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A computer mouse controls the cursor which activates certain elements on your graphical user interface (GUI). The cursor follows the user’s hand movements to perform actions such as opening a folder, dragging a file, or opening a computer program.
You can use two mouses and have two cursors performing different actions simultaneously or interchangeably.
Having multiple mice (or mouses if you like) can enable more than one person to interact with the same computer. Each cursor adopts a unique color for easy identification. On my two-mouse rig, my primary cursor is usually red while the secondary USB mouse shows up as blue.
It’s standard to use a single mouse with your computer, even for multi-PC rigs. However, there are plenty of scenarios where a second mouse could come in handy. There are a few possible ways to add extra mice to your computer setup. These include:
If you’re using Windows, your OS can detect multiple mouses automatically. You simply plug in your extra mouse via a USB port and Windows will automatically add its drivers. You can then control the cursor with either mouse.
A simple addition like this is ideal when you want to mirror your main PC to a TV monitor. A wireless mouse would be the best suitable in this instance.
Most modern mice come with a Unifying Receiver. This is a little dongle that plugs into the USB port of your computer, allowing you to connect up to six devices.
Ensure you have a copy of unifying software for your unifying receiver to function properly. If you don’t have the software, you can download it from the manufacturer’s website.
Once you have the software, pair the device and you’re good to go. Using a Unifying Receiver, the multiple mouses will operate interchangeably, not independently.
You can download TeamPlayer for use with your Windows PC. TeamPlayer allows two devices to perform the same functions either interchangeably or simultaneously.
TeamPlayer is a Freemium solution, so you can start with the limited time (14 days) free edition and upgrade to the paid version later. The older version is free for personal use while an upgrade to the new version has a cost.
With TeamPlayer, you can restrict one cursor to only control one app. You may also remove restrictions so the second mouse has full control of the screen, just like the primary mouse.
Each user can work on their own window without affecting other users. For example, one user can work on a slideshow while the other uses the browser. Here are the steps for TeamPlayer.
- To begin, connect all your mouses to the PC. Windows should detect each, especially if you use USB.
- Download the TeamPlayer software from their website.
- The Windows setup wizard should take you through the easy steps.
- Read the License Agreement and if you agree to the terms and conditions, click on “I accept the agreement”.
- Click ‘Next’ and choose where to save the TeamPlayer program files.
- Click ‘Next’ and Windows should extract the program files and set up the installation.
- The ‘Complete Setup’ pop-up window will appear. If you’ll be using the software for personal use, disable automatic updates.
- Choose to open the pdf User Guide which will have comprehensive instructions on how to use the program.
- Before you launch the program, verify that all mouses are already connected and Windows has detected them all. Though not necessary, the program works best if you use identical mice. Once the program launches, you will see the main window asking you to start a session.
- Once your session begins, all the different cursors representing each connected mouse will show on your display. Each cursor will have a distinctive color.
While the cursors seem independent, when one user presses their mouse button, other users can’t make any actions by pressing their mouse buttons. Users can only operate one at a time. The operative cursor will be in the form of a cross.
Once you’re done using multiple cursors, stop your session to return to single-cursor Windows default mode.
MuseMux is a creation of the lead engineer who formerly worked at TeamPlayer. MouseMux operates in three different modes. That is, Native Mode, Switched Input, and Multiplex Input.
Native Mode is the one-cursor Windows default. The Switched Input mode allows for multiple cursors working interchangeably. Only one mouse has click-action access at a time. The active cursor will look like the normal Windows cursor. The inactive cursors will have a larger image and there will be a colored box next to each.
In Multiplex Mode, all users have click-access and so they can work independently and simultaneously.
Once you’ve successfully installed the software, the MouseMux window appears and you can select your desired mode. However, the Multiplex Input mode isn’t as stable in Windows.
Screenhero is a software solution that allows each user to control an independent cursor and mouse. Screehero works best when two or more people are collaborating on one document.
Say both users are working on the same word document. One user could work around the document suggesting edits. The second user could follow around in real time applying the edits or rejecting them.
Screenhero makes use of WebRTC for network transmission. The software also uses Google’s VP8 video compression standard for smooth cursor movements.
If you often use multiple monitors then you might want to connect two mice. Each mouse to use on one monitor. EitherMouse enables a user to add an extra mouse.
