Mouse chording

From Academic Kids

Mouse chording is the capability of performing actions when multiple mouse buttons are held down, much like a chorded keyboard.

Notice that chorded actions may require more training to learn if the pressing of one button does not provide feedback hinting that pressing another button will get a result.

The operating system Plan 9 and one of its editors, acme, heavily makes use of mouse chording. It behaves on text in the following manner

  • the left (button 1) selects
  • holding the left and clicking the middle (button 2) cuts
  • holding the left and clicking the right (button 3) pastes

Copying is effected by holding the left, then clicking the middle and right in succession (X under UNIX systems has similar capability, but functions with single buttons. Selected text is automagically copied, and the middle button pastes). This behavior is common to all text windows under Plan 9, but can have different capability under different contexts.

In Plan 9's acme programming environment some extensions of the basic chording principles are implemented, for example, sweeping while holding a mouse button can have this effects:

  • button 1 selects as normally
  • button 2 performs an action or executes a command
  • button 3 performs search or other context-based actions

OS/2 Presentation Manager can also use chording to copy and paste text using two buttons. However, Common User Access key combinations are more frequently used. Many users do not even know about chording.

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