The purpose of panning the sheet with three mouse buttons?

• Feb 20, 2021 - 20:14

Left mouse click and drag - pans the sheet.
The middle mouse click and drag - pans the sheet.
The right mouse click drag - pans the sheet and when released opens a context menu???!

I think something like that would make more sense and would be a better use of UI:
- Left mouse click and drag -> basic select.
- Second mouse click and drag -> panning
- The third mouse button click and drag could do something else without opening a context menu (which IHMO makes zero sense in that context).
What was the reasoning to have the same action with all the mouse buttons by default?

Actually all mouse buttons (it's a multiple button mouse) which in other application do completely other actions like back and forward also pan the sheet.

So I think it would make sense to assign different actions by default to each buttons.


Main reasoning is, the vast majority of people do not own three button mice or have any idea what touch gesture might produce an equivalent result, so assigning a unique functionality to it would be irrelevant to most users. That said, allowing assignment of that behavior for the benefit of those users who do have such devices or know the equivalent gestures does come up periodically. And the current behavior - making it pan - was implemented in direct response to one such request. See #312574: In edit mode, the middle mouse button should always pan, even when there is an item under the cursor.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

" the vast majority of people do not own three button mice or have any idea what touch gesture might produce an equivalent resul" - MuseScore collects telemetry data. That's an interesting fact to know that most MuseScore users don't own a three button mouse.
If middle click does the panning which is great and consistent with many CAD softwares then the left click could do what currently shift+click does (which is an industry standard in most software), and the right click shouldn't do panning and opening the context menu at the same time - that gives a janky feeling.

In reply to by roccoor

I don't know that telemetry data includes hardware configuration. But FWIW. I would be willing to bet most MuseScore users don't use mice, period - most people these days use laptops with touch-based pointing devices. Among the world of mouse users, I will bet two-button mice are most common by far, followed by one button (Mac), followed by three. Anyhow, do check out the thread I reference and give some thought to the issues raised and see if you can come up with a concrete proposal you think everyone concerned could buy into!

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Of course I read the thread. Thank you.
Basically the convention that Microsoft introduced to GUI and currently nearly all operating systems use are (I use Windows/Linux/MacOS all the time as this is my job:

  1. Left mouse button is for selecting, manipulating stuff
  2. Middle button/wheel is for zoom, panning, etc.
  3. Right button is for context related tasks

This is what the OS uses and also supported by nearly all modern software by all types, which doesn't mean there aren't exceptions. If a new users starts using MuseScore they'll expect such behavior. I am not implying that a change should be forced on all users but an option should be given. This is what a good design does.
I didn't want to go into that argument but for at least 20 years it is basically impossible to find a mouse that doesn't feature three buttons and a wheel with exception with the Magic mice and Mac users are like 7-8% of all PC users, which means that even less would use. Last time I had a two button mouse was on a IBM Aptiva in 1994.
That could be easily checked on

If you are an advanced user of a software. Nothing beats short-cuts speed but if you are a new or casual user, you'll expect to find to click on something.

I see that MuseScore has a new designer with Microsoft experience. I guess he'll know best.

In reply to by roccoor

I think what Marc is saying is that in all likelihood, most users are on a laptop. And as you know, laptops don't have a mouse, but rather a trackpad. New models don't have mouse buttons at all. Just a single surface.

I use a BT three button trackball mouse. In my experience, what the buttons do is inconsistent between applications. The wheel tends to scroll rather than zoom.

In reply to by roccoor

To be clear: I am not making my claims about what I think the middle button should do, for that minority of users who actually own a device with a middle button and know to use it. I am simply observing that the majority of users do not own such devices - we use laptops with some form of touch pad. I would also guess that among the subset who do use physical mice, most may be unaware there is a third button (eg, one hidden underneath the scroll wheel).

And most importantly, I am observing that within that subset of users who both own a three-button mouse and know to use that middle button, there seems to be active debate about what the expected behavior should be. I don't doubt that your expectations based on your personal experience have value and should be listened to. But I extend the exact same courtesy to others who have expressed different ideas about what the middle button should be. I express no opinion myself on what it should or shouldn't do. I do encourage those with a stake in this to engage in conversation about it and see if a consensus can be reached.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you for taking your time to answer me.
I got curious and downloaded Sibelius First to see how they are doing it and seems to be very similar to MuseScore. This is what I would call "industry standard".
Yet we have an Operating Systems conventions, which may be completely different on different operating systems. A well designed software should try to adapt itself to fit these conventions on each Operating System, then adapt to the "industry standard", etc.
My point is that if we have three buttons we could use them for three different actions. These are shortcuts, which can be put to good use and save time. I am perfectly aware that implementing such feature may be very difficult. I also do no expect that new workflow should be enforced to older users if a new UX is implemented.

Regarding how many people are using touch devices. I found this poll and it looks like from all PC users a quarter prefer to use touch devices.…
This may not representative for the most devout MuseScore pros.

In reply to by roccoor

Not that it really matters, but it's an interesting side discussion about touchpad versus mouse, so what the heck:

Thanks for the link to that survey! But, it's completely self-selecting and thus not representative of anything except "followers of that particular site who chose to register an opinion". Such polls almost always skew heavily toward the less popular choice, because it's those who are the minority and know they are in the minority who tend to be the more vocal about their preferences on almost any subject. Also, I note the survey talks about which one "prefers", not which one actually uses, and the sample size is pretty small.

So, while I'm surprised to see mouse win that poll, I don't think it really speaks to which is actually more commonly used in the world at large, or within the MuseScore community in particular (which tends to skew young, and that is another factor).

Still, now I'm really curious to see some good numbers!

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

MuseScore has telemetry, which I suppose could collect the data for the MuseScore users. I wouldn't call it representative to all users but to MuseScore's. Any sort of CAD, editing or image manipulation software is unusable with a track pad.
Drag&drop operations with a track pad are really difficult and many real world workflows require such. This also includes computer games and I can imagine that every second newly inspired young music enthusiast would like to get into making music because of the computer games.

Also the average track pad is actually a simulation of a three button mouse. In the past the operating system didn't even perceive it as anything but a mouse.

Also regarding the right mouse click I described previously:


This behavior doesn't feel like a feature it's a bug. It shouldn't pan and open a menu at the same time.

I think a useful modification, without breaking any compatibility or Workflows, would be that the middle button always pans without the possibility of selecting anything (even if the mouse pointer is over an object that would be dragged if you used the left button). At the moment the middle button and left button appear to operate identically, at least on Mac OS.

In reply to by shadowphiar

In my slightly older version of Sibelius:

Left button: Select and/or pan.
Wheel: Scroll, no zoom.
Right button: Context menu only.

Almost the same in Word. Except no pan.

It just seems to me that each software handles the mouse differently. With all the things that programs do differently anyway, it's hard for me to get to excited about the mouse. All I need is to be able to select and drag.

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