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I have managed to install xbindkeys on my lubuntu 16.04 box, which I think is the correct tool for me to use to map a simultaneous left and right mouse button click to emulate a middle mouse click.

I originally thought I should do this using the openbox configuration file (I am using lxde with openbox) but couldn't find a way of doing it.

Can I do this with xbindkeys? If so how? I can't get my head around how the system works as I am totally unfamiliar with it.

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No, xbindkeys can't detect simultaneous button presses. But you don't need that to emulate a middle click on left+right click: it's a built-in feature.

You can turn it on with the xinput program. See Make mouse movements scroll when the middle button is held down for a tutorial. In a nutshell:

  • Run xinput list to list available input devices. Locate the name of your mouse device; I'll use My Mouse Device in my answer.
  • Run xinput list-props 'My Mouse Device' to list the available properties. One of them should be Evdev Middle Button Emulation.
  • Run xinput set-prop 'My Mouse Device' 'Evdev Middle Button Emulation' 1

Once you have the command right, add it to your autostart list, i.e. create a .desktop file in ~/.config/autostart. See Running program on startup (Fedora 22/ 2015) for an example.

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