Updated · Feb 02, 2023
If you use a mouse with your computer, chances are you’ve seen the term DPI thrown around.
But did ever stop to think about what it actually is and how it affects your performance?
In this article, we are going to look at:
- how to change your mouse DPI
- what DPI actually is
- what the ideal DPI is for better productivity and immaculate gaming skills
Because believe it or not, this is one of the most important settings for a mouse.
So let’s dive in and see exactly how to tweak those settings, both on Windows and macOS.
What is DPI on a Mouse?
First things first.
DPI stands for Dots Per Inch.
It’s a standard of measurement referring to how fast your mouse cursor moves across the screen. The dots in this instance refer to the pixels on your monitor. If you have a DPI of 1,000, your cursor will move 1,000 pixels for every inch your mouse moves.
The higher your DPI value is, the faster your cursor moves.
Essentially, it is how sensitive your mouse cursor is. If you feel like your cursor moves too quickly and you’re having trouble using it, dial it down. Or vice versa.
How to Change Mouse DPI?
So let’s say you want to tweak your mouse sensitivity a bit. How would you go about this?
There are several ways. Let’s go over them one by one.
Most modern computer mice actually have a dedicated button that changes their DPI on the fly. If you own a mouse from a reputable gaming brand like Razer, you probably have one.
How can you tell if your mouse has a DPI button?
The DPI button on a mouse is usually located right in the center of the device, below the scroll wheel. Sometimes, it comes with colored lights that change when you press it. This indicates the different levels of cursor speed.
How does it work?
Well, it’s dead simple.
Each mouse with a DPI button usually has around three or four sensitivity settings. By pressing the button, you can navigate between them. It’s a convenient solution for when you need to quickly change your DPI without going into the system settings.
Don’t have a DPI mouse button?
Or maybe you want to tune your mouse’s sensitivity more precisely?
In that case, your mouse DPI settings can be changed from your computer’s system configurations. The way this works varies depending on your operating system.
On Windows PCs, you can change your mouse’s DPI from Control Panel. But on Windows 10, the process is even simpler.
Here is how to change your mouse DPI on Windows 10 and above:
- Open the Start menu and type in mouse
- Click the option Mouse settings
- Adjust your mouse DPI via the slider below the Cursor speed
If you are using an older version of Windows, however, you will have to do it via Control Panel. Here is how to do that:
- Open Control Panel
- Click Hardware and Sound and then Mouse
- Click on Pointer options
- You can adjust your DPI below Select a pointer speed
Accessing your mouse’s settings on Mac is pretty simple. Follow the steps below:
- Click the Apple logo in the top left corner and select System preferences
- Select Mouse
- Adjust your sensitivity via the Tracking speed slider
Here, you can also see your mouse’s battery level, as well as further tweak your mouse’s functionality.
Chromebooks work on a special Linux-based operating system called ChromeOS. It works a bit differently from Windows or macOS, but don’t worry. Changing your mouse speed is still easy.
- Click on the clock in the bottom right corner
- Select the cogwheel Settings icon
- In the Settings menu, select Device on the left-hand side of the screen
- Choose Mouse
- Adjust mouse sensitivity by changing the slider on Mouse speed
Game or Application Settings
If you’re playing a video game, most of them have mouse sensitivity options in their settings menu. The location of this setting is unique for each game. But most of them have them under Controls.
One other thing. Changing your mouse sensitivity in a video game applies only to that application. Once you close the program, your mouse DPI will be back to what it was before.
This is more of a thing with special gaming models or certain ergonomic mice.
Most mice don’t need drivers to work.
But if you’re using a special gaming mouse with tons of LED lights or buttons, that’s a different story. Some of them come with proprietary drivers which install special software through which you can tweak your settings.
And that includes, you guessed it — mouse DPI settings.
Each software is a little bit different. But they’re simple enough so that you will likely find the sensitivity setting right away.
To see if your mouse has a special driver like this, simply google your device model. The manufacturer’s website should have a page for downloading device drivers.
How to Check Mouse DPI?
Okay, now you know how to change your mouse DPI.
But how do you figure out what that value actually is? Whenever DPI is concerned, you will see values like 200 or 1,000. But what do they really mean?
There are several ways to measure your mouse’s current DPI. Here are the simplest ones:
There are a couple of online mouse DPI checker tools, the most popular of which is DPI Analyzer.
Using it is simple.
First, you will need a way to measure the distance your mouse travels. So grab either a ruler or a piece of paper and measure whatever distance you want. Say, one inch. This will be your target distance.
In case you’re wondering, yes, centimeters are also supported.
Then you input one inch (or whichever other value you picked) in the Target distance field. Finally, you move your mouse along the ruler on the screen. When your mouse has traveled the exact distance as your target distance value, that’s when you’ll see your current DPI.
