Mouse and keyboard lore/Unix

Russell Bateman
February 2021
last update:

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard on Linux Mint (key assignment)

To map the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 Keyboard's right and left arrow pad (between your thumbs on the keyboard), ...

  1. go to System Settings → Keyboard → Shortcuts → Workspaces,
  2. select Switch to left workspace or Switch to right workspace,
  3. then double-click one of the "unassigned" keyboard bindings and press the button on the keyboard you would like to associate.

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard on Linux

This is deprecated both because the link below doesn't exist and the keyboard is no longer available.

Specifically, how to remap the slider. I found this post about activating the between-keys zoom slider and using for scrolling instead of zooming:

The first (and easiest) solution worked for me on Linux Mint 13 (Ubuntu). For the second solution, which I didn't implement, but which I had already seen elsewhere, I had to go all the way to event7 before getting a reaction from the evtest application.

Composing special characters

Go to Keyboard preferences (System -> Preferences -> Keyboard or to the Unity gear icon and look for Keyboard) and select a Compose key by clicking the Layout tab, and then Options, then Compose key position. Pick a key; in the image below, I've chosen to use the left-side Windows key.

This illustration is from Lucid:

This illustration is from Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya, reached by Menu → Preferences → Keyboard → Layouts → Options → Position of Compose key:

The key you choose enables you to compose an accented character at the keyboard. To accomplish this, hold the key down and then type the accent character, see Key (and name) in the chart below, followed by the Key (character) you wish to place the accent on.

For example, to get ç, hold down the left Windows key, then press , (comma), followed by c.

Here's the table:

Key (and name) Key (character) Result
'   (apostrophe) a á
e é
i í
o ó
u ú
`   (back tick) a à
e è
i ì
o ò
u ù
"   (double quote) a ä
e ë
i ï
o ö
u ü
^   (caret) a â
e ê
i î
o ô
u û
~   (tilde) n ñ
,   (comma) c ç

Special: ligatures

Key sequence name) Result

Special: fractions

Key sequence name) Result

Special: Guillemets (French: « and »)

Key sequence name) Result
COMPOSE < then Shift < «
COMPOSE > then Shift > »

Special: Ezset (German: ß)

Key sequence name) Result
COMPOSE s then Shift s ß

Can't make it work?

This can take a little practice. Also, it doesn't work everywhere, but depends on where you're trying it. I can't think of a specific application that doesn't work, but I have encountered a few. What do work are: Terminal/Console command line, Facebook in Firefox/Chrome, vim/gvim.

Also, promptness seems to be an issue. For an acute e, for example, don't dilly-dally after pressing Win + '. Press e immediately. You may need to practice. For circumflex e, press and hold Shift + Win, then strike 6, then immediately e.

Really foreign characters like Han Chinese?

You're on your own there. The answer is possibly in the next section, but I always just ask a Chinese, Arabic, Indian, etc. friend to send me stuff in e-mail that I copy and paste. Since I'm incompetent in those languages, my needs are infrequent (usually only for testing software) and the trouble is adquately compensated.

Still another method: For Russian, I'm a lot more competent, but not on the keyboard yet. I usually browse for a word in Russian. For example, even if I happen to know the word, I just Google for "some-word in Russian" and see if it doesn't come up so I can copy and paste it.


You can enter any character when you know its number. Do this:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + u; you will see u where you that.
  2. Before typing anything else, now type the hexadecimal number corresponding to the symbol you seek.
  3. Press the SPACE bar to confirm.
  4. For example, to type a degree symbol (°):
    1. Hold down SHIFT and CTRL.
    2. Type the letter u, then let go.
    3. Now type 00b0 (zero, zero, 'b', zero).
    4. Press the SPACE bar.
  5. In the above, you don't even need to type the first two zeros (0), but only b0 and it will work.

Sample symbols and the numbers that correspond to them:

© a0
® ae
¢ a2

Logitech double-click problem

Videos on fixing the infamous double-click problem that plagues Logitech mice:

  • M705, a smaller, wasteable battery-powered mouse. This video demonstrates disassembling the Omron microswitch to recondition the copper spring in its guts. Good information, but a lack of magnification and not being able to see through the demonstrators hands are problems with this video.
  • Performance MX the rather big, fat, rechargeable mouse. This video demonstrates that the pads are delicate and you have to be careful when removing them not to destroy them. He reconditions the Omron switch by flattening out the arched piece of the leaf spring.
  • Performance MX the rather big, fat, rechargeable mouse. This video demonstrates replacing the Omron D2FC-F-7N microswitch, which you can buy on Amazon for under $6. Replacing it is a lot of work, there are many steps and you need some serious soldiering equipment beyond just the iron.
  • How to fix the double-click problem, demonstrates the Omron switch and futzing with it to fix the problem. Highly magnified and viewable. This guy recommends putting more arch (rather than flattening) the copper switch spring. I recommend this video before watching the others so that you can see how the switch is constructed.
  • This is more of a how to fix any mouse works, replacing the Omron switch with a better switch. He shows tools he uses for resoldering.

There are quite a number of videos on this topic. I have had mice go bad this way over the years. I thought it was problems with drivers and software upgrades. (When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail, right?)

Advice: don't remove the white, plastic switch pad from the black case. Tape it in place. There's nothing you can do with it except lose it.

Switches on Amazon...