What is a Mouse Pad?

Tricia Christensen

The first mouse pad was designed in 1969, though it would be many years before they became such popular items in homes and offices. The essential purpose of the mouse pad is to allow a mouse ease of flow across a surface. It is possible to use many types of mouse controllers without pads, but they can be hard on surfaces and they don’t roll as well, which can slow down tasks.

Mouse pads may be made from a variety of materials and come in many shapes and sizes.
Mouse pads may be made from a variety of materials and come in many shapes and sizes.

Early forms of optical “mice” might require special mouse pads that the mouse would read in order to function properly. These special pads aren’t particularly common today, and many people can simply buy any form of pad for use with a mouse. Some mice became integrated with computer systems, and could not be used separately from the computer. Instead people might have a trackball or roll ball built onto the computer keyboard. This was common in laptops, though people might be able to plug in exterior mice if they preferred it.

Individuals who play computer games regularly may benefit from a gaming mouse pad.
Individuals who play computer games regularly may benefit from a gaming mouse pad.

Mouse pad shape has considerable variance. Simple ones may be made in rectangular or slightly square shapes. A few newer shapes include those with padding for the wrists, which is said to be more ergonomically sound. Size varies, though the largest pad, which may be suitable for certain applications, is about 35 by 17 inches (approximately 90X45 cm) in dimension.

Though numerous mouse pads may be very simple, containing a logo, perhaps, or plain colors, many are highly decorative. People can have personalized mouse pads made with pictures of family, companies might produce pads with the company logo as a gift to customers or employees, and there are even artistic pads that use reprints of the works of famous artists.

Variety in materials is significant and pads may be made of recycled materials, a combination of rubber and fabric, plastic, steel, silicone or even wood or cork. The simple slightly cushioned fabric pad with a non-stick back is usually most preferred. However with so many choices, it’s fairly easy to pick a mouse pad for every taste.

Some people may select mouse pads for certain applications. Video gamers who play computer games regularly might find a gaming mouse pad a better choice. There are numerous ones to choose from and they can help improve game accuracy, preserve the life of the mouse, and provide larger playing space for various PC games.

For most computers, especially those used on an infrequent basis, an inexpensive mouse pad will do. Often people are able to score pads for free. Those who have specific needs can more elaborate pads for certain types of use. A mouse pad designed to fulfill additional purposes like ergonomic protection or better gaming play is likely to be more costly than simple pads that are designated as multipurpose.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent EasyTechJunkie contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


I have been using promotional mouse pads for the last two years to help my business grow.

In addition to gaining new clients, I use my extra mouse pads as drink coasters and for crafts projects with my kids such as cutting out animal shapes or stars.

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