Swap mouse buttons via key shortcut in Gnome

Gnome provides an easy way to swap mouse buttons which is a useful feature for left-handed people. I am right-handed, however I am trying to swap mouse in my hands to compensate and prevent injury. Swapping buttons via Mouse and Touchpad settings is slow and clunky.

You will find many tutorials on how to swap buttons from the command line but these are XOrg or xinput remappings. I wanted to do it consistently so Gnome is not confused and also the Mouse and Touchpad dialog or other applications work properly. It was an easy find, to swap buttons from a terminal:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.peripherals.mouse left-handed true

And indeed to flip it back:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.peripherals.mouse left-handed false

There’s also a get command to find the current state, I think it’s obvious now how to do a script that toggles the setting:

$ cat bin/swap-mouse-buttons
#!/bin/bash
SCHEMA=org.gnome.desktop.peripherals.mouse
NOW=$(/usr/bin/gsettings get $SCHEMA left-handed)
if [[ "$NOW" == "true" ]]; then
  /usr/bin/gsettings set $SCHEMA left-handed false
else
  /usr/bin/gsettings set $SCHEMA left-handed true
fi

I have an unused key on my keyboard which is probably a “Home” key, I can’t tell from the icon on that key. To use the key for quick swap, just head over to Keyboard Shortcuts in Gnome settings, scroll down to the bottom, enter path to the script above and map a key of your choice. If you open up Mouse and Touchpad dialog, you can watch how it swaps live as you press the key. How cool is that!

Now you can be swapping mouse between both hands just like I do. Have fun learning your secondary hand! And remember, take regular breaks. You can use Workrave counter which I maintain for Fedora, just install workrave package and enable Gnome Extension which is shipped in that package. Cheers!

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