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How to Create Custom Touchpad Gestures on Mac – Guide
There are certain utilities that make you wonder, after using them for the first time, how you could have lived without them for so long. In previous entries, we discussed some of them, such as Clip Menu or DeskConnect, for example.
This time, we will take a look at another of these indispensable tools if you are a Mac user and have a Magic Mouse or a Macbook with a modern trackpad. The name of this small utility is Better Touch Tools and is available for free.
Don’t be fooled by the free tag. In fact, Better Touch Tools is one of the most useful and convenient utilities you can find for your Mac.
Let’s take a look at what this is about.
Interestingly, Better Touch Tools (MTB from now on) is an application that really lives up to your name: In a nutshell, the app allows you to create your own custom gestures to use on your Mac with devices that support them, such as the Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad or any of the glass trackpads you can find on modern Macs .
If you have any of these, the BTT value will become apparent immediately. Apple tends not to include features on their operating systems, unless they work perfectly (Wi-Fi sync, for example), but sometimes that leaves a lot to be desired. MTB solves this by providing your Mac’s pointing device with much more flexibility.
Observation: BTT also works for keyboard shortcuts and with any standard USB mouse, although its actions are optimized for the devices mentioned above.
When using the application, you can choose whether to create a gesture to assign to the entire operating system or just to a specific application, which is very convenient.
As expected, there is a wide range of predefined actions that you can assign to gestures, but the real meat of BTT lies in being able to assign your own shortcuts or commands to your custom ones.
For example, in my case I use Safari a lot and if I want to change tabs, I have to use the keyboard or click directly on the tab I want. So, I decided to create a gesture on my Magic Mouse that would allow me to switch tabs in Safari just by sliding my Magic Mouse to one side or the other.
Creating your own gestures is quite easy. First, choose the application for which you want a new gesture in the left panel of the MTB and then select one of the available gestures. In this case, I chose to slide my finger with a single finger to the right and left of the mouse to trigger the desired action (toggle the tabs back and forth, respectively).
Observation: BTT will often ask for permission to control your Mac using accessibility features. This is completely normal.
Then, you can choose from the predefined actions, but for this gesture I used the keyboard shortcuts for the actions.
Once this is done, you can start using your newly created gestures right away.
Overall, I found that the gestures I created using Better Touch Tools worked almost perfectly with a few exceptions here and there when creating complexes (especially on the trackpad) or when assigning actions to very simple / common gestures.
The flexibility that this utility offers makes it easy to up for their shortcomings.
In any case, being completely free, there is no reason not to try.back to menu ↑
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