That’s right. There’s actually an easy way to measure the DPI on a mouse using nothing but Microsoft Paint.
Here is how.
Open Microsoft Paint and select the line tool. Now, the idea is to draw a straight horizontal line while moving your mouse exactly one inch.
You can draw a straight line by holding down the Shift key as you’re drawing.
When you’ve moved your mouse exactly one inch, release the left mouse button. You should see the line you just drew on your screen.
Now look at the status bar at the bottom. The second section shows you how many pixels the line is in length and height.
In my instance, that value was 405 x 1. The first number is your DPI. For me, that’s 405.
Best DPI for Gaming
What is considered good DPI for gaming?
The answer is: whatever you’re comfortable with.
Many professional players use very high values of sensitivity, often above 1,000. This allows them to make very fast movements with the mouse more easily. Of course, this also means their mouse movements have to be extremely accurate.
If you’re playing a video game that requires a high degree of precision, consider lowering your DPI. This will allow you to make very fine movements with the mouse which wouldn’t be easy otherwise.
Why Change Your Mouse DPI?
So, why would you want to change your mouse sensitivity? Here are a few reasons:
- Comfort - higher or lower DPI can take a long time to get used to
- Productivity - appropriate mouse movements can let you take more actions in a shorter time
- Desk space - higher DPI lets you cover more ground with your cursor if you’re limited on space for your mouse
- Precision - lower DPI means you can be more precise when clicking buttons
- Gaming performance - optimized mouse sensitivity lets you execute more skilled plays efficiently
Tips to Improve Mouse Performance
Let me digress from the topic of DPI adjustment for a moment.
The mouse is one of the most important peripheral devices of a computer. Which is why you need to keep it in good shape to make sure it lasts. There is a lot that goes into device maintenance, but here are the best ways of increasing your mouse’s longevity:
Perform Regular Cleanups
If you use your mouse a lot, eventually its components will get clogged up with dust and other debris. Regular wear and tear will also do some components in.
So what can you do?
Take a compressed air duster and regularly blow it into the openings near the buttons. The scroll wheel is very susceptible to dust and dirt, which can even make it non-functional. But as long as you do regular cleanups, your mouse should be all good.
Not all mice have drivers. They just don’t need them.
But some high-tier gaming mice do.
These drivers let you tweak mouse settings as well as boost your device’s performance with all kinds of extra features. So if you have one of these mice that come with proprietary software, make sure to update it regularly.
If you skip on updates, some of your mouse’s features may stop working.
This only applies to wireless mice.
Bluetooth mice operate on batteries that need to be recharged. That’s no secret.
But the way you recharge them directly affects how long they last.
Every device which works on batteries will have its battery capacity shrink over time. There are some ways you can slow that process down.
First of all, switch off your mouse when you’re done using it. You can do that by flipping the small switch which is most often situated underneath the device.
Also, use your mouse near your computer. Bluetooth is not meant to be used over long distances. Doing so will drain your battery life faster.
Doing all these things will prolong battery life and make the mouse last longer.
What is DPI on a mouse?
Simply put, it is Dots Per Inch. In other words, how many pixels your cursor travels for each inch you move your mouse. Higher DPI values mean higher sensitivity and a faster cursor. Lower DPI values mean you’ll have to drag your mouse more.
There are many ways to change your DPI.
Whether it’s via a dedicated DPI button some mice have, or by going into your operating system’s settings. How much you tweak it is mostly dependent on your own personal level of comfort.
And if you’re a dedicated video game player, a higher mouse DPI is key to a killer performance.
How can I see my mouse DPI?
You can use tools like DPI Analyzer to calculate your mouse’s current DPI. Microsoft Paint can also act as a mouse DPI checker. You can do that by drawing a straight horizontal line and checking how many pixels you draw for every inch.
Is higher DPI better?
Not necessarily. Higher DPI means your mouse cursor is more sensitive to movements. It may move way faster than what you might be comfortable with. If you’re struggling with using your PC with a high DPI, you may want to dial it down.
Is high DPI bad for FPS?
Many pro esports players use very high DPI. This allows them to turn around very quickly and snag headshots instantly. Of course, a lot of it comes down to skill and accuracy. Check our article to see how to change your mouse DPI to a level that suits you best.
My fascination with technology began from quite an early age thanks to computers and video games. Nowadays, I love anything related to music production and astronomy. Coincidentally (or is it?), both of those have a great deal to do with tech. Honestly, most of the stuff that can be accomplished with modern electronics kind of seems like magic to me. This is why I feel this strong need to constantly learn more about it and talk about it, almost to the detriment of others.
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Updated · Feb 01, 2023