With EitherMouse, the two mice function interchangeably. When one has click-access, the other is inactive. EitherMouse is freeware and has both software download versions and portable versions.
- Connect the two mice to your PC, preferably using the USB ports.
- Open the EitherMouse program.
- Whichever is the active mouse, the program will show settings for that mouse.
- In the settings, you can switch mouse buttons, change pointer speeds, or even reverse scroll directions.
According to Philanthropy News Digest, there’s a growing demand for remote working environments, especially cloud-native apps. For that reason, many employers and professionals demand solutions that provide a secure working environment even when they are outside the office. So there are ways you can add a virtual mouse, in addition to your primary physical mouse.
You can use a secondary computer as a virtual machine to connect a virtual mouse to the primary (host) computer. However, you can’t permanently connect the virtual machine. You have to go through the whole connection process each time you power on both computers.
To connect your virtual machine:
- First, open the settings of your primary machine.
- In settings, show input devices. This option is by default not enabled on Windows and macOS machines.
- Next, open the settings on the virtual machine.
- Go to connections and then to the ‘USB Controller’ device.
- Check the box to ‘Show all USB input devices’.
- Plug in the secondary mouse into the virtual machine. You may have to restart the virtual computer.
- In the VMware box, go to ‘Player’ then to “Removable Devices’ and to ‘Logitech USB Optical Mouse’ and finally ‘Connect (Disconnect from host).
Another option for adding a virtual mouse to your computer is by using VirtualBox.
- On the virtual computer, go to the VirtualBox window.
- Click on the device drop-down menu and scroll down to ‘USB’.
- From the options, add the virtual computer’s mouse.
- Restart the virtual machine and your chosen mouse will automatically connect to the guest machine.
- You can tweak the settings in VirtualBox so the virtual mouse always connects to the guest’s operating system each time the virtual machine powers up.
Most of us are used to using only one mouse on our PC but using more than one can have its advantages. These include:
Do you regularly pair up with another professional on the same tasks? Coders, designers, and presentation specialists are some of the professionals likely to want to collaborate on the same screen.
With each person having their own mouse with cursors that operate simultaneously, collaboration becomes easier. Such a setup can be used for pair programming, student-teacher classroom settings, meeting room presentations, and collaborative designing.
Do you like playing games against a partner? Then sharing a PC could be a great way to enhance the gaming experience.
When each gamer has their own mouse then you can play against each other in close proximity to each other. You may use the same monitor or connect an extra monitor so each player has their own display.
It’s possible to play games like FIFA and Tekken in multiplayer mode on the same PC with two mice.
If you have more than one monitor rigged up to your PC and each running a different application, you can add a mouse for each monitor. That way you can easily switch between screens.
There are different software applications that can allow your Windows PC to differentiate between multiple mouses. Installing these third-party software enables you to use multiple cursors so you can input data simultaneously.
If you’ve connected your computer to your TV then you can add multiple mice to ease control. For example, you can have one mouse next to your computer for work.
You can then add a wireless mouse next to your favorite couch to control the PC media when you’re watching TV.
Most of us are used to handling a mouse with our right hand. However, if you’re working or gaming for long hours you risk fatigue and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Computer-related injuries are rampant due to the high number of computer workers and gamers. A great way to beat such injuries is to connect an extra mouse so you can use both hands interchangeably.
You can make yourself even more comfortable by using a pair of ergonomic mice, such as vertical mice. The vertical ergonomic mice enable you to work with your hands in a handshake position.
This is more natural and comfortable compared to the downward-facing wrist position.
USB technology is versatile and adaptable, so you can plug in multiple USB devices without the risk of damaging your hardware or software. Nonetheless, there are a few points to note on how multiple mice can interfere with each other.
When you connect two mice to the same computer, your OS will automatically detect the new devices. The OS will download drivers and in no time your mice will be operational.
However, with this simple setup all the connected mice will only work interchangeably. There will be only one cursor on-screen and when any user clicks their mouse, they temporarily take control of the cursor.
It might become confusing when everyone is frantically trying to control the cursor at the same time.
The good news is there are various software solutions that change give your multiple mice individual operability. Third party software applications such as Screenhero and TeamPlayer allow each user to control an independent cursor on the same computer.
