Gaming Mouse Glossary

Having trouble understanding terms like DPI and polling rate? This short alphabetically ordered glossary will help clear those terms up for you.


  • Acceleration refers to the phenomena of the cursor accelerating based on the speed you move your mouse. Most gamers turn this off, as it results in inconsistent behavior.
  • Ambidextrous means that the mouse can be used by both left and right-handed people.
  • Claw grip is a way of holding a mouse that involves your palm laying flat whilst your fingers are arched (in the shape of a claw), associated with low DPI.
  • CPI stands for counts per inch. It refers to the same thing as DPI, but is more “correct”.
  • DPI stands for dots per inch. It refers to the number of “steps” the mouse will report after it moves one inch. Simply put, the higher the DPI, the faster the cursor moves.
  • Ergonomics refers to the mouse being designed to fit comfortably into your hand. Some mice are designed for specific grip styles.
  • Fingertip grip is a way of holding a mouse using just your fingertips, the palm doesn’t make contact, associated with low DPI.
  • Grip style refers to the three basic ways of holding a computer mouse: palm grip, claw grip and fingertip grip.
  • Laser mice use an invisible laser to track. Used in contrast to optical mice.
  • Lift-off distance (shortened to LOD) refers to how much you can lift your mouse off the surface while still tracking measured in mm.
  • Macros allow you to record keyboard and mouse presses and play them back later. Useful when doing repetitive tasks.
  • Mouse prediction (also known as angle snapping and drift control) is a type of path correction that helps you draw straight lines. This is not a representation of your actual movements, so it’s mainly used for graphical applications.
  • On-board memory is the ability to store information in the mouse itself, most commonly profiles and macros.
  • Optical mice use (red) LEDs as their method of sensing movement. The other type of mouse uses lasers.
  • Palm grip is the way most people hold their mouse. Your entire hand lies flat on the mouse including your fingers. Associated with low DPI.
  • Polling rate refers to how many times your computer queries your mouse. It is expressed in hertz and most gaming mice offer 1000hz polling rate.
  • Profiles are used to quickly change settings based on the game your playing. For example, you can make one profile with 2000 DPI for one game, and another profile with 3000 DPI for another.
  • Sensor is what makes the mouse track your movements, installed on the bottom on the mouse. There are optical and laser sensors.