How to make the mouse left-handed in Windows XP

This page explains step-by-step how to make the mouse left-handed in Windows XP. By default, your mouse is set up for a right-handed person, with the primary button on the left. However, you can swap the function of the mouse buttons from the default left click, so that a right click is instead used for selection and dragging. You'll just need to remember to press the opposite button to what is called for when you are following instructions (for example, if you are requested to right-click on something).

Change the function of the mouse's left and right buttons

Step 1: Open the 'Mouse Properties' window

Open the 'Start' menu by clicking on the 'Start' button, or by pressing the Windows key or Ctrl + Esc.

Click on 'Control Panel', or press C until it is highlighted and then press Enter if necessary. (Note: in earlier versions of XP, you will need to click on 'Settings' or press S first.)

You need to be in Classic view. If you see the text 'Pick a category', as shown in Fig 1, click on 'Switch to Classic View' or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press Enter.

Fig 1Detail from Control Panel window

Double-click on the 'Mouse' icon, or press M until it is highlighted and then press Enter, to open the 'Mouse Properties' window shown in Fig 2.

Fig 2'Mouse Properties' window showing the 'Buttons' tab

Step 2: Swap the primary and secondary mouse buttons

If it is not already selected, click on the 'Buttons' tab, or press Ctrl + Tab to cycle through the tabs until it is selected.

Under the 'Button configuration' header, tick the box next to 'Switch primary and secondary buttons' by clicking on it, or press Alt + S to tick it.

Click the 'OK' button or press Enter to finish.

Back to How to guides - I find a keyboard or mouse hard to use

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