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Normally, I only need to scroll up and down, but when using software like trello, waffle.io, a text editor with large amounts of code on a single line, etc, I need to scroll horizontally.

Using the trackpad, this is easy, just two finger swipe and it will go in the direction desired.

But lately, I've been putting my laptop far away, using external mouse, display, and keyboard.

How can I scroll horizontally with the external mouse?

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If your keyboard is near your mouse, you can hold the shift key down while you operate the scroll wheel. The window should scroll left and right.

Of course, the left and right arrow keys will scroll the contents of a window left or right in short steps.

Some mouse devices have additional controls and a software driver designed for Macs (Logitech, for example). Those drivers often add a settings pane to the System Preferences application that allow you to assign functions / keystrokes to those buttons. For example, a mouse I have used had a scroll wheel that you could move left or right, activating a separate switch in each of those two directions. Using the settings pane, I was able to set the driver to scroll left or right by activating the left-right function of the wheel.

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    Shift key is what I'm ultimately going with. Awesome tip. – johncorser May 1 '15 at 14:15
  • This is working in SAP ERP too (under Windows 10), but doesn't work in Excel, Explorer or websites. – Jose Serodio May 21 '19 at 10:26
  • I've been programming professionally for 5 years and this is the first time I heard about this. You've changed my life. – Pepedou Jan 31 at 17:52
  • On Windows 10 Shift Scroll did not work, but Alt-Scroll did, your answer put my on the right track! – shelbypereira Jan 31 at 18:19
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If your mouse has a middle click (scroll wheel that you can click, for example), you should be able to click it to enable auto-scroll. On sites with horizontal scroll area, the auto-scroll should allow you to move the cursor left or right to scroll in that direction.

More info: The Many Things You Can Do with a Middle Click on Your Mouse

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    Unfortunately doesn't work on Trello or Waffle.io (using latest stable chrome and mac OSX). It also doesn't work in IntelliJ. – johncorser May 1 '15 at 2:36
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If you have an additional button on your external mouse you can try to use an application such as QuickSilver, BetterTouchTool or SteerMouse to bind such a button to imitate holding Shift key. That did the trick for me, though I need to hold that extra key on my mouse while scrolling with the mouse wheel in Trello I can do it with only one hand and this is pretty easy and is letting my mind be free of using two hands for such thing.

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