Apple’s late to one party a recent Macworld Online readership survey shows.

Apple recently released its multi-buttoned Mighty Mouse, answering years of user demands for such functionality. So Macworld Online asked readers: “How many buttons do you actually use on your mouse?”.

The findings - which saw 3,180 votes - are no great surprise - 79 per cent use mice equipped with multiple buttons, or at least a scroll wheel. And a substantial 37 per cent of readers who voted use a two-buttoned scrolling mouse.

About time

Apple critics have said for years that, for many, the necessity to depress the ‘Control’ key to access things like contextual menus has been a tedious chore, particularly when using applications that rely on contextual menus, such as image, audio and video-editing applications, including Apple’s home-made software products. This has driven many Mac users to source third-party ‘alternative mice’.

One reader wrote: “I use the superb Logitech MX 1000 Laser optical mouse. It's very sensitive, positioning is accurate to a thousandth, and it has 13 buttons. OK, overkill perhaps, but they are mostly programmable (within limits). I actually only use about five of the buttons regularly, but love its best feature: a "leaning" scroll wheel. It looks and acts just like an ordinary scroll wheel - with one exception: the top of the wheel can be pushed manually to left or to right in order to scroll the Web page (or whatever page you are viewing).”

Diversity and difference

Another observed: “I'm currently using two Logitech mice at work and at home. Both are 2 button with scroll wheel which is perfect for my small hands. When I looked at a replacement mouse for my one-buttoned Apple Pro I discovered that a lot of the mice were simply too big! Really awkward buttons for small-fingered people like me so I had to get the smallest 2 button desktop mouse available.”

Other readers have turned to Microsoft for their mice.

Many choose to use a graphics tablet. Reasons for this include better, wider controls. These solutions also help people suffering from Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).

“Every single mouse I've used has resulted in sharp, agonising shooting pains flying up my arms and sometimes down my back - oh, the fun of RSI. So I now use a tablet, and, generally speaking at least, the pain is kept at bay.”

But Technology companies have a responsibility to consider that not everybody is equal, not everyone needs multiple buttons. One reader wrote: “I have no first and middle fingers on my right hand due to an accident, the single-button mouse is excellent in my situation as I can click anywhere on the mouse body, generally on the right hand side.”

Warm welcome for Mighty Mouse

Most voters welcomed the new mouse:

“Apple has very cunningly devised a mouse that appears to be a one-button mouse to some users and a multi-button mouse to others”.

“I have always used a two-button mouse or graphics tablet as I use Photoshop a lot. But I'm so glad of the Mighty Mouse instead of the Microsoft two-button that I have used for a long time.”

Results in full follow:

Single-button mouse users: 583, 21 per cent.
Single-button mouse with scroll wheel: 151, 5 per cent.
Two-button mouse: 30, 1 per cent.
Two-button mouse with scroll wheel: 1,035, 37 per cent.
Three-button mouse with scroll wheel: 201, 7 per cent.
Four-button mouse with scroll wheel: 275, 10 per cent.
More than four buttons: 146, 5 per cent.
A tablet: 56, 2 per cent.
Trackball: 65, 2 per cent.
Notebook trackpad: 258, 9 per cent.