverse your left and right mouse buttons. As mentioned above, this is very helpful for left-handed individuals.
The double-click speed slider is very handy – it lets you configure how much delay there can be between two clicks before Windows decides that you weren’t trying to double-click. Great for people with good reflexes who accidentally open tabs all the time.
The folder to the right of the slider lets you test each setting . Adjust the slider, then double-click the folder at your normal double-click speed. This lets you optimize the click speed setting for your personal reaction time.
The ClickLock checkbox allows you adjust your settings for being able to highlight and/or drag without having to continuously hold down the mouse button. If ClickLock is turned on, you can press the mouse button, then drag, and press the mouse button again to end the drag.
The Pointer Tab
The pointer tab is where you can change the way your mouse pointer appears. You can select from a variety of preset schemes using the Scheme dropdown, or individualize each pointer using the Customize dialog.
The Enable pointer shadow checkbox creates a subtle but visible “shadow” underneath your pointer, increasing its visual contrast against the background.
The Pointer Options Tab
This is the meat of the mouse settings control panel, as these are the settings with the largest impact on your overall mouse performance.
The Motion slider lets you set the speed of the pointer, the bar ranges from slow to fast. With a slow setting, you have to move the mouse a lot to cause the pointer to move a little bit; with a fast setting, a slight mouse movement moves the pointer very rapidly. Experiment with this and find the setting which feels right for you. It is an entirely subjective decision; there are no wrong answers here and your needs may change based on what you are trying to accomplish.
The Enhance pointer precision checkbox lets you configure whether or not Windows tries to detect how precise you are being with your mouse movements. When the checkbox is on, Windows slows down the pointer speed dramatically when you move the pointer slowly. If the checkbox is off, Windows uses the pointer speed you set with the Motion slider without making any adjustments whatsoever.
Basically, if you are doing picky mouse-placement work, such as graphic design, having this checkbox on can be very helpful. You can move the mouse quickly across the screen to get to an area, and then move the pointer slowly in that area to make a finicky adjustment or selection. Gamers should leave this option off, as it can cause problems in using the mouse for targeting or movement within a game.
The Snap To check box allows you to decide whether or not Windows will automatically move the pointer to the default button in a dialog box. For example, if you open a File Open dialog box, the pointer will automatically move to the “Open” command box in the dialog. This can be very useful for people who do a lot of dialog-based input where the default option is usually or always the correct option. It’s a major hassle for anyone else so choose appropriately.
The Display pointer trails checkbox sets a visual effect that causes pointer movement to leave a trail behind it. This can make spotting the mouse pointer much easier, at the cost of making you feel like you’re watching a psychedelic movie. For some users, this feature is a lifesaver, however, as it really increases the visual impact and detectability of the pointer. You can use the slider to adjust the length of time that the pointer trail displays to fine-tune the length of the trail that is caused by this effect.
The Hide pointer while typing the checkbox allows you to turn off the pointer when you are using the keyboard. This is great for word-processing and data entry work where the pointer is just in the way.
Finally, the Show location checkbox activates a nice feature where pressing the Ctrl key provides visual feedback about the pointer location – very handy if you tend to “lose” the pointer in a crowded display and don’t want to have to jiggle the mouse for five seconds to find it.
The Wheel Tab
The wheel tab provides controls for the mouse wheel if you have one.
The Vertical Scrolling control lets you set how many lines the vertical scroll will move when you use it within a document or web page. Alternatively, you can set the vertical scroll to be a full screen at a time.
The Horizontal Scrolling control lets you tilt the wheel (if your hardware supports it) to move the pointer a certain number of characters per tilt.
The Hardware Tab
The Hardware tab gives you access to the hardware settings for your mouse, including your driver software and versioning. You will not generally need to adjust these settings unless you are trying to diagnose a hardware or driver problem with your mouse – issues that arise so rarely in Windows 10 that you are unlikely to encounter them, knock on wood.
With all of these controls at your disposal, getting the perfect mouse user interface experience is as easy as sitting down for a few minutes and experimenting with the settings that work best for you. Happy mousing!
We’ve got more mouse resources for all your user interface needs!
If you’re a gamer, you want to take a look at our guide to the best wireless gaming mice.
Here’s a guide to not waking up Windows with a mouse movement.
If you do a lot of screenshotting, you should see our tutorial on how to use the mouse cursor to take screenshots.
If your wireless mouse is giving you trouble, here’s our walkthrough on diagnosing problems with your wireless mouse.
If you do a lot of repetitive work on your computer, you definitely want to read our guide to creating mouse macros in Windows 10.