How The Logitech MX Anywhere 2 Mouse Can Speed Up Your Workflow

How The Logitech MX Anywhere 2 Mouse Can Speed Up Your Workflow

As photographers in a digital era, we all spend a lot more time in front of a computer than we would like to admit to. When a single one-hour photoshoot can lead to multiple hours in front of a computer, we start looking for ways to minimize that time. There are tons of options out there that can help you out too, from Bluetooth controllers to pens and tablets, but what you really need may just be a simple mouse upgrade.

When I first started taking my editing seriously, I went out and bought a pen and tablet because that's what I saw recommended throughout the internet. Now don't get me wrong, a pen and tablet can be a very useful thing, but when it came to culling and editing in Lightroom, it just didn't seem to help all that much. But after buying a new Surface Pro 4 for a more mobile editing solution, I ended up buying a new Logitech MX Anywhere 2 mouse with some very useful features.

Programmable Buttons

Like most mice, the MX Anywhere 2 has left and right-click buttons and a scrolling wheel. In addition to these, there are five other buttons. These buttons come preprogrammed for basic computer tasks such as going forward and back on a webpage and opening a link in a new tab. But the standout feature here is the ability to program these buttons to perform any type of keyboard shortcut.

In order to change what a button does, you simply use the free Logitech Options software. From within this, you have the option to select your desired button and simply input the keystroke you want it to perform. It’s so easy in fact that I will set the buttons to do one set of tasks while culling, then edit the keystroke to have them do another task while editing.

My Settings

While you can program the buttons to perform any keyboard shortcut, I thought it might be useful to explain how I have things setup. For the culling process, I have the left and right click that is part of the wheel set to left and right arrow keys respectively. This allows me to quickly move through the film strip without moving my mouse cursor, moving my hand on the keyboard, or having to use the scrolling wheel (which won't always scroll through the film strip if you have your mouse cursor in a certain location on the screen). For the forward and back buttons, I have those set to the flag (P) and unflag (U) shortcuts. The small button on the middle of the mouse I have set to a one-star rating (1). The flags are used to mark images to edit and the one-star ratings get added to picked images that will be used in a slide show. With the five buttons set up in this way, I can cull an entire wedding without moving the mouse or touching the keyboard. I can merely sit back while holding the mouse in my hand and do everything I need.

When I’m ready to edit in the develop module, I'll change a few of the buttons to the tools that I find myself using the most. The left and right buttons on the wheel stay the same as when I'm culling because I still like to easily flip through the film strip. The forward button I’ll assign to the Gradient tool (M) and the back button I’ll assign to copy/paste the edit from the previous image (Ctrl-Alt-V). The middle button I’ll assign to the crop tool (R). Although changing the shortcuts for a button is very easy, I do wish there was a way to save different groups of settings. It would be nice to only have to change from a “culling” set to a “develop” set instead of changing each individual button.

Easy Computer Switching

In addition, the mouse also has a button that allows you to switch between three different devices. Simply connect a device to position one, then switch to position two and connect another device. No more needing to go through the Bluetooth sync process every time you want to use the mouse on another computer.  Also, you can have the Logitech Options software on computer one set up with a certain set of keyboard shortcuts and have the software on computer two with an entirely different set of shortcuts.

What I Liked

  • Customizable buttons that are easy to quickly change
  • Easy computer switching between three different devices

What I didn't like

  • No way to save sets of programmed buttons for easy switching

Conclusion

For users that find themselves spending the majority of their time in Lightroom, this mouse could be a great solution to speeding up your workflow. While a pen and tablet will always have its place in the editing world, sometimes, a simple mouse is really what’s needed.

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14 Comments

Marc-Andre Donato's picture

I use to have the version 1 and it's a battery hogger. It's a good mouse, but I prefer to use my other basic Logitech mouse

Jason Vinson's picture

interesting. I have had this one for a couple months and have only had to charge it once so far.

Daniel Schenkelberg's picture

i just replace the battery in it cuz i forget to charge it quite often, what would be good is a mouse pad that automatically charges it, (patent pending) lol I love that mouse, people will argue oh wacom tablet blah blah blah but its personal preference

Aaron Priest's picture

So many mice today have dropped the back and forward buttons, I can't live without them!

Aaron Bratkovics's picture

I'd probably use that to play CSGO.

Justin Berrington's picture

There's a much more robust version of this called Synergy that will allow you to go between mac and pc and many more machines all from a local network with any mouse and it's only $10 for a single user. http://symless.com/synergy/

Jason Vinson's picture

very cool! Ya I wouldn't say you should buy this mouse for the pass feature alone, but its an added bonus.

Joacim Schwartz's picture

I like the MX Master, very similiar too Anywhere, but with Free scroll I can go through a timeline in Premiere pretty quickly, rather then doing each individual scroll. Also programmable buttons everywhere.

Jason Vinson's picture

This mouse has the ability to free scroll as well. Sorry for not mentioning it.

Done something similar for years.
Have the buttons open/do common actions:
- New Levels Layer
- New Curves Layer
- Flatten + Sharpen
etc
Software configured to recreate photoshop shortkeys.

For desktop I have a Logitech Corded G400 - prefer corded (current version = G500)
For laptop have a Logitech bluetooth MX anywhere (went for bluetoooth to avoid using up one of the USB ports, and this mouse is compact for travel)

Worth noting - on some systems it may not make the buttons configurable (e.g. my Dell XPS 13 laptop and MX anywhere) - however you can get a cracked version of SetPoint somewhere (can't find the links now) and get it to show the more advanced button configuration.

One issue I've had is that it won't record a return key - so won't save combinations as my desktop version does. G500 uses Logitech's highly configurable gaming software instead of SetPoint.

It may have been this - it uses Setpoint - but alters the config to allow all button config.
http://uberoptions.net/

Diko Jelev's picture

This mouse is nice for culling indeed.

Here's a better offer for so much more. ;-) And so more complicated operations.

Check the SteelSeries Apex350. You will see a whole new world. :-)

There you assign for each program a set of keys (like a wacom tablet) which by the way inspired by your video for Adobe Premiere is all in the left and above the regular keys.

So each key is either a long shortcut or reassigned another key .e.g. "u" which is in the middle of nowhere and thus no need to look at the keyboard. Or jump with the left hand to the middle or right part of the keyboard. Add the fact that now the most used actions are macros in one key - thing get pretty amazing.

Best effect in Adobe Photoshop. But in LR there's its own merit as well. Imagine After Effects or any other full of shortcuts program. This keyboard is amazing. The only negative part is there still not that good software which is targeted at simple gaming needs.

I am currently in support ticket about feature proposals.

Try it. It costs like $80 or something.

Evan Pak's picture

I personally use a Logitech G502 for editing. It has even more buttons, which is quite nice.