Making the mouse forward and back buttons work when using Synergy – finally!

Today I came across this post by Alex Kretzschmar which helped me solve a minor, but also very annoying, problem I had been experiencing for YEARS using the Synergy software:

Make your forward / back Mouse Buttons work with Synergy

Synergy is a cross-platform software package that allows you to share single mouse and keyboard over two or more computers on a network. This is a really helpful tool for me when working from home – I am able to use the keyboard and mouse connected to my personal machine (running Linux Mint) to control my work laptop (running Windows 10). I have two monitors on my desk, the personal machine is connected to the left monitor, and the work laptop is connected to the right monitor. With Synergy running on each, I’m able to move the mouse from my personal machine on the left monitor, over to the right and click/type on the laptop as if the keyboard and mouse were connected to it directly. It effectively creates a seamless dual monitor setup on two different computers, with out the need for a second keyboard and mouse or the use of additional hardware like a KVM switch to share peripherals between each computer.

I’ve been using Synergy for around a decade – about as long as I have been simultaneously using multiple computers and devices and working as a software engineer from home in some capacity. Everything works well out of the box with Synergy after going through some basic configuration, but the one minor annoyance was that the forward and back buttons on the side of my mouse never worked on the client (the computer which does not have the keyboard and mouse plugged into it.) After finding Alex’s post on this very topic, I immediately applied his fix. I first exported the configuration I had originally set up interactively with File > Save configuration as…

I then added the following lines to the “options” section of that file and saved it:

mousebutton(6) = keystroke(WWWBack)
mousebutton(7) = keystroke(WWWForward)

And then finally, I selected the “Use existing configuration option”, pointing to the file I had just exported and updated:

And that’s it! It’s a very small thing to fix, but feels really big as I was constantly attempting to use these buttons on the client computer with no effect.

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