How to Change Mouse Primary Button in Ubuntu Linux

This post describes steps one can take to change or switch the mouse primary button in Ubuntu Linux.

By default, Ubuntu Linux uses the left mouse button as its primary button for selecting, dragging, clicking and performing normal mouse operations.

The primary mouse button sits on the left-hand side of the mouse, for the benefit of right-handed users. Left-handed users can usually reverse this position on Ubuntu Linux.

When you change the button position in Ubuntu Linux, all normal mouse operations like selecting, clicking, dragging are done by the right mouse button. The left button will be used to invoke a contextual menu in window interface.

Users who are left-handed may want to use the right mouse button for normal operations, and the left for contextual menu. For those users, the steps below show them how to do it in Ubuntu Linux

How to switch the mouse primary button in Ubuntu Linux

As mentioned above, you can swap the behavior of the left and right buttons on your mouse or touchpad to make it more comfortable for left-handed use.

Below is how to do it.

Ubuntu Linux has a centralized location for majority of its settings. From system configurations to creating new users and updating, all can be done from the System Settings panel.

Alternatively, click on the System menu at the top-right corner of the top bar on your desktop.

On the System menu, select Settings as highlighted below.

In the Settings app, click on Mouse & Touchpad tile to open the panel.

In the System Settings -> Mouse & Touchpad panel, under General, click to switch Primary button to Right or Left.

This setting will affect both your mouse and touchpad, as well as any other pointing device.

That should do it! You can now close the Settings app.


This post showed you how to change or switch the mouse primary button role in Ubuntu Linux. If you find any error above or have something to add, please use the comment form below.