Do you still use a mouse pad?

It's a well-used and well-loved mouse pad with a comfy wrist-rest and I can't bring myself to give it up.

Even though my title here at is Tech Editor, I sometimes get these brutal reminders that my computing habits have not kept pace with the times.

Mostly it comes in the form of thinly-veiled contempt: “You still use an email client? Why not just use Gmail?” or “Of course I upload all of my photos to Facebook… why? Where do you put yours? … Flickr???”

My usual response is to sigh and hang my head a little lower while I perform a gesture with my arms that is half way between an admission of guilt and a defensive “How was I supposed to know?”

Today however, I was shocked to realize – as I wandered from one end of our offices to the other – that very few of my colleagues use mouse pads.

“Well, DUH” you might be thinking. Or, as I thought to myself, “Really? How is that possible? Can they really be satisfied using their regular working surface?”

I have always thought of a mouse pad as an essential item for comfy computing. Mind you, that’s an attitude I developed over 20 years ago when I rolled the mouse of my Macintosh II for the first time. You know, back when all mice used little balls and rollers that would need to be cleaned weekly with alcohol and Q-Tips. Back then, a mouse pad was the only way to ensure that the ball would have enough grip to roll reliably. Optical mice, which have all but forced their ball-encumbered brethren into extinction, aren’t nearly as fussy about what kind of surface you plant them on, so long as there is an absence of colour uniformity (optical mice need to be able to “see” where they are by comparing their current position to their prior positions – a calculation they can’t perform if the two positions look visibly identical).

And even though I haven’t used a ball-mouse in over 5 years, I can’t bring myself to part with my mouse pad (see above).

But my curiosity had been piqued so naturally it was time to conduct a scientific survey. Out went the poll to my co-workers (yes, via an email client): “Do you use a mouse pad?”

The verdict: Out of 24 respondents, only 6 people said yes. Or in other words, roughly 76% are not mouse pad users. Yup, once again, I seem to have fallen behind.

But is our little office microcosm representative of the internet world at large?

Glad you asked! Take our poll below to see which camp you belong to. Are you a devil-may-care pad-less mouser? Or a fastidious type who likes a clearly defined area for your cursor clicking?

Do you use a mouse pad?survey software



  1. Lee Mathews

    I don’t use a mouse *pad*, but a Razer *mat*.

    Anyone who cares about precision — like gamers or digital artists — is nuts to work without one.


  2. Rhonda Callow

    I can’t remember how long it’s been since I last used a mouse pad. Mind you, I could maybe use one: I have an upside-down L-shaped desk and a cordless mouse – I often find myself unknowingly running out of desk space, which results in the tailless rodent taking a dive head first onto the floor. Given the slightly higher placement a mouse pad has on a desk, it would, perhaps, give me a subtle warning before this could happen. :-p


  3. Talon

    After mant years of using a moose pad, I upgraded to a mouse rug. A miniture oriental rug for my optical mouse. It’s more classy, wonderfully comfortable on the hand and provides a great surface for my optical mouse to track on.


  4. SWB

    I work in an office. Most desks are too shiny for an optical mouse to work properly. So yes, everyone in our office uses a mouse pad. At home, however, with my wireless mighty mouse for my iMac, I do not use a mouse pad. I usually just use the arm of my lazyboy. :)


  5. Jack

    Are you crazy??? Upgrade your mouse (to logitech darkfield laser). Mine will work on any surface even glass. Get up to the times!


  6. Nightrider

    Mouse pad? It’s must. Call me what you like –
    I use a blue tooth mouse but I am on my recliner – and my trusty laptop –
    without the pad, the mouse will run all over the place. You may ask – what about the touch pad? It is supposed to be multi-gesture yada, yada….. but somehow they have not perfected that technology yet. It is not so responsive as an external mouse. So, I disabled it.


    • Katie

      Nightrider….Yep, I have this same problem and so glad someone said it first. I thought it was only me. Touch pad needs to be perfected. I use my trustworthy mouse and a pad most times. Where do you buy a
      mlogitech darkfield lasery?


  7. Keith Barrie

    I use a track ball and can’t understand why everyone doesn’t. I was told only fishermen and myself use them. Fishermen because of the roll of the boat. Me because it is faster and I don’t have to move my mouse all over the desk and off at times!


    • very senior

      I too use a track ball and my wrist just loves it. Haven’t used a mouse for years either and cannot understand why everyone doesn’t use the trackball as well. I love not having to move the trackball and if I help anyone with a computer that just has a mouse it feels really old and useless as I always run out of space. Loooooove my trackball !


  8. Peter

    I use a trackball as well…..They are the most precise pointing device for cad, graphics and even office document. You do not run out of room as you do with a mouse and generally track balls offer dynamic pointer speeds which most mice do not. They are easy to get use to and a lot easier on wrists then mice are.


  9. Elizabeth

    I don’t use a mouse pad but keep my mouse on a piece of paper that I write notes on. Then when too scribbled looking, I trash it.


  10. Byrocat

    Haven’t used a trackball in ages, almost as long as I haven’t used a joystick.

    My STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT pad is getting a bit tatty, but is ideal because my desktop (hand-made using furniture grade plywood and varathane) is unusable for optical mice (must be the varathane being detected by the laser.)

    Looks like it’s time to dig out some Avro Arrow pcitures and get a new one made up….. better make it two, one for work.


  11. Darlene

    My home office desk has a fitted piece of glass on top of the wood surface to protect it and it looks beautiful. Previously, I wore out the finish of the wood using the mouse….thus the reason for the glass surface now. However, the mouse won’t work on glass and therefore I use a mouse pad.


  12. Realist

    I use a air mouse sometimes, wireless pen mouse often and a real mouse with mouse pad about half the time.


  13. william clegg

    i tried a couple of different optical mice but found my hand broke out in a painful rash both times and disappeared when i stopped using the optical mouse.


    • Rose

      I’m just discovering a similar problem (rash on my mouse hand) with my optical mouse that I have been using for years. Has anyone experienced this and come up with a solution?


  14. Matthew

    Mousepad? Mice? So last century.

    I used a Kensington Turbo Mouse track ball since the late 80’s, and last week “upgraded” to an Apple track pad with my new iMac.

    I’m sure I have a mouse somewhere.


  15. Alain

    I too have been using a trackball for years. They are faster, more precise, easier on the arm and wrist,more reliable and you don’t have to chase them all over the desk. You seldom see anything else in power station or refinery control rooms. Folks use mice because they do not like change, much the same reason they continue to use MicroSoft products. Nostalgia sells a lot of inferior products. (-:


  16. Thomas

    I still use a mouse pad. I “try” to keep my desk looking its best and use furniture polish to give it a nice shine and lemony scent, this however makes the desk to shiny for an optical mouse to work properly.


  17. Darlene

    I use a wireless optical mouse and a mouse pad because the mouse doesn’t like my desk. I do use a Wacom tablet at times as well. But reading all the comments here, I may go out and check the trackballs. I am going to be getting into more graphics when I start my course in a month or so, and would love something that will not cause my arm, wrist and hand to be sore.


  18. me

    i miss the trackball that my old panasonic laptop had, it was wonderful, just clean it once every week or two. i would like to see the trackball brought back as an option on laptops. it was good for gaming. one can always wish.