We are always searching for application software that makes using computers easier and more effective. In recent years part of our search has been to focus on making computers more accessible to people with disabilities. When we learned about Jeff Roush and his development of MouseTool, we were elated that someone had finally developed some peripheral related software that makes using a mouse device easier.
MouseTool is software that clicks the mouse buttons, so you don’t have to!
MouseTool is a serious software solution for a serious hardware problem: Long hours spent using a mouse can lead to permanently debilitating injury of the wrists, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.
There are many, many ergonomic mice on the market, but they all have buttons that can injure over time. MouseTool works with all mice, so you can use your favorite, without having to click the buttons.
There are many other approaches to wrist pain caused by using mice, such as changing the position of the mouse, using the mouse with alternating hands, buying “ergonomic” mice, trackball mice and using speech recognition programs to run the mouse. For some people, simply putting the mouse in the correct position solves the problem. For others, using a GlidePoint mouse will do the trick. For those already suffering with wrist or hand pain, or existing disabilities, all of these options merely slow down the development of an injury or put a Band-Aid on a continuing problem for the disabled person. When pain is caused by clicking buttons, the solution is to not click those buttons, and in the case of people with disabilities, they’re prevented from using an important resource.
You may want to read some of the great things users have been saying about MouseTool! Read about it here.
by the developer, Jeff Roush
“Several years ago I developed tendonitis — or something like it that seems to have confounded a number of doctors, conventional and alternative. All I really know about the pain is that it came originally from using computers too much at my job as a programmer/engineer.
I hadn’t been able to work full time since then, until I wrote the prototype of MouseTool in January of 1997.
I’ve tried lots of mice, I’ve tried physical therapy, I’ve tried repositioning the mouse and keyboard. The best thing I’ve found on the market is the GlidePoint mouse. This is a great mouse, and if I didn’t have MouseTool, I’d be using one. At the moment, though, my GlidePoint is in my closet in a box of old mice.
My first attempt to build something myself to let me use computers was a touch-sensitive button on a standard mouse. This helps immensely. All mice should be built with touch-switches. I used a prototype touch-sensitive mouse for a couple of years, but wasn’t sure how to distribute it to others in need. I’m a good programmer, but I’d make a really bad manufacturer. And, the touch-sensitive mouse still requires you to move your fingers to click, which still irritates my wrists.
And then it occurred to me how to do it in software, and the MouseTool was born. I’ve been using it daily since the first prototype was finished, and it is a godsend to me. I can’t vouch for how well it will help anyone else, but I could not work without it. On a good day, I can use a normal mouse for about ten minutes or so, and then I have to stop if I want to avoid pain. I can use a touch-sensitive mouse for a couple of hours. I can use a normal mouse with the MouseTool much longer. I want people to use this if it helps them. I want to help people get back to doing their jobs and using their tools without fear of pain.”
No more clicking
- MouseTool clicks when you pause the mouse.
- SmartDrag allows you to drag without touching the buttons.
- You can set the time delay, and the number of pixels the mouse can drift without clicking.
With MouseTool, you can:
- Directly control mouse buttons with hotkeys.
- Begin and end a drag simply by pressing a hotkey.
- Send left-, right-, and double-clicks using hotkeys.
MouseTool always knows which window is under the mouse, and can send the click you want to each window automatically. You can tell MouseTool to:
- Double-click in File Open/File Close dialog boxes.
- Right-click in the System Tray.
- Double-click on the Desktop.
- Double-click in any window where you need to double-click on a long list of items.
As with any software product, there are bound to be questions. Jeff has addressed the majority of questions asked by user. You can access the MouseTool FAQ by clicking here.
How much does it cost?
MouseTool is donationware! Jeff Roush’s main goal for writing MouseTool was to help others and to allow him to be able to work with computers again. MouseTool has done both of these wonderfully. Jeff still has to limit his computer use, mostly because of the stress from typing and moving the mouse, but he’s still able to spend much more time on the computer than before. Although new projects have come up and he no longer has enough time to support MouseTool as well as he would like, he has changed the MouseTool license. Previously, a MouseTool license cost $19.95. Now, the donationware license means that you do not send the money to me; instead, send at least $20 to any charity of your choice.
Keep in mind that while Jeff will not be supporting MouseTool by email, it works perfectly as it is, and he hopes to eventually put a support forum on his site so that MouseTool users can help each other resolve questions. Jeff has also graciously offered to release the source code to programmers who would like to work on MouseTool. Users have already come up with a number of really good ideas for features that they and Jeff would like to see implemented. If you are a good programmer and would like to work on MouseTool, email Jeff Roush at [email protected].
Note: MouseTool requires Windows 95 or 98, or NT 4.0.
Note: A few users running Windows 95 may need to download and install Microsoft’s updates for several system files in order to run MouseTool. Most users will have no problem; if MouseTool doesn’t tell you that you need them, then you’re fine. Otherwise, the update files can be found on the Microsoft site, or on MouseTool’s System Update Files page.
- If you have an earlier version of MouseTool on your hard drive, uninstall it and make sure you also manually delete the MouseTool program file (see the FAQ page noted above for details).
- Download and run the setup file. It will, by default, put MouseTool in the directory C:\Program Files\MouseTool. You can change this if you want.
- Run the MouseTool program.
- Click the red button to start.
- Click the “?” button for help and instructions.
If you’ve been using the 20-day trial version, please download the new donationware version. This version will not expire after the trial period. If you have trouble installing the donationware version and your earlier version is asking for a registration code, you can use this code:
Name: MouseTool User
Download from MouseTool.com (Executable format 463k)
Download from our server (Executable format 463k).
Download in zip format.
MouseTool is a Copyrighted product of Jeff Roush and JR Software LLC.
This page updated: 01/16/2001