Do We Need Mousepads Anymore?

mouse pad

Do you still use a mouse pad? I haven’t used one in years but I don’t use a mouse much either. I like the trackpad on my Chromebook just fine.

Now that most of us use an optical mouse that works on almost any surface, I figured we didn’t need mouse pads anymore but a recent article by Michael Crider on made me realize that there are actually some benefits to using them.  I thought you would like to know.

Remember the old ball-driven mouse?  Mouse pads provided a smooth and predictable tracking area, and helped to keep the tracking ball free of dirt.  Do you remember having to open them up to clean the tracking ball with alcohol?  (I thought it was kind of fun and used to do it for people at my office.)

At the turn of this century, Microsoft and Logitech introduced the optical mouse, which has a tiny, low-powered optical sensor and LED (light emitting diode) instead of a mechanical roller ball.  These offer consistent tracking on almost any surface (as long as it isn’t reflective or transparent, like glass) and eliminate the buildup of oil and debris on a tracking ball.

A few years later, the laser-equipped mouse came on the scene and it would track on any surface. Thus, mouse pads began to fall out of fashion.

However, mouse pads still serve several important functions. First, they project the surface of your desk at your usual mousing spot.  The repeated motions of the rubber or plastic feet of your mouse against the surface of your desk will wear away the finish on most pressed wood, particle board, leather, and even polished hardwood if it’s not well maintained.

And even though your mouse’s tracking function no longer picks up dirt and skin oil from your desk, the feet of your mouse do.  A mouse pad won’t completely alleviate this, but it will keep those little feet fresh longer. Crider says you can even buy replacement pads to stick on the feet of your mouse if they are so worn that the plastic body is dragging.

So, do you need a mouse pad for your desk? Technically, no. But you should probably use one if you’re mousing in the same place for any extended amount of time. Both your desk and your mouse will thank you.

But the most important reason to use a mouse pad is that the pictures on them are just so darn cute.

For the complete article and some great illustrations, go to

Share this with the folks you care about and save their desks and mice too.



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