Controlling Mute on Zoom with My Mouse

I spend a large chunk of my day in meetings, usually in Zoom. For the most part, unless I have something to say, my microphone is muted so I don’t disrupt the meeting or mutter something under my breath that might get me in trouble.

Often while on these calls, the Zoom window gets buried with other applications, and ceases to be the foreground window. I’d like to say it’s with material related to the call (and it often is), but it might be that I’m working on something else and listening to the call, or am being pinged by someone with an urgent issue and supporting it.

However, if I get called on, it results in a mad scramble to find the Zoom window and unmute myself. I just figured out how to work around this.

Global Shortcut

The first step is setting a global shortcut key. This means that Zoom will respond to the keyboard shortcut even if it is not the foreground application. At the same time, I want to make sure the shortcut key is distinct–that it’s not something some other application uses. The default is A-a*, which I can’t think of any cases where I use it, but I’d rather not risk it.

  1. Open Zoom and go into settings (the cog icon), there is an option for “Keyboard Shortcuts.” Clicking on this will produce a list of what they are currently set to.
  2. Scroll down, and find “Mute/Unmute My Audio”.
    • Next to it is what keyboard shortcut is currently assigned to it. Click on it, and then press the new combination you want to use (I selected C-A-a).
    • Next to this is a checkbox under the column “Enable Global Shortcut.” Check this box.

Once this is done, C-A-a (or whatever you selected) will mute or unmute you, regardless of whatever else you’re doing.

Bringing in the Mouse

C-A-a is pretty handy on it’s own. Since I’m often typing away in, say, Excel. But I thought I could b ea bit slicker about it. My mouse, a Logitech M720 Triathalon, is a great mouse. It can connect to devices via Bluetooth or a dongle, and has a great shape. It also has several programable buttons.

Frankly, I usually forget they are there.

I got the notion to make one of the buttons my mute/unmute button. These instructions are specific to this mouse, but I’m fairly certain it will work with any Logitech mouse with programable buttons. Conceptually, it should work for other mice with programable buttons, though the exact procedure may vary.

As a prerequisite, you’ll need to download the Logitech Options software.

  1. Launch the Options software.
  2. You’ll be presented a picture of your mouse. Click the button you wish to assign.
  3. A set of radio buttons will appear. Select “Keystroke assignment.”
  4. A box will appear next to this, titled “Enter Keystroke.” click in the box, then hit the keyboard shortcut you defined (C-A-a, in my case).
  5. Click elsewhere to close the dialog and exit the software.

Now, that mouse button will control the muting and unmuting.

Broader Application

I see no reason this can work with other conference software (such as Microsoft Teams), or, as I mentioned, other mice. You will just need to figure out what the global shortcuts are, or how to set one.

*A-a is “Alt and A at the same time;” C-A-a is “Ctrl and Alt and A at the same time.” Please see my Conventions page for details about how I represent the keystrokes.