AutoIDA - Optimize Windows Keyboard and Mouse Settings

The point of AutoIDA is to fully automate the process of identifying and activating optimum Windows settings for a particular user. It's an extension of our work on Keyboard Wizard and Pointing Wizard software. Figure 1 shows the basics of how the system works. The software automatically collects keyboard and mouse event data, while the user does their regular tasks on their computer. It then uses those data to detect and recommend any settings changes that may make it faster and easier to use the keyboard and mouse. AutoIDA can also activate the recommended settings, with user approval.

Screenshot of AutoIDA software
Fig 1. The main processes in the AutoIDA software. The dashed line indicates that user confirmation of the settings is optional, depending on the user’s preference.

The target population for this work includes people who have upper extremity impairments that affect their ability to use a standard computer mouse or keyboard. These may be individuals who can use standard input devices, but with difficulty, or people who require an alternative input device such as a trackball, head-controlled mouse, or specialized keyboard. There are a number of conditions that can cause these impairments, including spinal cord injury/disease, cerebral palsy, and traumatic brain injury.

We have developed proof-of-concept AutoIDA prototypes for both keyboard and mouse settings. For mouse settings, the prototype recommends the mouse gain (Pointer Speed), the double-click time, and the double-click distance. Six women and six men with upper extremity impairments participated in an effectiveness study. Using our prototype software, these individuals improved their overall performance with their pointing device by 29.3% (significant at p=.028). These results suggest that our software can successfully determine the appropriate mouse settings for an individual, yielding significant improvements in pointing performance. For more details, see the full manuscript, published in Assistive Technology.

Screenshot of AutoIDA software

For keyboard settings, results were mixed on the question of whether the AutoIDA software can enhance typing performance for people with physical impairments. On a group basis, across the 10 individuals who received non-default recommendations from AutoIDA, average typing speed and accuracy did not significantly improve. On a single-case basis, however, 4 individuals did benefit from the AutoIDA settings, primarily as a means of reducing typing errors. Additionally, on more targeted measures of typing performance, the recommended settings prevented about 90% of inadvertent key repeats (with a revised algorithm) and increased the efficiency and accuracy of entering modified (shifted) characters. Participants agreed that software like AutoIDA would be useful to them (average rating 4.1, where 5=strongly agree). This study has been accepted for publication by Assistive Technology, pending minor revisions.

AutoIDA Prototype Available

You may download and run the AutoIDA prototype software. Please note that it is not a finished product, and has only been tested within our own research projects. You will need Windows Administrator privileges for the prototype to work (I think). We are very happy to discuss your ideas and comments about AutoIDA, but we cannot warrant or guarantee its fitness for your application. Thanks for understanding!


  1. Koester HH, Mankowski J. (2015). Automatic Adjustment of Keyboard Settings Can Enhance Typing. Assistive Technology, 27(3): 136-46.
  2. Koester HH, Mankowski J. (2014). Automatic Adjustment of Mouse Settings to Improve Pointing Performance. Assistive Technology, 26(3): 119-128.
  3. Koester HH. (2014). Adjusting Computer Input Device Settings Automatically to Meet User Needs. Executive Summary of Final Report to the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Phase I SBIR Grant.
  4. Koester HH, Simpson R, Mankowski J. (2013). Software Wizards to Adjust Keyboard and Mouse Settings for People with Physical Impairments. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 36(4): 300-12.
  5. Koester HH, Mankowski J. (2012). Fully Automatic Adjustment for Double-click Settings. Proceedings of RESNA 2012 Conference, Baltimore, MD.
  6. Koester HH, Mankowski J. (2012). Making Custom Keyboard and Mouse Settings Portable. Proceedings of RESNA 2012 Conference, Baltimore, MD.

For a full listing of all of our research publications, visit the Publications page.

Funded By

We thank the following funding agencies for their support, as well as the participants in our studies.

  • National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Phase I SBIR award
  • TREAT Center (Center for the Translation of Rehabilitation Engineering Advances and Technology), Pilot Grant
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America Research Foundation, Research Grant