Recently my shoulder hurts due to frequently arm movement switching between keyboard and mouse. Then I start using trackpoint.

The problem is, while everyone saying the trackpoint is more accurate than touchpad, I find it very hard to accurately move the cursor using trackpoint. Large movements are ok, but when it comes to fine movements, such as click a close button or check a checkbox, it takes longer time.

Should I just practice more, or are there any good tips or tutorials around?

  • 4
    It takes some time getting used to, and I still hate that nub with a passion :) – KutscheraIT Dec 23 '10 at 0:14
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    All the practice in the world won't make trackpoints any more accurate - in fact the fine, rigid motor control it requires can contribute to RSI faster than a normal mouse! – SilverbackNet Dec 23 '10 at 0:27
  • Using a trackpoint as the pointing device reminds me of using a joystick instead of a mouse for my old Tandy; it worked, but was incredibly awkward and far too different and inefficient than using the mouse. I feel the about touchpads today. It’s odd that even though mice are one of the earliest pointing devices, they are still the most effective and the only thing that beats them are touchscreens. – Synetech Jul 20 '12 at 15:49
  • The trackpoint is a tool meant for typists from the old school who have no hope or awareness that there are inherently faster input devices. Even using a mouse they move it around slowly and with poor precision, so the difference between a mouse/trackball/touchpad and the trackpoint is negligible. For younger digital natives the trackpoint is obsolete. – Ryan May 2 '17 at 18:11

I would just recommend practice.If you are having difficulty pinpointing the mouse on small areas, I would suggest turning down the sensitivity.

  • lowering down the sensitivity did help. Still practicing... – AZ. Dec 27 '10 at 21:34

I found that using a concave rubber cap on the trackpoint helped a bit for accuracy.

There are two types: the standard flat or slightly convex caps, and concave caps which are available as original accessory. For me, concave caps provide a reduction of "free travel" because the cap is more shape-adapted to the fingertip. So after starting to move the finger, the delay before the mouse pointer starts to move will be shorter than with convex caps.

Concave trackpoint, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Davidbspalding

  • 1
    I highly recommend those as well! They are much more ergonomic than the convex ones. I tested all kinds and those I ended up with. Still happy 4 years later. – Rotareti Apr 8 '18 at 20:03

This is just my personal experience, but I would avoid using the trackpoint. I used the trackpoint equivalent on my HP laptop a lot when I first got it. I was hooked on Free Cell and spent a lot of time moving cards around. After some days or weeks, my right index finger started hurting a bit and feeling numb, so I started using my middle finger instead. Soon it had the same symptoms. I couldn't grip anything with my right hand. I stopped using the trackpoint and the all the symptoms gradually disappeared. I think I was lucky.

  • 1
    You realize that there is a sensitivity option so you can move it around without destroying your fingers? – AttackingHobo Dec 23 '10 at 5:21
  • @AttackingHobo: No, I didn't. Thanks. I no longer have that laptop, though. – garyjohn Dec 23 '10 at 6:12
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    First signs of RSI. Great that you dodged that one! – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Dec 23 '10 at 7:16
  • Thanks for you comment, but I think I'm in a different scenario. I use mouse a lot then my shoulder hurts. Hope my finger won't hurt by using trackpoint. Otherwise I think the only option left for me is "mind control"... – AZ. Dec 27 '10 at 21:34
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    I hope the trackpoint works out for you. If it doesn't, you might consider using your mouse with your left hand. The reach from the home row to a mouse on the left is less than to a mouse on the right. Some people at work who had symptoms of CTS started using a mouse with a pistol grip that keeps the wrist in a more relaxed position. My son has been using a tablet-and-pen pointing device and really likes it. Just some other options. – garyjohn Dec 28 '10 at 5:11

I just got myself a new Thinkpad. I'm doing my best to master the trackpoint. I do see the potential in it. My hands never have to move far away from the F and J home keys.

But there is a huge learning curve to it. I've followed the advice of turning down the sensitivity all the way to the bottom as well going into the UltraNav menu and setting it to Firm Touch. I'm seeing improvement now. But as I said the learning curve is damm steep.

I long to see the day when I can be as fast with the trackpoint as the mouse

  • You'll probably always be faster with a mouse, but being faster with a trackpoint than with a touchpad is fairly easy, actually – Joey Nov 11 '12 at 14:54

Trackpoint is great but it takes a while to get used to it. My trick was to start using it with my left hand (I am right handed).


As you say, the root of your problem is not the trackpoint but to avoid frequent arm movements when switching between keyboard and mouse. For that, you may want to use the ThinkPad's touchpad with your thumb.

In contrast to using it with your index finger, there is no need to reposition your hand for switching between keyboard and pointing device. It took me 2 weeks to get used to it though. If you also want to avoid repositioning the hand for scrolling ("mouse wheel" use), there are at least two options:

  • Switch to edge scrolling settings on the touchpad, so you can scroll with the thumb.
  • Configure the trackpoint to do scrolling when having the middle button pressed. This works on both Linux and on Windows. On Windows, it is in the mouse options' "UltraNav" tab after installing the Lenovo UltraNav driver.

Before trying the "thumb on touchpad" option, I also permanently used the trackpoint. I had it on high sensitivity, but even then it would not do big movements fast enough for my taste, leading to using "excessive force" and then to pain in my index finger's base joint after some weeks. That's when I switched to the touchpad for regular use.

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