An Apple mouse costs 5 times a much!
August 18, 2012 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Can I get a PC mouse to work on an iMac?

My Apple mouse has 2 buttons on the side to switch between windows, but they're absent on my PC mouse. The PC mouse I've hooked up seems to work fine otherwise. Is there way any to make the PC mouse work the way the Apple mouse does to switch between windows? I went to the Keyboard/Mouse section of System preferences, but I couldn't find any help there setting up the buttons on the PC mouse. I have an iMac 7,1 with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor running Mac OS X 10.4.11 (Tiger, I think.) Thanks!
posted by Daddy-O to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm a bit confused -- how many buttons does the mouse you've plugged in have? It sounds like you just plugged in a 3-button mouse, so I'm not sure how you want to replicate the function onto buttons that don't exist. What's your desired end goal, exactly?

Otherwise, have you checked for drivers for whatever mouse you have installed? You may need the mouse's specific driver programs instead of Apple's default stuff to map buttons.
posted by brainmouse at 1:19 PM on August 18, 2012

Response by poster: The 3 button mouse has a left and right button, but the Apple mouse doesn't: The entire top of the mouse is one big button. If I could somehow use the left mouse button on the 3 button mouse for regular clicking and the right button to act as the window changing button I'd be set. The 3 button mouse I have didn't come with any drivers, I just plugged it in and it seems to work for everything except switching between windows. It's just a no-name generic 3 button mouse.
posted by Daddy-O at 1:29 PM on August 18, 2012

Best answer: The function you're looking for is called "Exposé" and there's a separate section in the System Preferences to control it.

According to this question on Apple's site:
[G]o to System Preferences>Mouse and activate the secondary mouse button, then go to System Preferences>Exposé & Spaces and in the middle portion of the screen you can choose to set your secondary mouse button to open expose
I don't know if this will work the same way in 10.4; I do have an old PowerBook that's still running that version of the OS but I don't have an external mouse to test it with, unfortunately.

(By the way, that Apple mouse does actually have two buttons on the top; or rather it can tell if you're pressing on the left side or the right side to provide different functions for each. But that's not really part of your question.)
posted by bcwinters at 1:42 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The System Preferences (Mouse) window has sliders for Tracking Speed, Scrolling Speed, Double Click Speed, an option to choose between Left or Right Primary Mouse Button, and a section for controlling the scroll wheel. No section regarding the secondary mouse button. However, thanks to bcwinters' answer, I found a workaround that will allow me to use a PC 3 button mouse and still easily switch between windows. I went to the Dashboard and Exposé section of Preferences and set the "All Windows" keyboard shortcut to "Right Control" button. Now when I push the right Control button, it has the same function the side buttons on the Apple Mouse had before it broke. Now I can use a $10 PC 3 button mouse instead of the $49 Apple mouse. Problem solved, thanks!
posted by Daddy-O at 2:21 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also on the Dashboard and Exposé section of Preferences, you can set any one of the "Active Screen Corners" to "All Windows" form the drop down menu. Then, when you move the cursor to the specified corner of the screen, all active windows will be displayed and you can select the one you want.
posted by Daddy-O at 2:58 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

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