How to Adjust Mouse Settings in Mac OS X Lion - dummies

How to Adjust Mouse Settings in Mac OS X Lion

By Bob LeVitus

Some Mac OS X Lion users like to customize the way their mouse works. The Mouse System Preferences pane in OS X Lion is where you set your mouse speed and double-click delays.

If you have a notebook Mac, you may see a Mouse icon in the System Preferences application, but unless you have a mouse connected via USB or Bluetooth, it will just sit there searching for a mouse that’s not there.

The first item in this pane is a check box that’s new in Mac OS X Lion: Move Content in the Direction of Finger Movement When Scrolling or Navigating. If scrolling or navigating in windows feels backward to you, try un-checking this box.

Next are the features you’ll find in the Mouse System Preferences pane (if you have a mouse connected):

  • Move the Tracking Speed slider to change the relationship between hand movement of the mouse and cursor movement on-screen.

  • The Double-Click Speed setting determines how close together two clicks must be for the Mac to interpret them as a double click and not as two separate clicks.

  • If your mouse has a scroll ball or scroll wheel, you also see a Scrolling Speed slider, which lets you adjust how fast the contents of a window scroll when you use the scroll wheel or ball.

  • If your mouse has more than one button, you see a pair of Primary Mouse Button radio buttons. These let you choose which button you use to make your primary (regular) click. Conversely, the other mouse button (the one you didn’t choose) becomes your secondary (Control or right) click.

    This is a setting many lefties like to change. Set the primary button as the right button, and you can click with the index finger of your left hand.


  • Last but not least, the Zoom Using Scroll Wheel While Holding check box lets you zoom in and out by turning the scroll wheel or ball while holding down a particular key. The default is the Control key, so if you scroll while holding down the Control key, items on-screen get bigger or smaller. Click the arrow to the left of the Options button to open the menu and choose a different modifier key.

    The Options button opens a sheet with options for how the screen image moves when you’re zoomed in, as well as a check box for smoothing images.


    If your Mac is more than a couple of years old, smoothing images might slow it a bit. So if things feel a little sluggish when you zoom in, try clearing this check box.

Changes in the Mouse System Preferences pane take place immediately, so you should definitely play around a little and see what settings feel best for you. You can test the effect of your changes to the Double-Click Speed setting in the Double-Click Here to Test text box just below the slider before you close the Preferences pane.