Mousing Surface Theory


I have a cheap-o Dell optical mouse that came with my system; it works ok, but not with the mousepad that came with. What works best? A piece of brown cardboard (like the ones that are at the end of an 8X11 pad of notepaper)! Good size, not too think, good traction, and my pointer doesn’t jump at all like it does with the pad or the desk. This is one case where lo-tech works best (at least for me).


I have had a Func F30 mousepad for years now, It’s a pretty great mousing surface and large area taboot around 11x17.


I’m a big fan of the SteelSeries QcK+, especially since I’m a laptop user and you can just roll it up and take it with you.


I have created a mobile mouse pad for myself. I found an ultra thin laser mousepad. I bought a piece of finished plywood (3/8 inch thick) and cut it to a shape just larger than the pad and rounded the corners and smoothed the edges. The pad just sticks to the surface of the wood (after smoothing the surface by sanding) and I can take it anywhere when I use my laptop. When using it at a desk, it is no thicker than the traditional foam backed mousepad. I can also slip it into my backpack with my laptop without taking up too much space or adding too much weight.


I have a RatPadz GS and an old-skool original RatPad (now brought back as the XT). I bought the original when it first came out…maybe around 2000? And it still works like a champ. Picked up the GS for my laptop a few years ago and it is still going strong as well. No tracking issues here, mouse moves almost effortlessly over the surface and when it gets dirty I just throw it in the dishwasher.


I just use the World’s Cheapest Optical Mousepad.

Download the PDF, print, and tape it to your desk.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does the mousepad contain subliminal messages?
A: No.


Now that we’ve established the need for a mousing surface

I don’t believe you have. I’ve used no mousepad for about 6 years, spend serious amounts of time using my computer (playing games [pixel-sniping] and otherwise), on an uneven surface (it’s a home-made wooden desk,but a random dispersion of the wooden fibres were sanded off. These roughly centimetre-long, millimetre wide and deep ridges are not filled with the laminate), have no mark and do not impede my mouse. One of five mouse feet has come off. There are usually a few cat hairs trapped in my optical sensor.

We have a ‘serious’ mousepad on the other computer. I’ve experimented with it and found no difference.

It’s my hope that after reading this, you’ll be able to tell a well-designed, quality mousing surface from the cheap, floppy things that are mousepads in name only.

You haven’t really said anything about the differences - apart from implying that the cheap and floppy ones are worthless. If you spend enough, it must be good? If it’s rigid, that’s quality?


In my workplace I have a large array of different coloured cardboard sheets at my disposal. After some experimentation I found that a piece of red cardboard seems to work well (for my optical mouse), and I have been using that as my mousepad for many months. The best bit is that when it gets tatty or marked, I can simply replace it with another sheet. Not a bad price either at around 2.00 for 250 sheets/mats.

Also, when you get bored you can make half decent origami with it.


I still think that mousepad are useless (–not a troll), but I liked the idea of a persian rug mousepad:


I use the Wow!Pad. Cheap and replaceable, which is good, because it’s also kinda flimsy and bendable.

Actually, I’m not really vouching for it, I think I need something new.

This was one of my favorite blogs, then you whipped out Brazil, and now this IS my favorite blog.


I have a couple of unique mousepad points to add.

A few years back my right hand developed a quarter-sized numb spot at the lower center of the palm. When it didn’t go away, I went to see a specialist. They x-rayed my wrist, didn’t see anything obvious. The Dr asked me if there was anything that pressed on my right wrist. After thinking, I realized that my mouse pad’s wrist pad did exactly that. He told me to stop using it. Within two days after stopping, the numbness was gone.

At that point I stopped using a mouse pad altogether at home. After several months, I noticed that the mouse’s laser was bleaching the finish of my desk quite badly. So, I now use a very thin, cheap mouse pad just to preserve the finish of my desk. Otherwise, the desk surface itself was superior and did not limit my movment like the mouse pad does when you go off the edge.


I thought I was the only one who oiled his mouse feet! Ah, I feel normal again! P.S. - sewing machine oil works the best… it’s really ‘light’ and not greasy. If you have a cheap desk like I do, feel free to rub it in to the wood directly; you’ll be AMAZED at how your mouse glides. Also, it usually lasts for about 6 months.

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When I’m somewhere else on the laptop, I find a sheet of colored paper does the trick, no reflectivity and the optical mouse picks up the hue better then white to track with.


I love my Ripper XXL. It is big enough to cover most of my desk.


I use a trackball at the office. I do have a mouse connected for the occasions when a co-worker needs to use my machine… but the desk is my mousing surface.

At home, on the other hand, I have an OLD Everglide pad. They no longer offer the pad I have.

I also have a gel wrist rest that came free with an old pad. It’s lasted for years and is very comfortable. It was just some off-brand package I picked up at a gaming store on sale.

Sadly, I may need to look into a new mousing surface soon. My old Everglide pad, which is a large slab of textured plastic, is being worn smooth to the point where the mouse sometimes misses movement.


My only requirement is that my mouse surface be low enough. It hurts my wrist to reach up to the mouse, so I use an extra-large keyboard tray and set the height so it’s right on top of my legs. The surface is sort of pebbly so I use a smooth mouse pad, but other than that I have no preference.


For a long time, I used a Mighty Mouse with a random Dell mousepad.

It would occasionally randomly jump to the upper-right corner of the screen, and other people online also reported this. I suspected the strange hexagonal pattern on the pad was, in some obscure condition, confusing the heck out of the mouse.

So I realized I had an old Sun optical mouse pad, from the days when optical mice needed a special magical pad to work, and put that under the mouse instead.

Now it works perfectly at all times. Plus the old Sun pads are super-smooth and really cool lookin’.

(Some people, like my coworkers, swear by gel wristpads. I swear at them.)


I’ve been reading this blog for a while and i’m happy to see i’m not the only one with a Jerker desk :wink: And it’s true that the wood starts having permanent glitches after a few weeks mousing on it.

Unfortunately, mousepads are ofter really ugly!


The best mousemat is…

…a white A4 envelope, placed in “portait” arrangement.

I wedge the top edge under my second monitor stand (but if you can’t do that, tape the edge down carefully). It seems to give a really nice glide to the mouse, doesn’t have raised edges to keep brushing your wrist on, and at 10p a pop, is disposable, and so always clean.


The SURFACE1030 is the best thing to ever happen to me. I’ve had it for 6 years now.