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What Is the Function of a Trackball Mouse?

Updated April 17, 2017

Similar to that of a traditional computer mouse, the trackball mouse is an input device and functions in the same way, except that the trackball mouse remains stationery and does not move about on the operating surface. The trackball mouse configuration has a small solid ball and typically two buttons placed strategically to allow effective pointing ability without the need of excessive arm and wrist movement. When using the trackball, the design encourages a natural position for the hand. The two buttons are located where the user would rest his fingers.

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Individuals with a Disability

The trackball mouse is a perfect fit for computer users with a disability. The versatility of the trackball mouse allows those with limited movement an alternative to the typical off-the-shelf mouse. Users do not slide the mouse around a mouse pad; they only use their fingers to roll the ball to move the mouse pointer.


Using a trackball mouse is favoured among some gamers because it offers an increased accuracy rate and the agility needed for certain types of video games such as first-person shooter (FPS), rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), and Real-time strategy (RTS). Although, gamers can be deterred by the time it takes to hone the skill needed to use these devices, they can successfully and proficiently throw their cursors rapidly across the screen, by spinning the trackball in a much faster movement than can be accomplished with using the traditional mouse.

Programmable Resources

A trackball mouse is quite versatile and proves to be a resourceful input tool, especially when you can program repetitive movements, such as those used in programs for graphic design and computer-aided design. Other programs that use repetitive and strategic manoeuvres that benefit from trackballs are related to the military.

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About the Author

Ginny Putscher

Ginny Putscher, a 25-year information technology veteran, has worked with both private industry and federal government. Putscher’s experiences included traveling and working in many foreign countries, such as Egypt, El Salvador, Kenya, Tanzania and Senegal. She received her B.A. in database development from Strayer University. Her first online writing experience was with eHow then with Examiner.com.

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