I have a nice multi-button Logitech Performance MX and like to map my two thumb buttons to the scale and expo compiz plugins.

[please note that this has changed in Ubuntu 12.10]


The first step is to hit alt+f2 which will bring up a "run application" dialog box. In the entry field put in gconf-editor and then click 'run'. From here you will navigate to:

apps -> compiz -> plugins

You then need to find the expo and scale plugin entries as shown below.

expo gconf-editor settings scale gconf-editor settings

If you want to use corners you would use the 'expo-edge' for expo and 'initiate-all-edge' for scale. The edges are case sensitive.

BottomRight, TopRight, etc.

  • 1
    Slight caveat of applying it to a button is that it activates on mouse down, and deactivates on mouse up, which means you have to get used to holding the button down while you hover over the desired window.
    – Dunhamzzz
    Mar 29 '12 at 12:28
  • Dunhamzzz - I do not have that issue with the buttons I have bound them too... not sure if some buttons act that way, but not the ones I used.
    – cprofitt
    Mar 30 '12 at 3:01
  • @Dunhamzzz I had the same issue as you: mouse button down activates scale but mouse up deactivates - the fix was to set the 'button_bindings_toggle' option ('Button Bindings Toggle Scale Mode' in CCSM). Aug 14 '17 at 13:09

For a slightly more user-friendly option than cprofitt's gconf-editor solution, try compizconfig-settings-manager Install compizconfig-settings-manager. It has a searchable interface, is specialized for customizing compiz, and restricts your input to valid options (to reduce mistakes).

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Install it and run it with ccsm from the Alt+F2 run window.

You can search for plugins by name. "expo" and "scale" will work for you.

Searching for the expo plugin

The button next to each option in the Bindings tab shows the current binding. Most of them probably say Disabled.

Click the Disabled text next to Expo Button, check Enabled, and select your button. It may take experimentation to figure out what number your desired buttons are.

This button will allow you to set a mouse button to invoke Expo

Follow a similar process for Scale. There are three options:

  • Initiate Window Picker - you pick between the windows in your current workspace.
  • Initiate Window Picker for All Windows - You pick between windows across all workspaces.
  • Initiate Window Picker for Window Group - As far as I can tell, this option is broken. Click the button next to Initiate Window Picker to set the mouse button.

Compizconfig-settings-manager is really great for setting keyboard commands, because there's a grab button that lets you type the key combo.

  • This is perfect, exactly what I was looking for. Works better than xbindkeys and xdotool.
    – Keidax
    Dec 2 '12 at 22:52

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