OSX has this great feature where if you hold down SHIFT at the same time as using your mouse scroll wheel, it’ll scroll horizontally instead of vertically. If you don’t have a laptop, this is an immensely useful trick. Sadly, I couldn’t find any way to get this to happen on linux.

But now, thanks to some direction from stackoverflow, I finally figured out how to do it myself. The world of X11 input hackery is somewhat twisted and full of projects either abandoned or in disrepair, but I finally stumbled across the right set of tools.

If you’d like to get this (rather excellent) feature in linux, you will need the following:

  • Install the packages xbindkeys and xautomation: sudo apt-get install xbindkeys xautomation

  • Save the following file as ~/.xbindkeysrc.scm :

      ; bind shift + vertical scroll to horizontal scroll events
      (xbindkey '(shift "b:4") "xte 'mouseclick 6'")
      (xbindkey '(shift "b:5") "xte 'mouseclick 7'")
  • Use your favourite mechanism to ensure that the xbindkeys command is run at the beginning of your xsession (I added it to ubuntu’s “startup items” preference, but you can surely use init.d if you’re comfortable with that).