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I'm running Ubuntu 12.04 and have a multi-button Microsoft mouse. I would like to map the CTRL and ALT modifier keys to the left and right thumb buttons of my mouse, respectively, so I can ctrl-click and alt-click without touching the keyboard. My thumb buttons are buttons 8 and 9.

I tried the solution in How do I configure a mouse thumb button? which explained how to map a double click to a thumb button - this worked for the double-click but I couldn't figure out how to modify the solution for CTRL and ALT

I also tried How to map Ctrl/Shift to thumb buttons of Mouse? which used xdotools and xbindkeys. I modified the script to this:

~/.xbindkeysrc:

"xdotool keydown alt"
        b:9
"xdotool keyup alt"
        release + alt + b:9
"xdotool keydown ctrl"
        b:8
"xdotool keyup ctrl"
        release + control + b:8

Which ALMOST works. It simulates a CTRL-key press when I click the left thumb button, but I can't actually hold the button and click at the same time - holding the thumb button seems to prevent it from listening to other input until it is released.

Does anyone know how I can make my mouse thumb button actually work as a modifier key, so I can use thumb_button+click instead of CTRL-click?

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1 Answer 1

Instead of using xdotool, if you prefer a functional GUI-based solution, you can download the Easystrokes app from the Ubuntu software center. You can easily map keyboard keys and shortcuts to mouse buttons and even mouse gestures.

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I tried Easystrokes, but as far as I can tell, it won't allow me to map modifier keys to mouse buttons either. It will allow me to map a modifier+key combination, like SHIFT+A, but it won't let me map a modifier alone to a mouse button. I want holding down my mouse thumb button to have the same function as holding down the CTRL button. –  murphyslaw Jul 13 '12 at 18:22

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