In Windows, I'm used to clicking the center button and it offering a "fast scroll" option up or down. How can I get this behavior on Linux? It currently seems to use the back button upon center click instead.
I use Gnome under CentOS.
This Windows feature has never really made its way into the Unix world. In the Unix world, the primary purpose of the middle mouse button is to paste the clipboard content (or more precisely, text selected with the mouse, which is auto-copied). A couple of cross-platform applications such as Firefox and Chrome that support Linux-style middle mouse button under Windows and vice versa, but other than that most applications don't support this kind of fine-grained scrolling.
Nonetheless, you can get fairly close at the system level. It is possible to set up a mouse button such that when it is pressed, mouse movements are transformed into wheel events. This is the same feature that you're used to, but you're likely to find the motion choppy, because applications receive wheel events, which are typically interpreted as scrolling by one whole line or column.
To play with this configuration, use the xinput program (I don't know if there's a GUI frontend for it). First, run the following command to see the name of your pointing device:
For example, in the output above, the pointer device is
The set of properties you're looking for are the “Evdev Wheel Emulation” ones. With the following settings, when the middle mouse button (button 2) is pressed, moving the mouse sends wheel events (4=up, 5=down, 6=left, 7=right).
You may want to tweak other parameters (inertia, timeout).
You can put these commands in a script. Add
If you have root access and you want to make the change for all users (acceptable on a home machine), it's simpler to do it via the X.org server configuration file. As root, create a file called
Turns out this can be done via Firefox preferences.