With advances in technology and diversity of use, there are now many different types of computer mice.
It may take a while for a user to get used to the movements of a new type of mouse, but they all generally function the same in controlling cursor movement. Some of the most common mouse types are:
Most computer users are familiar with the standard computer mouse. According to the Australian Digital Technologies Hub, a mouse is a handheld hardware input device that controls the display cursor.
Most standard mice have a right-click button and a left-click button. The mouse is intended for use on a flat surface. Most mouses have a scroll wheel to ease the vertical movement of the cursor.
Some scroll wheels are in the shape of a ball and move the cursor up and down plus left and right.
If using your current mouse is causing you pain or discomfort you may want to consider adding or replacing it with a vertical mouse.
The vertical mouse employs aggressive sloping, meaning it slants at a 60-80 degree angle relative to your desk’s surface. Also, vertical mice come in orientations for both left-handed and right-handed use.
The vertical slant ensures there’s no pronation of the forearm. It also ensures your shoulders are rotated externally, which is more natural than the internal rotation a standard mouse requires.
You can add an ergonomic vertical mouse for prolonged work sessions and use the standard mouse for quick tasks. You may also have two vertical mice for use with both hands, so they work simultaneously. Putting both your hands to work can be less tiring than having one hand do all the work.
Yes, you can use your smartphone as an extra wireless mouse for your computer. If your phone or tablet runs on Android and your Windows PC has an Intel Chipset, you use Intel’s Remote Keyboard app to connect your phone.
To set up your Android as a mouse:
- Download the Intel Remote Keyboard app to your phone.
- Download the Intel Remote Keyboard Host to your Windows computer.
- Choose either x86 or x64 depending on your OS.
- Connect your PC and phone to the same Wi-Fi network.
- On your phone’s network settings, connect to your Windows device.
- Your PC will display a QR code. Scan it with your phone’s camera to pair the two devices.
- Your phone is now an additional mouse that works interchangeably with your standard mouse.
A trackball works like a standard mouse but is designed with a movable ball that rolls in any direction. Trackballs are popular mouse alternatives for people who spend lots of time using a mouse. They are more ergonomic than the standard mouse.
There are finger-operated and thumb-operated trackballs. Additionally, most trackballs can easily be used with the right hand as well as the left. Like standard mice, trackballs have buttons for right-clicks and left-click.
Apart from the advantage of ergonomic design, trackballs require less working space than standard mice. This is because trackballs don’t have to be moved around a surface. All you need to do is roll the ball in the desired direction.
Additionally, a trackball mouse can be built into a device. For example, a gaming station in arcade games or on a DJ’s mixing board.
Apart from the normal trackballs, there are larger trackball mice. These are designed for ease of use for people who lack fine motor skills.
Large trackballs make it possible for people with conditions such as arthritis or tremors to work smoothly. They are also helpful for people with learning difficulties.
Some versions adopt designs that focus on the physically disabled. So they can be operated using elbows, feet, or in other non-conventional ways.
Joysticks look like the gear stick in a regular car. You control the cursor by direction and speed by moving the joystick around.
Joysticks have additional buttons for right-clicks and left-clicks. A few modern variations have shortcuts such as copy, cut, and paste buttons.
In the old days of CRT monitors, you could use a light gun as an alternative mouse. The light pen was one type of a light gun.
Nowadays, light guns are only found in game arcades. A light gun is a device shaped like a gun or sometimes like a pen. It gives the user the feeling of shooting at a target on the screen. The light gun moves the cursor around the display to identify a target.
If you sit for long periods hunched up when using your computer you might want to consider a foot mouse. These are alternative mice that can be operated by foot action.
People who want to focus their fingers on the keyboard rather than the mouse can find the foot mouse handy. For instance, if you’re a transcriptionist you want to type out each word without missing a beat.
A foot mouse helps you use your feet to control the cursor, freeing your fingers for the keyboard.
Foot mice are also beneficial for people with disabilities, people with back and shoulder pain, or people suffering neck problems.
You can add an extra mouse to your computer. First, you want to be clear why you want an extra mouse, which type works best for your intended use, and any software required for the mouse to function optimally.
Do you need independent mice or interchangeable ones? Do you want to collaborate with others or just have the freedom to switch positions? Whatever your needs, this guide teaches you how to make the best of your additional mouse.