Programmable electronic rodents

This is strictly for people still using plain mice!

I recently upgraded my rodent collection to a SpaceMouse and a trackball. I am right handed and have the SpaceMouse on the left of the keyboard and the trackball on the right.

The SpaceMouse has two programmable buttons and the nice thing is that they can be programmed to do pretty much anything that you would normally do from menus or shortcuts in SU.

The trackball has a number of programmable features but they are not so specific to SU. They can be programmed to do different things in different programs but they are still just basic computer commands. However, I have two buttons next to the trackball itself which I have programmed to mimic double click and triple click. Oh my, how that improves things and removes the lottery of how many times you have clicked! A revelation.

Thought I’d share this as these two bits of kit have improved user experience no end.


I’ve got the two programmable buttons on my trackball set to mimic <esc> and <space>. Works well for me. And I use both of them far more than double and triple click.
The buttons are quite useful outside of Sketchup as well! My mouse driver software allows the two buttons to have program specific meaning. For Chrome, I have them set to Forward and Back navigation. For Excel and Word, Cut and Paste. I haven’t used Layout much (but focusing on it Palm Desert later this month), but I expect that a keyboard shortcut or two will reveal themselves as deserving of a trackball button!

As for problems with your computer differentiating between single, double, and triple clicks, I thought there was a setting to tweak how close together clicks must occur (in time) to be considered double and triple clicks, but I can’t find it! If you can find yours, tweaking that might help.

As for the Space Mouse, I have one, but I don’t use it for occasional SketchUp use. My use of SketchUp is periodic. I’ll go months with light use, then a project will come up and I’ll use it intensely for anywhere from a day to a few weeks.

My problem is that my muscle memory atrophies if I don’t use it! And I’ve found the space mouse needs well trained muscle memory. If I don’t use it, I lose it. So during those months of light use, I don’t bother with the Space Mouse. But once I realize I’m going to be working intensely over more than a few hours, I take the time to retrain myself - and then the Space Mouse shines!

I found it!

But I’m on Windows and I see you’re on Mac, so it most likely looks quite different for you.

I have found that with double and triple clicks as well. I had no trouble with my plain vanilla mouse double and triple clicking but the new trackball is unreliable in that department. Hence the joy in finding a workaround that I now prefer anyway.

The SpaceMouse does take a bit of getting used to and is not so useful when working in 2D. But for 3D work it is terrific and speeds up the navigation a lot.

Anyone reading my posts would quickly realize that I have a bit of a thing for small improvements to user experience, the kind of things that don’t much concern others who are often happy that something works at all or has a workaround. But I find the ability to do something more quickly and efficiently than I did previously can turn a chore into a delight.

Agree completely on the Space Mouse in general. It’s just that for me, I have to retrain my muscle memory after a period (perhaps a week or more) of non-use, and that retraining takes time such that it’s not worth it for me during my lulls in SketchUp use.

Logitech in their Options software has a feature that enables one to customize the Fn keys. Among the options is an Advanced click with several options.

That’s exactly what I used to mimic the double and triple click using buttons. Your screenshot also demonstrates that the options are basic computer controls and not specific to software. Still useful but not as clever as the SpaceMouse.

I agree about the space mouse but I don’t have the bucks to purchase one.