A mouse’s DPI determines its sensitivity. DPI stands for dots per inch, so the cursor will move farther on the screen with a mouse having a higher DPI when both are carried at the same distance.
This can be problematic if you play video games, though we won’t debate which setting is better for video gaming. The sensitivity of these games is often lower with higher DPI. In this way, you move the mouse the same distance, which is helpful if you change the mouse or play a different game and don’t want to relearn how to turn 360°, for example. You can even use online calculators to translate settings from one game to another.
What is DPI?
A DPI is a Dots per Inch measurement. It refers to the number of dots printed per inch of a printed document, originally from printing. Nowadays, it is a term used throughout computing to indicate a picture’s quality and resolution.
The higher the value, the sharper and more detailed your image will be. Additionally, images with higher DPI values can be zoomed in much further before becoming pixelated.
When you print images, DPI is an essential factor. If you intend to print an image large, it should have a high resolution. Otherwise, the image will look terrible when printed at a larger size.
The higher the DPI, the better your image will look, even with small photos. This is especially true when viewing the picture on a monitor with a higher resolution, such as on the Retina display of a newer-model Macbook Pro.
While you’re playing, you can change DPI using the buttons on several gaming mice. Is it possible for you to be unaware of the DPI of your mouse? Don’t you know what DPI setting it switches to?
How to Check DPI?
It can be tricky to determine the DPI of some mice, but here are a few ways to find out.
Check the manufacturer’s specifications
A simple way to find your make and model online is to search for it. Unless it’s an unbranded mouse, there’s a good chance you’ll find the DPI figure on its spec sheet.
A manufacturer such as Logitech specifies the range of available DPI, rather than the maximum possible.
Install the drivers
You’ll likely be able to download the relevant software from the manufacturer’s website unless you have an unbranded mouse that relies solely on the Windows mouse driver.
It usually offers many more options than the built-in Windows ones, including the ability to change what all the buttons do and – relevant to this – to select the DPI.
Installing the drivers for your mouse typically also includes a standalone app that gives you access to all the options and settings. In each manufacturer’s app, the DPI setting is located differently, so you may have to hunt for it.
For example, in Logitech’s Gaming Software, you must click on an icon that looks like a cog. In a G402 mouse, there are five DPI levels selectable, but only three LEDs indicate which one is selected.
Gaming mice also allow you to adjust the DPI for each level – a standard feature.
You should uncheck acceleration for gamers because if you do, the distance you move your mouse won’t necessarily correspond to on-screen movement: acceleration means that the faster you move the mouse, the faster the pointer (or your character) moves.
Some mice have this option. However, you will find it in the Control Panel area of Windows 10 (not the Settings app). Navigate to Hardware & Sound > Devices and Printers > Mouse. Next, click on the pointer options tab and uncheck Enhance pointer precision.
Use an online DPI calculator
If you are still unable to determine the DPI value of your mouse, you can approximate it using this online DPI calculator.
To use it, untick ‘Enhance pointer precision’ as described above, as this acceleration will invalidate the measurement.
Also, make sure that any mouse driver software you have installed disables pointer acceleration.
Check the other requirements and limitations on the Real Mouse DPI Analyzer page if you haven’t already.
Make your pointer move from the left side of the screen to the right by measuring the distance you need to move your mouse to accomplish this. You must enter the distance in the ‘Target distance’ field on the website using a ruler.
You cannot enter a value in the Configured DPI box if you don’t know the DPI of your mouse.
Then click on the red crosshair at the bottom of the page, dragging it to the right until the specified distance is reached. You don’t need to move fast: what matters is accuracy.
Do not let the mouse pointer reach the edge of the monitor. It doesn’t matter if it goes past the edge of the browser window, but if the mouse is moved after the cursor has reached the edge, the results will be incorrect.
You can see your current mouse DPI value by letting go of the button. In addition, there will be a figure displayed by ‘Actual DPI.’ The figure shows the DPI value of your mouse.
What is the best way to change my mouse DPI and sensitivity?
Many mice have buttons for changing the DPI setting. Many even show the current setting on their displays, while others do not.
For mice without buttons or with buttons that don’t work as you’d like, open your mouse software (if installed) and look for options to change the DPI. The mouse should be configured with an exact DPI setting or multiple settings if you have buttons that allow you to toggle between the settings.
In the absence of dedicated mouse software, adjust the Pointer speed slider in the Control Panel until your cursor moves as you wish. Additionally, you can adjust the cursor speed in the Windows 10 Settings app by clicking Devices, then Mouse.